Is Skin Purging Real?

Yes, it is actually a thing!

When using new skincare products, you may find your skin has a temporary reaction and you may find that your skin can get worse, before it gets better. Although we want to see instant results, it can take time for the ingredients to truly work and due to the active ingredients, you may initially see unwanted changes to your skin.

Using products such as retinols, BHA/AHA/PHAs (beta-hydroxy acids, alpha-hydroxy acids, polyhydroxy acids) and peels will increase the skin cell renewal rate, remove dead skin cells at a faster rate and help to clear and remove rubbish from the skin by unclogging the pores and removing a build-up of dirt, grime and excess sebum.

You may think it is causing new pimples, but it is actually bringing dormant pimples from under the skin, to the surface. This will in turn help with the overall complexion – minimising pores, blackheads, bumps and spots. Cell renewal will help with the appearance of the skin, to give an all-over clearer, smoother complexion – helping the appearance of fine lines, pigmentation, pores, dull, or tired-looking skin.

Another explanation of skin purging is after having a facial, due to the therapist using ingredients and techniques to get dirt, grime and under the skin spots, to the surface. The same thing can happen to some people when using certain products and the active ingredients in them. 

It is mostly common in people with acne-prone, or problematic skin, but anyone can have skin purges. You may want to stop using products when purging starts to happen, but if you continue using, your complexion will usually eventually clear and you will see a visual, positive difference to the skin.

There is nothing you can do to stop purging, and it is also important to note, that it is not acne, as it does not have the same skin mechanism.

Since purging occurs when an ingredient attempts to speed up the skin’s natural pace of shedding and renewal, it should only take one full skin cycle to get through the worst of it. The usual cycle is around 28 days. Of course, everyone is different, so that is a rough timeline.

It is recommended to continue to use the product, for at least one month and to accept to have this temporary skin. The result of sticking to the skincare routine will appear over time by using the product daily.

How do you know if you are having a breakout/reaction or skin purge?

Ultimately, it depends on how well you know your skin.

Things to look out for:


  • If you are experiencing breakouts in areas you usually find problematic
  • Disappears faster than a normal pimple
  • Reaction – happens quickly
  • Blackheads/small skin-coloured or red bumps under the surface of the skin


  • Using a product that doesn’t have active ingredients. I have mentioned acids, but other skincare products can contain active ingredients
  • If it has been more than 4-6 weeks, then it may not be right for you
  • Normal breakout, doesn’t happen straight away when using the product
  • Usually you will have blackheads, red pimples on the surface of the skin, blackheads, white heads and cysts, which are deep, tender bumps underneath the skin
  • Sore to touch, persistent heat or irritation
  • A stand-alone spot, you are probably not purging

Things to keep in mind:

Have you used this type of product before?

For women, is it the time of the month?

Is it an area you usually break out in?

Are you stressed? Eating well? Staying hydrated? Sleeping Well? 

Things you can do:

  • Use active products less frequently. Leave on toners/tonics, like our Exfoliating Tonic, until the skin gets used to it. This does not mean to stop all together, the product is working to clear the skin
  • Do not give up using the products
  • Try not to touch your face too often – you may cause bacteria/dirt to enter the skin
  • See a dermatologist if things worsen
  • Be gentle with your skin and not overcomplicate it
  • Don’t pick or squeeze the area of concern, this can make the skin flare-up, or cause scarring
  • CLEANSE! When using products which stimulate cell renewal, it means there will be more dead skin cells on the skin, which can cause pores to get clogged. This is why it is important to cleanse morning and night, with the Lucy Bee Cleansing Cream.
  • First time using skincare products? Your skin may need to get used to this – from the products you use, to it not being used, to being cleaned properly and looked after.

Customers Feedback:

“You can see in the 3 pics before I had awful, combination, dry, sensitive annoying skin. I’ve used your products for almost 3 weeks now and WOW what a result - thank you for making such brilliant products and for making me more confident in my own skin. Must admit I did have a skin purge (who knew this was thing) where it got worse before it got better but after about 7-10 days, the texture and appearance has improved now along with the blemishes, really hope this continues."


You can find the range here, as well as samples here


Lucy, CIBTAC accredited beauty therapist.

About Lucy Bee Limited

Any information provided by us is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. We always recommend referring your health queries to a qualified medical practitioner.

Lucy Bee is a lifestyle brand selling food, skincare and soap products all completely free from palm oil and with minimal use of plastic. Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, organic, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and empowering people to make informed choices and select quality, natural products for their food and their skin.

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