Are you purging or breaking out?

What is purging?

Acne scores high on the list of Kenyan skincare problems. Globally, it’s the eighth most common skin disease, with an estimated 9.8% of the population being affected. Although acne is common, it’s important to note the differences between breaking out, allergic reactions and skin purging, especially when introducing new products. 

Purging is the reaction of the skin to an active ingredient that causes increased cell turnover and dead skin cells to rise to the surface resulting in pimples or comedones of all kinds. In other words, in an effort to nail that perfect Kenyan skincare solution, your skin gets worse before it gets better. Although purging doesn’t seem ideal, it’s usually considered a sign that the product is working. The result? Clearer skin after a few weeks. 

Causes of skin purging 

Purging is common when using skincare products with ingredients that increase cell turnover, for instance retinoids and acids which cause everything from dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cells to excess sebum to rise to the surface of the skin. Acne symptoms that were already forming under the surface of the skin including microcomedones (very small pimples), blackheads, whiteheads, cysts or pustules come to the surface of the skin faster. It can be tempting to stop using your new products but trust us, continuing with your routine is the answer to your Kenyan skincare problem and your best bet at finding the right solution too. 

Need help finding a Kenyan skincare solution? Take our newly launched skin quiz here or check out our beginner’s guide here.              

The key differences between purging and breaking out

It can be tricky to spot the difference between skin purging and breaking out especially after introducing a new product into your skincare routine. Not all reactions to a new product are a skin purge. The product you are using could actually be the cause of all your Kenyan skincare problems  by causing certain allergic reactions or clogging your pores. 

Here are some ways you can differentiate between purging or breaking out:

  1. Duration

When you’re purging, pimples disappear faster compared to when you are having a normal breakout. If you begin using a new product and are still experiencing breakouts after 4 to 6 weeks, it may be a sign that the product probably shouldn’t be on your list of Kenyan skincare solutions. As a matter of fact, you may be experiencing a breakout. However, everyone’s skin is different, to be sure, see an expert or simply book a session with our  in-house certified skincare therapist, Joyce Waiharo here

  1. Active ingredients

The active ingredients contained in the products you are using can also help point out whether what you’re experiencing is purging or a breakout. Purges typically result from chemical ingredients that exfoliate the skin such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids, retinol, and acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. If your skin is reacting to a product with none of the ingredients mentioned above then you’re probably breaking out. 

  1. Location

Purging typically occurs in areas on the face where you’d normally break out, for instance, the nose, forehead, or chin. If you’re breaking out in an area of your face where you don’t normally break out you could be experiencing an adverse allergic reaction to the product or acne. Your skin is probably reacting because it’s sensitive to an ingredient in the new product or the product could be clogging your pores. 

Tip: When looking for the perfect Kenyan skincare solution through products, always make sure the skincare products you purchase are labelled non-comedogenic, i.e. they won’t clog your pores.  

How to reduce the severity of a purge

The trick to introducing a product with a purging ingredient into your skincare routine is doing it gradually. This could mean using the product less frequently, starting at a lower concentration or starting with a small amount. 

Use hydrating products to help your skin function at its best. Our Neulii Squalane Desertica Moisture Cream for all skin types replenishes skin and targets top Kenyan skincare problems  by locking in moisture in the skin barrier, leaving skin hydrated, plump, and soft. Shop our non-comedogenic moisturizer  here.

Avoid introducing other skincare products or using products with harsh ingredients that could irritate the skin or dry it out further. This will give your skin some time to get used to the ingredient that is causing purging in the first place. 

NB: Remember to use SPF 30+ daily to protect your skin from harmful UV rays and minimize sun exposure. 

What to do if you are purging vs breaking out

Purging calls for huge doses of PATIENCE – can be complicated but it’s really that simple! First you need to confirm that you’re purging and not breaking out by giving it about 4 to 6 weeks. Resist the urge to pick pimples during this time – a wild concept we know! That’s why we created the “I AM SPOTLESS” pimple patches, a Kenyan skincare solution of its own kind, shop here. Remember, when purging, healthy, younger skin will eventually reveal itself.

If you confirm that you’re breaking out, discontinue use of the new product immediately for a minimum of one week. Stick to the typical Kenyan skincare solution – a basic 3-step routine comprising a cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen. Shop our AC Clean Saver Foam Cleanser for acne-prone skin here – a Kenyan skincare solution worth the try or if you need some help building a skincare routine for yourself, take our skin quiz here.

Have any questions about purging? Drop them in the comments below. 

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