Have you ever tried a new skincare product, only to discover that it makes your skin flare up with pimples? This could be purging, or it could be a regular breakout. First, let's start with how breakouts look like. Breakouts occur when your skin reacts because it's sensitive to something in the product. It could be clogging your pores, or causing an allergy, or just plain old irritation. You are having a breakout when you experience large and painful acne usually occurring in new areas.
Second, breakouts are generally caused by an increase in sebum production and bacterial activity just like normal acne occurrences. Sebum production increases when you are stressed or emotionally unstable. Besides sebum production, foods that are high in calories like chocolates and nuts also can cause breakouts. One of the biggest culprits of breakouts is sugar. Due to the fact that sugar is high in calories, sugars will actually cause more breakouts than normal.
Other factors are like environmental factors, where it's dusty and you tend to sweat a lot. High humidity and high temperatures are perfect conditions for bacteria to grow. Hence, you're going to get a lot of breakouts. It also can be due to unhygienic areas or unhygienic pillow covers. In some cases, just a change of pillow covers can result in reduced breakouts. And the most important thing is, some breakouts happens due to an allergy to skincare products. You should be aware that you might allergic to some active ingredients in your skincare or perhaps some essential oils.
Third, breakouts generally do not disappear on their own. It requires medical intervention and if you leave breakouts alone, they will spread everywhere, all over the face. This is due to bacterial overgrowth, thus you need to look for a doctor to treat your breakouts. Generally, the treatment will be a combination of chemical peels, a quick laser antibiotic and a change in skin care products.
Now let`s look at Purging. Purging is when your skin is adjusting to the new product and persevering with the product will eventually make your skin better. However, in the short run it leads to an outbreak of pimples. In fact, the sudden crop of pimples means that it’s working as intended. So, what's the difference between purging and breakout?
Purging generally occurs in very small tiny bumps on your skin and usually occurs in the areas that always have purging. This means that once you've applied skincare on a particular area, the purging stays on the area and it doesn't really spread further.
Purging can also be due to over-exfoliation, or because of skin renewal. Skin renewal happens when you are using new skincare that contain an exfoliating chemical, such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, or salicylic acid. You might also be using something like retinol or azelaic acid. Exfoliation is important to remove dead skin cells but sometimes these dead skin cells can get trapped in our pores. Once it gets trapped in the pores, it accumulates more and more dead skin, clogging our pores and hence you get all these small tiny bumps.
So, how do you know whether it's actually a purge or a breakout? Generally after stopping the skincare if it's a purge, it disappears. If it was a breakout even after stopping at skincare, the breakout will still remain and may even worsen.
If you want to know more, we are here to help you! SkynFyx is a platform that provides personal care education which is completely free. SkynFyx is run by our skin doctors and you can chat with us without ever leaving your home.