Whilst we are rightly advised to cut out those things that make us feel bad or provoke a negative reaction, in body or spirit, there are a few exceptions. The ache after exercise is necessary for muscle growth, a cold water swim is a shock to the system but has been known to have many benefits for wellbeing. Similarly, sometimes when our skin is in its worst state it may well be a case of the dark before the dawn.
What Is Skin Purging?
Skin purging can often be mistaken for a breakout since it manifests as redness, spots, bumps and dryness. However, purging is triggered by a new skincare product or treatment that has been introduced and has provoked a high skin cell turnover.
Confused? Ok, let’s look at another part of the body that requires TLC. Our digestion requires both variety and simplicity. The gut is full of bacteria that need to be kept in balance. Although the occasional greasy meal or fried food won’t do us any real long-term damage, they can throw our system into chaos. Why? Because our body doesn’t know what to do with these foods, how to organise them, what to disperse with and what can be used. Likewise, if we were to introduce lots of fruits and vegetables in place of high-sugar highly-processed foods, then it would be much better for our health but we may not feel great initially, most likely due to a sugar crash.
When we introduce a new product to our skin, we are feeding it with something new. This can mean our skin cells go into overdrive, shedding old skin cells and producing new ones. Although this is exactly what we want our skin to be doing to keep us glowing, soft and bright, switching skincare can supercharge this process, causing it to purge.
Is Skin Purging Good?
Skin purging, as long as it’s not happening too often, is good for our skin. It is not pleasant to go through, of course, since our skin may not look or feel too good for a couple of weeks, but ultimately, it should improve the condition of your skin. Sometimes, when someone quits smoking, they can develop a smoker's cough, even if they’ve never had one. This isn’t a sign there is anything wrong but rather that their lungs have finally had a chance to properly clear out. Our skin can react in a similar way to new product ingredients, by bringing previous problems literally to the surface.
Purging can actually be a sign that the skin cream you have been using is not of good quality. This is why many people find their skin purging when they switch to all-natural products. Many people panic when they see their skin react but it is usually your skin cells expelling toxins that have been trapped in the deeper layers of tissue.
What Should I do if My Skin Is Purging?
If you have changed your skin cream and your skin is reacting then you may find you experience dryness, spots, redness or rough skin for 2-3 weeks, but can last up to 6 weeks. During this time, be gentle with your skin and keep your routine simple. Your skin is attempting to detox so the last thing it needs is extra products. It’s important to give it time to get used to the change in your skincare, so carry on using your new product as advised, and very little else.
Aside from this, you may also exfoliate your skin more often to assist it in removing those dead skin cells. Washing your face regularly at this time is important to keep your pores clean. Keep skin hydrated by drinking lots of water, but also by using water on your skin. Applying your cream with damp fingers will help your skin to drink in the new product.
Also - and you’re not going to like me for this - try not to use heavy makeup. I know it’s challenging when our skin looks sore but all it’s going to do is sink into your pores, clog them up and make it far harder for your skin to repair.
Will My Skin Purge If I Switch To Natural Skincare Products?
There is no way to know whether our skin will purge, exactly how it may manifest or how long it might last. What is important is being prepared for this process when we change our skincare routine so that we don’t assume it means the new product is not agreeing with us. Like any big change, we have to give it time to get established before we can truly measure how effective it is.
Your skin is more likely to purge if:
- You’ve been using plastic water-based products
- You’ve been using skin creams high in chemicals
- You have a complex skincare routine
- You wear heavy foundation
- You use body cream on your face
Natural skincare products give your skin the real food it needs, but if you’ve been using chemical products your skin has been on a processed diet and it will need time to adjust. Healthy skin will shed and regenerate regularly and that’s what gives us that firm, bright youthful complexion. However, if it hasn’t been doing this effectively then, when provided with skincare that promotes skin cell growth, it may go into overdrive for a little while. Be patient and wait to see what your skin does next. Any reaction to a natural skincare product is more often a reflection of what has been put onto your skin beforehand.