What is skin purging?

What is skin purging?

Skin purging is a period when the skin adapts to a new product in other words the initial worsening of the skin condition after starting a new effective treatment regime. Introducing new active ingredients into the skincare routine at first can worsen the skin condition. Many active agents accelerate the epidermal renewal process and lead to hyperemia, which causes the blackheads located deep in the skin to come to the surface.

Skin purging typically lasts for about four weeks, as one epidermal renewal cycle takes 28 days. However, this period may be extended to six-eight weeks (two skin cycles).

What causes skin purging?

The active ingredients that exfoliate the skin are mainly responsible for skin purging. The most popular of them are:

  • Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), i.e. lactic acid, glycolic acid, mandelic acid;
  • Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), i.e. salicylic acid;
  • Retinoids (retinol, tretinoin, isotretinoin and alitretinoin);
  • Vitamin C;
  • Tea tree oil.

Moreover, skin purging can also appear after dermatological treatments such as microdermabrasion or laser skin cleansing.

Differences between skin purging and breakouts.

Skin purging may often look like acne and can be challenging to tell apart. Here are a few signs skin is purging:

  • Breakouts occur after introducing a new active ingredient or increasing the concentration of an already used ingredient.
  • All breakouts appear at the same time.
  • Breakouts are limited to specific areas.
  • After healing, purging doesn’t leave discolouration, marks or blemishes.
  • Breakouts look like a small cluster of blackheads or whiteheads.


It is probably acne if the breakouts are inflamed, sore or itchy and leave a discolouration, marks or blemishes.

How to take care of skin while it is purging?

First of all, don’t stop using the active ingredients that cause the purge. Instead, focus on gentle skin care. Start with delicate cleansing skin with gentle products such as Tomorrowlabs SENSITIVE FACE WASH or FOAM CLEANSER. It is essential to ensure an adequate skin hydration level that can be achieved using Tomorrowlabs HYDROGEL MOISTURIZER or DAY CATALYST best in combination with LIFTING ELIXIR. Avoid exfoliation and use of facial cleansing brushes.

If you experience purging, it is a good thing. It means that the new active ingredient or skincare regime is working, and your skin is clearing up.

Skin purging is a process that takes time and requires patience. Even so, it is worth the wait. After the purge, you can expect cleaner and brighter skin.

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