Acne Problem: Purging or Breaking Out?

Posted on Sep 27 2018 - 1:00am by Ceybizlanka

Woman suffering an acne break outWhen you’re battling with acne and have decided to try a new skincare product, don’t get your hopes up in seeing noticeable improvements in within a just a few days. It is often normal to see new pimples, making your breakouts look worse than before. If this happens to you, your skin might be purging, which is different from breaking out (or worsening of acne).

Here is the difference between purging and breaking out.


When your skin is in the midst of purging, it is reacting to a new skincare product or remedy. This is mostly due to the active ingredients you are currently using, which is speeding up your skin’s renewing process, as well as the skin cell turnover and the skin cell cycle. This results in having pimples much quicker. Purging can also accelerate the rate at which dead skin cells are shed and replaced.

Dermatology centers in Salem share the ingredients that may cause purging:

  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Retinoid
  • Hydroxy acids (salicylic, glycolic, malic, lactic)
  • Exfoliants
  • Vitamin C

The purge occurs in areas where you commonly get acne. Clogged pores may also turn into red pimples quicker and smaller bumps may become bigger ones. The good news is it is only temporary. It will last for a couple of weeks (four to six weeks), and then your skin will start to improve. You may be frustrated in the process, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Breaking Out (Worsening)

If your skin is breaking out, you may notice red and inflamed spots and nasty zits in areas where you don’t usually get acne. When you start a new product or regimen, and you experience an intense breakout outside of your normal acne-prone area, it is likely that your skin is badly reacting to the product. If your skin is also not clearing up after a couple of weeks, it is best to stop using the products.

When your acne is getting worse and is not getting better in six to eight weeks, it is likely that the culprit is a new product you are using. It is best to consult a dermatologist to clear up your skin. This is much better than trying new and different products all at once.

If your skin is breaking out more than usual, but in places where you usually get acne and is getting better, your skin is likely purging. If it, however, is breaking out more than usual, but in new places, and is not showing any sign of getting better, it is likely breaking out. Contact a skin doctor today to learn more about purging and breaking out and the best acne treatments.