Link to share article here:

How To Progress When Your Skin’s Purging

You’re a few weeks into your new targeted treatment and everything’s going well – no side effects or dryness, and your skin is looking better than ever. And just when you think you’re making progress, you start to see more spots. More painful pimples in new places, and they’re much bigger and more painful than before. 

What’s your first move? Do you: A) Stop the treatment and let your skin go back to how it was? Or B) Continue with your treatment and power through the purge?

Choose option A and your skin may improve temporarily, but if you’re trying to treat a certain skin goal such as acne or pigmentation, you could lose all the progress you’ve made so far.

Choose option B and you stand a much better chance of seeing your desired results. There may be a skin-purging period – which lasts up to six weeks. But once it’s over, you’ll be glad you stuck with it. So, let’s remind ourselves about what skin purging is, and how to get through it. 

What is skin purging?

Skin purging is the term for a temporary increase in spots when you start using a powerful active ingredient, such as a retinoid like tretinoin, or azelaic acid. Active ingredients increase skin cell turnover and target blocked pores, penetrating deeper into the skin, and bringing everything from below the surface up to the top. 

The increase in skin cell turnover clogs pores, forming comedones (spots, whiteheads and blackheads). Your skin may look and feel more congested, but this is temporary. Your skin is having a little declutter to get rid of all the bad stuff, making way for clearer skin. For the full lowdown, head over to our Skin Purging guide

How can I make progress if I’m purging?

We know that progress takes time, and allowing that to happen for however long it takes, is step number one. For the sake of our mental health, it’s important to avoid the idea of perfection. Remember, there’s no such thing as perfect skin. 

Whether you’re going through a temporary purge, or even if you’re dealing with a chronic skin condition, it’s essential to try and see beyond perfection, and think differently about what makes ‘good’ skin.


Skincare is a process, and it’s all about progress rather than perfection. We need to break away from the seemingly-perfect images we see online, and instead focus on the here and now and our own skin. 

By taking it one step at a time, and choosing to surround ourselves with positive, educated influences, we stand a much better chance of caring for ourselves more effectively. Instead of having a perfect image of ourselves which we constantly fail to measure up to, we should think about how we can progress.


We’ve all seen the posts showing the behind-the-scenes of Instagram photos, or pointing out obvious photoshopping, and when we ignore the trolling, they can be incredibly helpful. 

Seeing celebrities who are considered stunning with their real skin showing can be almost shocking. You realise that you’ve never really considered the fact that in every other image, you’ve seen of them their pores haven’t been visible, and their skin texture is flawless. It’s not real. 

And if it’s not real, and these people who we consider to be the pinnacle of beauty don’t look how we think they do, maybe it’s time to give ourselves a break.


Whether it’s the Instagram and TikTok accounts that share skincare routines up close with the hashtag #closeupskincare or the YouTube videos sharing makeup tips up close without filters, surrounding yourself with media that reflects reality can only be positive. There’s a real skin movement happening online, as the damaging effects of faux-perfect skin have become more apparent. 


Where makeup once reigned supreme in our spending, more of us are now focused on getting the most out of our skincare. Rather than attempting to cover up unhappy, dehydrated skin, we need to focus on making our skin healthy in the first place. You’ll be amazed by how much better your makeup sits on skin that’s been properly cared for. 

You don’t even have to spend a fortune on skincare for it to work well. There are lots of ways to save money on skincare and make your products go further. For our favourite ways, head over to our guide on how to save on skincare.


What’s your number one skin concern right now? Acne? Dryness? Dull skin? Instead of diving in headfirst and trying to fix them all with a cocktail of brand-new skincare products, take it slow. Choose one thing, like dry skin, and work on improving that. 

Introduce new products gradually, to see how your skin reacts to them, and do your research. Educate yourself about what your skin type is, and then once you’ve reached a point where you’re happy with your skin, start thinking about any other concerns. 

You may find that they’ve also improved, simply by taking it slow and using skincare products more consciously.


If you struggle with acne, there’s no point at all taking advice or skincare recommendations from someone who has never had a spot in their life. What works for someone else isn’t necessarily going to work for you, especially if you have completely different skin types. 

Ultimately, we should all be talking to our dermatologists for recommendations, but if you like to follow people online for skincare inspiration, try to seek out people who have the same skin concerns as you.

New to Skin + Me? Start your healthier, happier skin consultation today.

On your Skin + Me journey? Learn more about our Invite a Friend Charity initiative.

Find a Skin + Me Cleanser and Moisturiser to suit your skin type. Discover the full three-step routine.