PICTURE THIS SCENARIO
I'm going to describe a common scenario and would love to know if it's ever happened to you.
You buy a new skincare product that you've heard great things about.
It's got natural and organic plant-based ingredients which you know are great for your skin.
That night you try your new product out for the first time and then head to bed.
The next morning you wake up and see that your face has broken out.
As you stand in front of the mirror in shock, you look at your new skin care product, decide that it's not right for you and you toss it in the trash.
Why Breaking Out May Be a Good Thing
But what if I told you that these breakouts might be normal?
That it was a result of your skin purging - the act of pushing out any excess oils or dirt that were already clogging up your pores?
Before you toss your new skincare product in the trash, let me explain.
Many products, especially those with natural and organic plant-based ingredients, may cause your skin to purge.
In other words, yes skin is breaking out but it's actually breaking out so that it can clear out a lot of the gunk that's in your skin which, in just a matter of weeks, leads to fresh, clean, healthy looking skin.
So to dive in a bit deeper, with purging, what often happens is that your new skincare product is leading to an increase in skin cell turnover because it's got exfoliating properties.
These may include chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids, which promote skin cell turnover by dissolving chemical bonds, or physical exfoliants which are used to physically polish away dead skin cells.
So if you have any type of clogged pore which is the beginning stages of a blemish, breakout, or pimple then using a product that increases skin cell turnover will actually promote the surfacing of that clogged pore in for it to come to a head and result in a pimple.
In other words, using a skincare product initially and then seeing a breakout may just mean that that skincare product is pushing that gunk to the surface of your skin.
This usually happens within a few days of applying a new product and if you are consistent with it, your breakout could go away in just a matter of weeks.
Purging vs Breaking Out: Key Differences
In contrast, with breakouts that occur as a result of using a new product, we're talking about a reaction – an allergic reaction, general irritation or sensitivity, redness, or even minor swelling.
A key difference between your skin purging vs breaking out is that with a purge, the blemish(es) will likely go away within a couple of weeks; whereas with a breakout, the irritation and/or redness tends to persist.
Another important difference between skin purging vs breaking out is that with purging it tends to occur in areas where you skin is more oily.
For example, if you have an oily T-zone and this area is where you're prone to blemishes, then seeing these blemishes pop up after using a new product likely means that your skin is purging.
If your skin were purely reacting or breaking out, you'd likely experience the irritation all over your face and not limited to certain areas.
If your skin breaks out after switching to a new skincare product, know that it could actually be a good thing!
Because when we switch from commercial skincare products (which are often laden with harsh chemicals and/or synthetic ingredients) to natural, plant-based skincare products our skin may need time to adjust to them.
To recap, two key indicators that may help you understand whether your skin is purging or breaking out are:
- The location of the blemish(es)
- The length of time the blemishes persist
If more than a couple of weeks, then it's like a breakout or reaction to your new skincare product.
Now that you can tell which might be happening to you, I'm curious to know…
Has a new product ever caused your skin to purge or break out?
Was it from a cleanser, exfoliant, moisturizer, or something else?
Please share your experience in the comments section below!
Want more holistic beauty & wellness tips? Follow us on Instagram @freeflowbotanicals!