Thursday, August 9, 2018

Skin Purging - "What's Happening?!?!"

So, you’ve been saving up for the latest and greatest skin care line. The products to end all products and dished out your hard earned cash. Excited at the prospects of perfect, flawless, no-makeup-needed skin. You read all of the directions on your new skincare line to ensure you make no mistakes and properly use them as they are meant to be used. Bedtime approaches as does the time for you nightly regimen:

  • Cleanse = Done.
  • Facial Mask = Expertly Applied. Michelangelo would be proud.
  • Rinse and Tone = Like A Master.
  • Serums = Check!
  • Eye Cream = As if it were applied by a delicate cloud.
  • Retinol = Never used it but it's effective and popular so it's gonna be the best thing I've ever done to my skin. Go Me!
  • Moisturizer = Never better. Your skin thanks you for your indulgent purchase.

Certainly this was the best thing you could have done for yourself. No way will you have buyers remorse as this was important. You deserve to pamper yourself.  You drift off into La La Land dreaming of Goddess/God-like skin…. You wake up and pick up a mirror to revel in the glory of your new found flawlessness only to see the unexpected reflecting back at you. Is “THAT a PIMPLE??!! What the?? What!? Oh wait. Maybe it's...oh no. Right between my eyes! There’s another one! And another....” Tears begin to flow. Shock and awe has commenced. Or, what if it’s an allergic reaction? What if it gets worse!??! Oh no! Date! I have a date tonight!?!? I’m taking all of these products back STAT!  You collapse into a heap of despair and anger…whatever will you do!??!
Okay, okay, so yes all of that was rather dramatic, but you know many of us have BEEN THERE! The big question other than why, is, “What is this? Is this purging or is this an allergic reaction? How can I tell? What do I do?”

After reading many articles and speaking with skin care professionals and experts there seems to be, unsurprisingly, differing opinions. Some experts believe that with many of the higher-end skin care product lines (i.e. iS Clinical, Jan Marini, Osmosis, G.M. Collin, Avene and the ever faithful Bioelements and Dermalogica to name a few) the possibility of having a purging breakout is not as likely as with the use of drug-store brands due to the nature of the ingredients. That said, if you are starting a new regimen that includes Retinol or different hydroxy acids that increase the cell turnover rate you might be more likely to experience a purging effect. This happens as debris and subsurface comedones work their way to the skin surface during this more rapid cell turnover phase - usually at night time. Other professionals say that any time you switch to a new skin care line/regimen you could experience a purge and should possibly even expect it. Especially if you’ve used a drug store brand or basic soap on your skin for years and then make a leap to a quality skin care line.


Either way, if your skin does purge, keep in mind that this should only be temporary and that this is usually, in the end, a good thing even though while it’s occurring it can be less than convenient. Usually the benefits outweigh the inconvenience due to healthier skin. In my studies I did find several skin care articles that say that purging is NEVER a good thing and should not happen with any good skin care line.  However, there was little to no documentation to support this theory. Now that skin care product ingredients have vastly improved over the years with technology and availability, skin care companies are able to target specific concerns and a broader range of skin issues. Cleaner, more pure, Chirally correct ingredients purify the skin bringing pre-existing subsurface comedones to see the light of day, therefore the concept of skin purging is considered normal and definitely possible as skin becomes healthier. Basically sometimes it’s got to get worse before it gets better. This purging period requires diligence and patience and incredible control to not mess with any offending “unpopular facial spots”. The purging stage can last from a few days to a few weeks, although, if this stage lasts longer than 4 weeks or a little more, it could be that there is a deeper skin issue that needs to be addressed and seeing a dermatologist is definitely recommended.
So now what? Suffer through it baby! And leave those little pimple jerks alone. Let your skin do it’s thing. Within reason of course. If your skin is showing signs of extreme irritation, heat or redness, etc., it’s probably best to discontinue use. But if some pimples show up, usually not where you’ve experienced breakouts before then it’s likely just a purge. Often this can progress a bit faster than a normal breakout so...YAY!

Now, if you were to experience extreme redness, itching, hives, or blisters, these are all signs of a skin reaction, so please, for the love of the skincare gods, discontinue use and if your reaction worsens or does not go away see your dermatologist.

In short, stick with your new routine. Don’t give up and decide to return your skin care products unless there is an allergic issue. Continue on. Be patient. Hang in there and most importantly WEAR SUNSCREEN!!! Stick with it and odds are you will be glad that you did and your skin will love you for it.  

“Dang Girl...You’re skin looks like it’s Instagram filtered all day every day!”
                                           Mission Accomplished.