Is that a new pimple, or is your skin purging post-peel? How to spot the difference.

Is that a new pimple, or is your skin purging post-peel? How to spot the difference.

When you make an effort to take better care of your skin by adopting a new, more effective routine, the very last thing you would like to see within a week or two is your complexion becoming more uneven and breaking out.  You may be wondering what exactly is occurring the increase in the number of pimples, pores that are noticeably congested, or even patchy dryness on your face, even though you may be using more active substances or maintaining a cleansing routine with greater vigilance.  The following are some important questions to ask yourself: Could these new skincare products be the cause of your problems? Are you experiencing a temporary purge or a long-term reaction as a result of them? What are the signs that your skin is purging or that it is breaking out? Here’s the answer.


In the case of breakouts, the zits that are manifesting themselves are completely fresh. It is a reaction that takes place as a result of a new product that you have included in your routine of caring for your skin. You must check the consistency as well as the ingredients (to see if they are comedogenic, constitute artificial fragrances, or encompass irritating ingredients) because these factors may contribute to pore-clogging, which ultimately leads to you-know-what. Here are some red flags to keep an eye out for:
  • You have broken out in spots all over your face, even in places on your face where you don’t typically get pimples.
  • Breakouts are accompanied by discomforts such as redness, itching, rashes, pain, or swelling on the affected area of the skin.
  • Your skin does not show any signs of improvement after eight weeks or longer, and it may even be getting worse. In this particular scenario, you are required to discontinue the use of the new product.

Skin Purging

Purging of the skin is a symptom that is only transitory and occurs when new products WITH active components are introduced into your regimen. Active ingredients such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), beta hydroxy acids (BHA), retinoids, vitamin C, and benzoyl peroxide are some examples. Active ingredients contribute to a faster rate of skin renewal, which in turn means that dead skin cells are shed more quickly. It will take much less time for micro-comedones and other toxins that have been hiding deeper in the skin to be brought to the surface, thanks to the increased rate at which dead skin cells are exfoliated. It’s almost like your body is going through a detoxification process, and the first sign of it will be an outbreak of acne (healthier skin). Be on the lookout for the following warning signs: 
  • There are no irritant symptoms present, such as dryness, redness, itchy skin, or pain.
  • You’ve done a treatment or used a product, such as peels, not too long ago that included the application of exfoliating acids or other active ingredients.
  • Breakouts can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks (4-6 weeks) but improve gradually after they have run their course.

The Post Chemical Peel Differences

It might be hard to distinguish between a pimple or acne and the purging that occurs after having a professional peel done, but doing so is vital for monitoring your skin’s health and tolerance after having a peel done. When trying to distinguish between skin purging and breakouts, there are a few things to keep an eye out for, including the following:
  • The purging process that follows a chemical peel can start a few days after the peel has been performed.
  • Last anywhere from 10 to 14 days based on the normal cell turnaround and renewal time frame of your skin, and then they disappear completely (a normal phase that only lasts a few days)
  • Traditionally, show in the areas of your body where you most frequently break out acne.
  • Clear up faster than a breakout could happen.
  • Typically less likely to result in scarring than acne outbreaks of other types.
Acne breakouts following a chemical peel can: 
  • Acne breakouts following a chemical peel can: 
  • It can take longer to become visible on the surface after the peeling process, as well as longer to clear.
  • This can also be a consequence of a recommended post-peel product that is intended to protect or soothe the skin.
  • Be less of a passing phase and more of a recurring pattern—or even just an indication of annoyance.
It is important to stay in contact with your doctor or a skin care professional, especially if you are undergoing skin concerns during your first chemical peel. This is because they can accurately diagnose the distinctions between purging and regular breakouts, which will set you on the path toward certain restoration.

What can you do to help your skin while it is purging after getting a peel?

The first and most important rule of purging is to keep your hands away from your face at all times. Picking, poking, or popping in any way should not be allowed under any circumstances. Peels result in what is referred to as “controlled trauma,” and your skin is currently in the process of recovering from those effects. That being the case, the very last thing you should do is add insult to injury by trying to pick at what has already been brought to the surface. Choosing to leave your skin alone can help the purging process move along more quickly.

Can a succession of peels help alleviate skin purging?

The skin and its purging steps can be brought under control with a regular skincare routine that also includes a series of peels. There is not one single skin concern that applies to all skin types. Because of this, there is no assurance that the subsequent peels won’t cause some kind of purging to occur after each one. Maintaining a regular regimen of professional peels, on the other hand, can help improve skin health and clarity, which should ultimately result in a reduction in the purging process or its complete elimination. If you are interested in learning more about peels and would like to schedule an appointment at BCRN Aesthetics, feel free to do so. We take great pleasure in educating our patients on the newest, best, and safest technologies that are currently accessible. Our Providers devote a significant amount of time to ensuring that each patient comprehends their treatment plan and is enthusiastic about their next aesthetic journey.
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