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Have you heard of skin purging? Any idea what it means? Nope, us neither. But we’ve found out. In a nutshell, it means that when you buy a new skin product and your skin breaks out, it might just be that it’s adapting to the product (purging) or it may mean your skin doesn’t like it (breaking out). But how do you tell the difference? And how do you know how long to wait it out?

What is skin purging?

Your skin will often purge if you’re trying out a new product or have changed your diet. For instance, a clay and charcoal mask can cause your skin to purge as it draws out impurities.

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What’s the difference between skin purging and breaking out?

They can look very similar, so it can be hard to tell the difference. Breakouts can be larger than pimples and are usually connected to hormones, stress, lifestyle and genetics.

What does skin purging look like?

Skin purging is when your skin comes out in small spots, which resembles whiteheads, following the application of a new skincare product. It is the reaction of your skin to the new skincare, while it is not necessarily a bad thing—skin purging can happen if the cream you’re using is too rich for your skin type, or if your skin is going through a process to get rid of bad stuff before it rebalances and looks fabulous.

Your skin might also purge if you’re going through a detox. The skin is one of your detox organs, and the body will be getting rid of all the toxins in your skin, which will come out in the form of spots. They will disappear eventually as the body rebalances.

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How long does skin purging last?

If you’re using a new product and your skin starts to react, how long should you wait before giving up to stop the skin purging and try a new one?


If it’s a cleansing product, give it 7–10 days. By day 10 the skin should have done its thing cleansing out the impurities. If it’s a rich hydrating product, it may just be too rich for your skin.


If you’re cleaning up your diet and doing a detox, using a cleansing mask will really help your skin through the process, which could be over two to four weeks.

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