Is Purging And Breaking Out The Same Thing? Let's Discuss The Differences

December 9, 2022

What you need to know about breakouts and purging for clear and healthy skin

Purging and breaking out are two common things your skin can be suffering from, with one being good for your skin cells and the other not so much.

In this post, we discuss the difference between purging and breakouts so you can understand when to stop using certain products and when to continue, as well as what to expect when beginning your journey to healthier skin. 

What is Skin Purging?

Purging and breaking out are two consequences that sometimes get confused. First, we’ll talk about the meaning of purging.

Skin purging is caused by an active ingredient that the skin reacts to, consequently increasing skin cell turnover. It is used to improve acne and some side effects will appear before your skin gets better. These are redness, itchiness, dryness, swelling, and others. 

If you’ve never read about improving acne, especially if you’re using prescription acne medications, you might have a hard time dealing with the side effects right after you begin taking the medication. 

Skin purging is completely normal and should be gone within a few weeks. If the side effects keep bothering you even after the treatment is over or after a long period, you might want to consult a specialist just in case. 

What Causes Purging Acne?

The causes of purging acne have to do with the chemicals used on your skin, and they can be used on a medication or a treatment done by a skin specialist. The chemicals boost skin cell turnover to prevent clogged pores and developing pimples, blemishes, and more. 

The goal of skin purging is to achieve fresh, glowy, and healthy skin. But in order to do that, many things have to arise first, such as excess sebum (which causes oily skin), dirt buildup, skin cells, and others related to causing pimples. 

Difference Between Purging And Breakouts

Breakouts and purging share a few similarities such as being caused by dead skin cells, buildup in your pores, bacteria as well as oil. But there’s a difference between both.

The difference between purging and breakouts is simple. Purging happens when your skin is adapting to a new product, and spots go away a lot faster than regular pimples. On the other hand, breakouts occur when your skin is irritated or sensitive found in a product. Pimples might appear in random places and can take a while to disappear.

Usually, when you try a new product and your skin gets irritated, therefore developing a lot of pimples, professionals advise you to ease its use. On the contrary, purging is known as a healthy path toward better skin, therefore it is normal to have a few spots that will soon go away. 

How To Tell If You’re Purging Or Breaking Out

The reason why you might purge or break out is clear, but how can you tell when one or the other is affecting your skin? It is quite simple, and in the following paragraphs, we cover the most important aspects.

  • Purging. If you notice your pimples or spots in the same place you usually get them, and they disappear faster than normal, you’re likely purging your skin.

Continue using the prescribed product or medication until your skin is healthy again.

  • Breaking out. If you’re breaking out or having a reaction in areas you don’t usually get pimples, and they take a while to go away, you’re likely breaking out.

Cease the use of the product that is irritating.

Purging & Breaking Out Final Words

In this post, we talked about the differences between purging and breaking out and how you can easily identify them. 

To sum up, purging happens when your skin is adapting to a new product or treatment, which is a good thing and will include a few effects like redness and developing spots/acne which you usually do, but they quickly go away.

On the other hand, breaking out typically occurs when your skin gets irritated by a product or treatment, causing itchiness, redness, swelling as well as developing pimples in odd places.

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