Skin purging: What you need to know…

This is a golden nugget topic, as a lot of you won’t know what skin purging is, and quite frankly that’s because there’s not enough education around this topic. Lucky for you, you have us, your skin experts. If you start using a new product and notice spots appearing on your skin after a few days, I bet you think it’s just not for you. It’s the obvious assumption, and you might be right. But, you could very well be wrong. Your skin might actually be purging. Let’s learn all we need to know about skin purging and take control of our skin (empowering, right?). 

So, what is skin purging? 

Before I begin, we want to emphasis ‘can’, not ‘will’ here, ok. Skin purging is the process whereby when introducing a new skincare product (mainly exfoliating and cleansing products) into your routine, you may notice your skin starts to purge. A skin purge is when any congestion AKA excess oils, dirt, makeup and SPF in your pores are all brought to the surface of your skin. This is when you’ll see “a mix of whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, cysts, and even the tiny ‘pre-pimples’...” The reason for this is, “skin purging usually develops when a person incorporates a new product into their skin care routine that causes a rapid skin cell turnover.” Rapid cell turnover is where the outer layer of your skin is shedding faster, bringing everything to the surface. Therefore, it’s important to note in the case of skin purging, your skin can get worse, before it gets better. But remember, it’s nothing to be afraid of, it’s a natural process for our skin to undergo. 

Isn’t it fascinating though, who knew getting a mix of the above popping up on your skin could be a positive thing? Drawing all that congestion out of your pores, to maintain your skin’s health. It’s actually doing your skin a favour, giving it a good spring clean.

Is skin purging a process everyone can experience? Or is it just a few in between? 

That’s a very good question, unfortunately it’s a bit of a ‘how long’s a piece of string’ question. Although we might not know the answer to this (because research hasn’t proven evidence to this as of now), what we do know is everyone’s skin is different and there are various elements of skin purging at play. For example, it can be dependent on whether the product you’re introducing has an active ingredient in it to stimulate skin cell turnover, or how much underlying congestion you have in your skin. However, as soon as evidence-based research presents itself here, you’ll be the first to know (as always). 

Can any product bring on skin purging, or are some products more prone to? 

Typically speaking, it’s mainly your deeply cleansing and exfoliating skincare products (think your BHA’s, AHA’s, oil-based cleansers etc) which could, emphasis on ‘could’, not ‘will’, bring on skin purging. This is because their role is to take a deep dive into your pores, to unclog congestion and bring all impurities to the surface of the skin. But, there is no reason to be afraid of introducing a new exfoliating or cleansing product to your routine, it’s not like you’re going to start breaking out, and if you do it's going to re-balance your skin.  

Remember, the purpose of this Tailor talk is to just educate you on skin purging, so that in the odd case, and it is odd (in Tailor’s experience), you do notice these signs of skin purging, you are able to identify this and know it’s just a passing, natural process. 

Ok, so how long does skin purging last? 

This is a key element in identifying whether your skin is purging. I’ve said this before, but it’s important to note your skin can get worse before it gets better. In saying this, skin purging typically lasts “4-6 weeks”, but this can be dependent on the amount of underlying congestion in the skin. And in some cases, we’ve had customers report it lasting only a few days or lasting longer. It also tends to be “located in areas where a person typically gets breakouts.” Whereas, if your skin is just breaking out after introducing a new skincare product, typically an ingredient, it “can last for months” and “can occur in any area.” 

How can I best manage introducing a new skincare product into my routine?

Yes, there’s always a best practice when introducing a new skincare product into your routine, specifically for sensitive skin types. We’d recommend you just add one new cleansing or exfoliating product at once, to allow your skin to adjust and flourish. As always, if you have any concerns or worries, please message us via email at, or DM via @tailorskincare on Instagram. We always love a (Tailor) talk with you! 

Isn’t that groundbreaking info though, does it make you think back to products you’ve used in the past, had breakouts overs, and chucked away? Me too, of course that’s before my skin expert days. 

Talk soon,

Tailor x



Yarbrough, J. L. (2023, May 5). The Secrets to Deciphering — And Stopping — Skin Purging. Healthline.

Tee-Melegrito, R. A. (n.d.). What to know about skin purging. Medical News Today.
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