How Long Does Skin Purging Last?

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It’s not quite the Armageddon-like horror movie the word “purge” might conjure in your mind, although it can be quite upsetting on its own. But a skin purge will pass. How long does skin purging last?

Skin purging usually lasts approximately 4 to 6 weeks for most people. The time it takes depends on how long your cell renewal process takes. As we age, the longer our skin cells take to regenerate.

If the skin is still purging after 6 to 8 weeks, it’s possible that it’s reacting to a new product.

There are steps you can take to make the purge stop sooner. Regular exfoliation may help in the process and keep the topmost layer of your skin clean of dirt and oils.

In addition, if your skin looked better after 4 to 6 weeks, then stick to the product you’re using and be consistent with your routine.

Read on to learn more about skin purging, as well as how long does skin purging last!

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How Long Does Skin Purging Last?

How long it takes for the purging to last depends mostly on how fast your cell renewal cycle is. Your skin cells are constantly replacing themselves. By exfoliating, you are removing the dead cells from the top layer, allowing the new skin cells to replace them.

For most adults, this cell renewal process takes about a month, but as we age, this process slows down and causes skin purging to last anywhere between 4-6 weeks.

What is skin purging? Skin purging is a process where your skin breaks out when you try a new skincare product. But take note that not all products cause skin purging. Only products with active ingredients and other ingredients that increase your skin cell turnover rate cause skin purging.

If you are breaking out with new blemishes and other inflammation, your skin won’t likely start getting used to the new product you’re using. In this case, it’s better to stop using the product or consult a dermatologist.

When you start using a product that’s effective in accelerating your cell renewal factor or cell turnover rate, the whole skin cell regeneration cycle is accelerated as well. 

Cell turnover is when our skin produces new skin cells that move from the bottom layer of the epidermis to the upper layer and then shed off the skin. If there were no cell turnover, the outer surface of the skin would have a constant build-up of dead skin cells.

According to celebrity skin doctor and founder of Facial Sculpting, Dr. Nina Bal, skin purging is a good thing. “Purging occurs because the active ingredients in skincare products make you shed dead skin cells more quickly.

This process loosens debris and sebum trapped in your skin. When released, it causes a breakout or purging. This process usually takes 4 to 6 weeks for most people.”

Below are the skincare products that accelerate the skin exfoliation rate that usually causes skin purging:

  • Hydroxy acids (Malic, Lactic, Glycolic, Lactobionic, Mandelic, Gluconolactone, and Fruit acids)
  • Retinoids (Isotretinoin, Retinol, Retinyl palmitate, Tretinoin, Tazarotene, and Adapalene)
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Exfoliants (Enzyme exfoliants and Facial Scrubs)
  • Other acne products (Salicylic Acid and the like)
  • Procedures such as microdermabrasion (A cosmetic treatment in which the face is sprayed with exfoliant crystals to remove dead epidermal cells.) and lasers (Ingredients used in or during these procedures)
  • Anti-aging products

Keep in mind that any products that do not contain the active ingredients mentioned above will not cause skin purging.

To learn more about skin purging and also how long does skin purging last, see the below video by Dr. Sam Bunting, a dermatologist in London, UK:

The Difference Between Breaking Out and Skin Purging

Your skin is purging from a product when:

  • The pre-existing comedones will burst out. This is when you have small pimples, it will enlarge and clog the pores, turning into pimples.
  • This is where you might get a mix of whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, or cysts.
  • The pimples or acne appear in areas where they usually occur.
  • The breakouts disappear faster than a normal pimple.

Your skin is breaking out from a product when:

  • You get new comedones in areas they don’t usually occur.
  • The breakout typically takes 8 to 10 days to appear, mature, and shrink.
  • Your skin experiences itch, pain or rashes.
  • Your skin experiences intensified skin irritation.
  • You get new clogged pores.

Though you might think your skin is reacting negatively to the product, don’t panic and don’t lose hope! Allow your skin to get used to the product you’re using.

If it’s breaking out, having an allergic reaction, or developing a rash, discontinue using the product. It’s also a good idea to consult a dermatologist to avoid further skin damage.

How to Make the Skin Stop Purging

Every skin is different and unique, some are sensitive, and some are not. It’s best that you know what’s going on with your skin and that you know how to take care of it. Knowing the right way to take care of your skin is the key to long-term health and beauty.

The following tips below will help clear your skin faster if it is purging and will also prevent any further skin purging:

Always use sunscreen and sun protection before exposing your skin to daylight.

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Avoid facial scrubs, harsh chemicals, or soap on the affected areas as it may worsen the issue and make the purging last longer.

Don’t use drying products. Products like exfoliating acids.

When using a new product with active ingredients, slowly introduce your skin by using a small amount for a couple of days a week. Or use it less frequently and then gradually use it more often if your skin doesn’t react negatively to it. This will help avoid the severity of skin purging and the time it takes to stop.

When your skin is purging, you should use a sulfate-free cleanser and a soothing moisturizer. Aloe vera is a great choice. It is one of the most soothing and gentle moisturizers around. It softens the skin without clogging pores and does not leave a greasy film on your skin. Plus, the aloe’s magnesium lactate is able to take the sting away from painful acne pimples.

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It gives inflamed, purging skin hydration and nourishment, leaving it soft, smooth, and supple.

Avoid popping and touching the pimples or acne as it may aggravate the inflammation and may cause permanent scarring on your skin too.

Use hydrating skin products to help remove impurities. Use a hydrating mask to heal, hydrate, and remove impurities from the skin.

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Be consistent in your daily skin routine. Determination to achieve your skin goal is one of the secrets!

Be gentle on your skin. For example, when drying your wet skin after washing your face or after taking a shower, don’t rub the towel. Simply pat your skin with a towel to dry.

Keep hydrated as internal skin and body care is also important to keep everything balanced. You’ve probably heard it before, but it is important to drink your 8 cups of water a day to stay hydrated on the inside.

Start a healthy eating habit. It’s not going to be easy to cut out some of the unhealthy food you used to eat but think of the positive results that it will do once you get used to the process. Don’t you want to look younger than your age? This is not about being selfish to yourself. It’s self-love, making yourself feel good inside and out!

Keep it clean, especially your surroundings. For example, your beddings. What is a clean face when your bed sheet, pillowcases, blanket, and towel that you use daily are not changed regularly?

The natural oil that comes out of your body and the dirt you get from the pollution whenever you go outside is passed on to these things, and if not changed regularly, the problem will only repeat itself, and your skin will continuously purge and take longer for the skin purging to end.

Use the right kind of cosmetics for your skin type. In addition, remember to have your skin cleansed and moisturized before putting on any cosmetics to achieve that fresh or no-makeup look. 

Don’t sleep with your makeup on. This is a big no-no as your skin cannot breathe, the pores are clogged, and they become more inflamed. Sleeping with makeup on will only cause the skin purging to last longer.

Final Thoughts on Stopping the Purge

How long does skin purging last? It takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks for skin purging to last.

Skin purging also means going through a process of skin purification. In other words, it is when an ingredient in your skincare product makes an effort to speed up your skin’s natural pace of shedding and regeneration.

This process should only take one full cycle to complete, which is normally 28 days for most people or 4 weeks. It can take longer, however, up to around 6 weeks, depending on the product and your skin’s health.

Breakouts may last for several months or even years, but skin purging has a certain duration. It will not continue beyond that period, but this does depend on many different factors.

To go through the long wait of this process can be so annoying that you almost lose hope and your self-esteem when you have tried everything like having facial sessions and using every product to achieve that smooth, glowing and youthful skin.

But you have to invest a lot of patience, optimism, and self-discipline when going through this process because, believe me, it can be totally worth it when your skin gets used to the product and routine that you’re doing.

During the skin purging process, never lose hope and always be positive. It’s like the saying, “there’s a rainbow always after the rain.”  Like Dr. Nina Bal said, skin purging is a good thing! It may seem like it is taking a long time to stop, but it is your skin healing and renewing itself.

Consult a dermatologist if your purge lasts longer than 6 weeks to know if you need to make adjustments on the dosage/ frequency of your product’s application or if it’s time to change your skincare products.