Advice from a Dermatologist: Getting Through the Skin Purging Process

Advice from a Dermatologist: Getting Through the Skin Purging Process - Terasana

You’ve decided to take the plunge and try out a new product to help you get the glowing skin of your dreams. You’ve grabbed your new stuff, are feeling good about starting your new skincare routine, and are ready to show the world the new you. 

Then – bam! After a few days or weeks of using your precious product, you start to notice new flare-ups of acne, bumps, or a rash on your skin. This can be so frustrating after spending your hard-earned money on top-quality goods, hoping for them to give you luminous, clear skin – but don’t give up on them yet. 

Sometimes this is just the beginning stages of your skin healing, also known as the skin purging process. Before you toss your new products or give them to a friend, read on to answer your questions like:

  • “What does skin purging look like?”
  • “Is my skin purging?”
  • “Is skin purging good?” and of course – 
  • “How long does skin purging last?”

What Is Skin Purging?

Although it can be discouraging to see bumps and rashes pop up right after starting a new product, try not to jump to conclusions right away. There might be something else going on under the surface…literally. 

The skin purging process starts when your skin reacts to an active ingredient in a product. This reaction causes your skin to shed dead cells, bacteria, oil, and other debris lurking beneath the surface. You usually see this when you use products that utilize chemical exfoliants, which helps to increase your skin cell turnover rate.

Dr. Sonia Batra, a board-certified dermatologist based in Santa Monica, CA spoke to our team to help break down this process. She explained,

“The skin is constantly turning over with new cells replacing old, dead cells. When we are young, cell renewal is faster, and usually takes about 28 days when we’re in our 20's. This process slows down as we age, taking about 40 days as we reach our 40's.”

While this process can make your skin look glowing and luminous, at first it can be frustrating or daunting.

If you’re noticing some bumps after starting a new product, you might be wondering, “What does skin purging look like?”

Take a peek in the mirror. If you see tiny skin-colored lumps or blackheads, then you might be experiencing the skin purging process. Is skin purging good? Sometimes it’s just part of the journey towards clear skin.

When you start using a product that you’re hoping to help solve your problems, you may discover that sometimes your skin gets worse at first.

To be completely transparent, this actually happens to some who use the Terasana Clear + Control. While it may seem like your skin is being temperamental and giving you the opposite reaction to what you were expecting, it’s only temporary – we promise!

The acne cycle also plays a role in the skin purging process. Dr. Sonia explained,

“Acne starts weeks before a clogged pore becomes visible.

The first step is abnormal shedding of dead skin cells that become stuck on their way out of the pore. This blocks the outflow tract, and sebum, the skin's oil, builds up behind the clog.

Bacteria that live in the pore feed on this oil, and in the meantime, inflammation builds. Since this process takes weeks, it often takes a month or more for an acne product to reset the pore, calm inflammation, and produce visible results.”

So if you’re experiencing acne after beginning to use Terasana’s product, keep in mind that that pimple was most likely brewing below the surface well before you started using the serum. Most acne breakouts start forming six to eight weeks before they actually make their debut. Still, it can be confusing to tell the difference between skin purging vs breakouts.

Skin Purging vs. Breakouts: How to Tell the Difference

So how do you tell the difference between skin purging vs breakouts? While you might be seeing breakouts on the surface, the skin purging process from your new product didn’t cause it. 

Those breakouts have been building up for weeks, even months, and thanks to your increased cell turnover rate, you’ve sped up the appearance of those breakouts.

That being said, that also means you get to nip those breakouts in the bud faster. Skin purging isn’t the cause of the’s a remedy for them – albeit, an annoying one. Think of it as a long-term investment to help cleanse out clogged and backed-up pores so that you can have a fresh face for the future.

If you’re wondering if your skin is purging or if you’re breaking out, one way to tell is by looking at the appearance of the “breakouts.” Breakouts during the purging process usually appear in clusters, not as single, pop-up pimples like you would get with normal acne. So what’s the verdict on skin purging? 

So what’s the verdict? Is Skin Purging Good or Bad?

Naturally, you might be averse to having any sort of breakout or bump pop up, especially while you’re trying to take care of your skin. That being said, the skin purging process is generally a good thing –  a necessary evil on your way to dreamy skin.

Think of it this way: Have you ever done a deep clean of your house or room? You’re sweeping under the couch, dusting off shelves, throwing things on the floor before you reorganize. You can compare what your floor looks like during this process to skin purging. You’re essentially doing a deep clean of your skin to really get at the root of future skin problems.

Remember, all of those blemishes that seemed to appear out of nowhere were actually forming weeks in advance, so you just sped up the job by initiating the skin purging process.

So while it may look messy at first, skin purging is helping expedite the process of clearing away any potential future breakouts so that eventually you’re left with clear, glowing skin. Still, this can take a bit, so what can you expect in the meantime?

When to Expect Results from Skin Purging

When you’re working hard to take care of your face, the skin purging process can feel like a set back. How long does the skin purging process last? Unfortunately there’s no one clear answer. 

It really depends on the person, what other products you’re using, genetics, your diet, and so many other factors. 

Dr. Sonia advises the following:

“More severe acne will take longer to dial down inflammation. Since the skin turns over every 28-40 days, it will often take more cycles of cell renewal to clear larger cysts, bumps or inflamed sites.

Improvement in acne looks different and takes varying amounts of time depending on the starting point. Mild acne will often improve more quickly as there is less inflammation to disperse and there is less work to clear the pore. Clear results will take different amounts of time depending on someone's age, skin type and how severe their acne is when they start a regimen.”

As we said, skincare can be a long-term investment – although that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. More than that it can be a bit of a journey before you feel like you’re at a place where you’re truly happy with your skin. That being said, there are steps you can take to help support you and your face during the skin purging process. 

How to Care for Your Skin During the Purging Process

You don’t have to just sit back and wait for the skin purging process to run its course. There are things you can do right now to help expedite it and support your skin in the meantime. 

The first step is to keep your skin clean. You can do this by creating a holistic skin care routine. Having a routine helps you to stay motivated to keep taking care of your skin so that you can see results faster and get the most from your products.

The next step is to keep your skin hydrated. When you break out, it can be tempting to try to dry your pimples out with old-school acne products and tricks like using toothpaste. But when your skin is purging and vulnerable, you can help to keep it healthy with a moisturizer or face oil.

“Although it may be counter-intuitive, an oil-based product is not bad for acne-prone skin. Sebum is the oil produced by the skin to maintain its barrier function. Products that strip the skin or dehydrate it will cause it to overcompensate, produce more sebum, and worsen acne. In addition, very drying products often worsen the inflammation of acne.” - Dr. Sonia.

So despite how tempting it may be, keep your skin hydrated using moisturizing products and by drinking plenty of water! In the meantime, keep using the product that is causing the purge so that your skin can get used to the active ingredient.

Remember, depending on your current skin conditions, this process could take a while or it could be fairly short. Be patient and always remember you are beautiful inside and out no matter what! 

If you’re looking for some other goodies to bring into your routine, how about trying these self care products to start your year off right? Ready to take the skin purging plunge? Try Terasana’s Clear + Control Miracle Serum for 15% off today to start putting your best face forward.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published