the acne purge
Acne 101

Worse Before Better: The Acne Purge

August 7, 2020

Trying out a new acne treatment? You could experience purging — and that’s perfectly normal.

Anyone who’s ever suffered from acne knows just how frustrating to excitedly start a new treatment and not get the results you expect, and it’s all the more frustrating when your skin’s condition seems to be getting worse. We know because we’ve been there — and because we’ve been there, you can take our word for it when we tell you that that’s perfectly normal. It’s called purging, and it’s part of the process.

As the term implies, it is a very thorough kind of cleansing. This means all the gunk in your pores — dead skin cells, excess oil, and the bacteria that thrives on them — are finally getting pulled out and sloughed off, which could lead to temporary breakouts. The keyword is temporary, so don’t panic.

Purging happens when your skin responds to the active ingredients in your acne treatment. Active ingredients work by promoting skin cell turnover — the process of shedding dead skin — which in turn could trigger more breakouts, along with dryness and peeling. Purging is annoying, but it does tell you that the treatment is working; you just have to let your skin adjust.

Acne treatment requires two things from you: patience and consistency.

We all have our own specific skin chemistry that determines how long the adjustment period will take. For some people, it could take anywhere between 3 to 4 weeks, and for others it could go as long as 6 weeks.

It may be tempting to stop using whatever it is you’re using because of the purge, but doing that is like giving up on a marathon when you’re already at, or even past, the halfway point. And when you give up, you’ll have to start all over again, maybe even from a far worse state. Purging means your skin is in the process of acclimatizing to the treatment, so don’t throw away the progress it’s made so far by giving up too soon. There’s no way around the purge, only through — so stick to your treatment.

Remember, treating acne is not an event, but rather a process. You won’t get the results you want overnight. You need to be patient and you need to be consistent. Improvement will be gradual, and the purge is a necessary setback on the journey. Stay the course and when you get to the finish line, you’ll be rewarded with the clear skin you deserve.

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