Purging vs breakout!

Purging vs breakout!

Purging vs breakout

A lot and a lot of skincare brands claim that their product can cause purging instead of breakout. It may be true if their product contains active ingredients. For those still unsure what purging is, you may read it over here: What Is Purging?


Today, we will explain the differences between purging and breakout and how to recognise whether you experienced purging or breakout.

The fact is, purging can occur if you are using active ingredients to increase your skin turnover rate. For example, if you are using Alluskin Purifying Cleanser, you might experience purging due to the glycolic acid. It brings out the dormant (read: sleeping) pimples under your skin so that you can appreciate clearer and smoother skin faster.

Acne and scar eraser combo

While for breakout, it happens because your skin is reacting towards irritating ingredients. For example, if your skin is sensitive to paraben, using it might cause tiny itchy bumps to appear. Continuing the usage of the product cause further irritation and makes your skin condition worsen.



Purging usually occurs in your usual problematic area but is not limited to it. It can appear at the side where your whiteheads/blackheads ‘live’. While breakout usually occurs in the area, you are not typically having a problem.


Pimples due to purging will appear and disappear faster. In contrast, pimples due to breakout can last for weeks if you are not treating them properly.

Usually, purging does not cause itchy rashes. While breaking out due to irritative ingredients will cause itchy rashes on your skin.

If you are unsure whether your skincare products have any active ingredients or not, look upon the internet or refer to the lists below:

  • AHAs: Glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, malic acid, citric acid, fruit acids
  • BHAs: Salicylic acid
  • Retinols (Vitamin A derivatives): Retinoids, tretinoin, adapalene
  • Vitamin C: Ascorbic acid, aminopropyl ascorbyl phosphate, etc
  • Benzoyl peroxide



You can differentiate breakout due to allergy from purging within 24 hours or a week after using a new skincare product with active ingredients. You will experience these signs before the appearance of new acne.


What are the red flag signs?

  • Significant redness and/or rashes
  • Major itchiness
  • Extreme tightness - due to weak skin barrier. You may need to strengthen your basic skincare routine before reintroducing the product again (cleanser, moisturiser, and sunscreen). If you need to introduce active ingredients, start with a cleanser or facial wash since it will not stay for too long on your skin.


Note: If purging lasts more than 2 months, even if you are not changing your product frequently and never pick your pimples, you are most like experienced breakout instead of purging.


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