What is purging and will this happen to me?

Our Consultant Dermatologist, Malvina Cunningham explains what purging is and how to deal with it.

What is purging?

Purging is when you experience a breakout of spots or a worsening of existing acne in response to starting a new skin treatment. This can be extremely frustrating when the treatment appears to be making your skin worse instead of better.

If this happens to you, don’t panic – this is a normal process in the journey to clearing your skin and is known to occur in up to a quarter of people with acne. The breakout of your skin can range from just a few more blackheads and whiteheads, to a large number of new, sore spots.

At this time, it’s useful to know what exactly is going on beneath the surface of your skin. A number of our formulations will contain the active ingredients Tretinoin and Azelaic Acid. These key ingredients help to unblock your pores and increase your skin cell turnover. This can initially cause further blocking of the pores as the deeper blockages and old skin cells are removed from the follicle. Think of it like a spring clean – just a temporary side effect on your way to clearer skin.

If purging happens to you, it can take around six weeks to clear up again. So hang on in there! The results will be so worth the wait.

What should I do?:

Do this:

– Try not to worry and don’t panic – this is a common part of the process.
– Hang in there! If you’ve noticed just a slight increase in the number of spots, keep using your daily dose of Personalised Solution as you usually would.
– Make sure you’re using a gentle face wash and moisturiser. 

Don’t do this:

– Use more than your recommended daily dose. Using more of your personalised solution will not have any additional benefit and might actually make your purging worse.
– Use any harsh treatments on your face, including exfoliating washes, exfoliating treatments (like AHAs and BHAs), face masks and peels. These can further aggravate your skin and make your purging worse.

When should I contact Dermatology Support?

– If you notice a significant flare-up of your acne, please contact our Dermatology Support Team at hello@skinandme.com. They’ll be able to advise you, support you and help you. In some cases, they might tell you to reduce the application of your personalised solution to every other night for two weeks, just to ease it off a little.
– If the purging has not decreased after 6 weeks.