Derm's SUG: Skin purging or acne?
One of the most common questions I get asked as a dermatologist is “why is my acne getting worse even though I just started using acne medicine?” There are 2 reasons this could be happening. Oftentimes, when you start new acne medication, your skin will begin purging, which is normal. However, acne could get worse because of other products you are using which may not be non-comedogenic and will clog your pores. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if you are purging or your acne is worsening. Skin Purging can occur when patients start using acne products, like retinoids/retinol and hydroxyacids, that increase cell turnover to get rid of dead skin cells. Patients with acne have excess oil/sebum and dead skin cells living dormant in pores under the surface of their skin. When you start certain acne medications, it uncovers the acne, and they pop out as new acne. The medications did not cause the acne to form, it just uncovered them. Once they are brought to the surface, then your new acne medications will get rid of them. Unfortunately, it can take 2-8 weeks to complete the process of purging. It is important to stick with your regimen and not get discouraged. You could try to use the medications less often, and that may ease some purging; however, it will slow down your progress in getting rid of the acne. Also, avoid harsh scrubbing brushes or products/cosmetics that might dry out your skin. Worsening of your acne can come from using products that are comedogenic, which clog your pores. Always check the labels of all your makeup, concealers, soaps, moisturizers, sunscreens, and anything that you put on your face. If the label doesn’t say “non-comedogenic”, or “oil free”, or “safe for acne”, it probably is not. Other things that can make acne worse are putting your hands on your face, picking at your acne, not cleaning your cell phone or pillow cases or athletic equipment that comes in contact with your face, not washing immediately after sports, and not eating properly. Avoid dairy and excess carbs from desserts. If your acne does not resolve, you should seek treatment from a board certified dermatologist to prevent permanent scarring.
Skin PURGING? Choose the right cleanser!
Another word we don't like hearing along with acne is purging. Why does it happen, how do we spot it, and what do we do?? WHY- skin purging happens usually due to adding new "actives" into your skincare routine. This includes retinol, glycolic acid, salicylic acid and other AHAs and BHAs. HOW to know- it presents as different forms of acne. These can be pimples, or closed comedones known as whiteheads. Your skin may also feel irritated/sensitive, red, or drier than normal. WHAT to do- you can continue the use of your active product as long as the rest of your routine is gentle! Be sure you aren't over exfoliating by using too many actives at once. Only use one exfoliant at a time, 1-2x weekly when trying something new. MY FAVE CLEANSERS FOR PURGING: ⬇️ Krave - Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser THE BETTER SKIN CO. - Better Skin Lotion Kleanse (Scent Free) The cleansing step of your skincare routine is always important to ensure the dirt and oil build up is removed daily from the skin. It is extra important, though, while your skin is purging. You need to be careful to not strip the skin's barrier with harsh cleansers. This can end up making the problem worse! The Krave Beauty and The Better Skin Co. cleansers are gentle and pH balanced to keep the skin clean and hydrated. Avoid any foaming or acne cleansers when purging! Notice in the pictures the difference in the textures of these two cleansers. I would choose the Krave one if you like a jelly texture, whereas the Better Skin Co. Lotion is thicker and creamier.
THE BETTER SKIN CO.-Better Skin Lotion Kleanse (Scent Free)
‼️RETINOL SKIN PURGE‼️
I tried using retinol a few months ago, and it made my skin purge. After I had gone through a tough few month with my skin, I just wanted to enjoy having clear skin. However, I have noticed some smile lines coming in, and I want to try to get retinol into my skincare on a regular basis. I am currently using it once a week, and over my moisturizer. That was a tip from James Welsh, and I trust him with my lyyyyfe 🤪 I do however want to start using it under my moisturizer, and maybe increasing to twice a week. I just turned 23, so I never thought it was necessary, and I believed a myth that it would harm my skin if started to early. I would love to learn more about retinol, currently doing some research through Susan Yara. Pray for my skin 🥰 THE inkey LIST - Retinol Serum
THE inkey LIST-Retinol Serum
Skin purging? Horomonal acne? It’s hard to tell
This week is my second week with the CeraVe - Resurfacing Retinol Serum and so far so good :). My only concern right now is one that is common when using a new active ingredient: Is my skin purging or is this not the product for me? In the picture you can tell I have some closed comedones that are making themselves more seen and on the first picture which is my right cheek it looks like an acne battlefield. I’m trying to calm myself and not do anything crazy because I know doing too much can be as much harm as not doing enough but of course my self confidence is a bit down in the gutters 😭 I have also introduced a new moisturizer into my routine which is the HOLIKA HOLIKA - Aloe 99% Soothing Gel which is very soothing and lightweight and I have been using it as my daytime and nighttime moisturizer. (I will get into whether it is worthy or not in another post) The cerave retinol is said to resurface the skin, which is what I think is happening now so I’m trying to remain calm and let the product do its work. For now I’m just thankful we have to wear masks so not only I can wear my pimple patches in public, but people won’t know my skin is acting crazy right about now 😭
HOLIKA HOLIKA-Aloe 99% Soothing Gel
Learn the difference ❣️
What is skin purging? ❣️ Skin purging is the process when testing out a new skincare product or regimen results in new breakouts or pimples. Essentially, your already clogged pores underneath the skin (called microcomedones) will activate together to cause one big, breakout at a faster rate than normal, hormonal acne formation. (Not fun) Ingredients that can cause purging❣️ Retinoids (retinol, tretinoin, adapalene, tazarotene, isotretinoin, retinyl palmitate) Hydroxy Acids (citric, hydroxycaproic, mandelic, salicylic, gluconolactone, glycolic, lactic, lactobionic, and tartaric) Benzoyl Peroxide Chemical peels, lasers and microdermabrasions Other exfoliants (scrubs, brushes, enzyme exfoliants like papain and bromelain) What is a normal acne breakout? ❣️❣️ A normal breakout is caused by the natural oils on your face clogging up your pores. This is what makes acne or pimples, blackheads, whiteheads etc. A lot of factors like excess oil production, clogged hair follicles, bacteria and an excess of hormones or diet can cause acne breakouts. How do you know the difference? 🤔 Ask yourself these questions: Is the breakout happening soon after testing a new product? Is it in a spot you normally don’t breakout? If so, it’s likely skin purging. When acne is hormonal or regularly induced from poor diet or stress, those spots typically always appear within the same area. There isn’t any all inclusive way to properly treat a skin purge or even breakouts. As long as there is no increased irritation or inflammation, the best thing to do is to be as gentle as possible with your skin and push on. If it doesn’t get better after 6 weeks according to dermatologists, it’s best you just stop using the product causing it. Always remember to patch test any new products before using them on your face. This is the best preventative measure possible and can catch a lot of potential irritants. ❣️The ONLY good thing about experiencing a skin purge is that the lifecycle of acne caused by a purge is a much faster succession than that of normal hormonal acne. Silver lining 🌈
Is this purging?
My skin started getting bad when quarantine started, so I started adding skincare products. My skin is just getting worse and worse so now I’m not sure if I’m just breaking out worse because of the products or if I’m just purging. I’m currently using Bioré - Blue Agave & Baking Soda Pore Balancing Cleanser The Ordinary - Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution PACIfICA - Dry It Out Acne Gel Spot Treatment Cetaphil - Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion
Bioré-Blue Agave & Baking Soda Pore Balancing Cleanser
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