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Purging and Changing: A Road to Success

Why not to panic if your skin gets worse before it gets better

Pippa HarmanCo-Founder Renude
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Purging and Changing: A Road to Success
Written byPippa HarmanCo-Founder Renude
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When starting your skin care journey with us it's usually the case that the skin needs a deep detox, and purging is often brought up as an essential step. Whether treating acne, hyperpigmentation or when using retinoids to prevent the signs of ageing, purging is likely to be part of the process. Our aestheticians get many questions or slightly puzzled faces when they mention the term ‘purging’. If you're unfamiliar with the term, we’re here to give you the lowdown.

What is Skin Purging? 

Purging in skincare is a term that is often used to describe the process of the skin purging impurities after using a new skincare product or regimen. It is a temporary reaction in the form of a blemish or acne flare up that occurs within the first few days or weeks of using new ingredients on the skin. It is simply a sign of the skin adjusting to new products that increase skin cell turnover such as exfoliants, retinoids or some acids. As the dead skin cells rapidly shed, these may clog pores and lead to breakouts.  While the results of purging can be frustrating, it is important to understand what it is, how it happens, and what you can do to minimise its effects.

Purging when you want to clear blemished skin 

Skin blemishes are often treated by active ingredients such as AHAs, BHAs, retinoids, or vitamin C. These ingredients work to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin, but in the short term, they can also cause the skin to purge any impurities that may clog pores

Over time here are some of the changes to expect and when: 

Week 1-2 

Through deep cleansing, your skin should start to feel refreshed, with a brighter and more radiant appearance. You may also notice a slight increase in the visibility of your blemishes; this is due to your skin acclimatising to the new ingredients and your skin welcoming it - your skin saying hello to these new products. If you notice any irritation or discomfort, it’s worth pausing and speaking to an expert. 

Week 3-4

This is when purging usually starts to happen. Sometimes this can be within the first few weeks, but in weeks 3-4, there is more skin activity from your routine. 

You may notice an increase in blemishes, and that they linger. Please do not be alarmed by this, this is also the skin-deep cleansing itself due to the ingredients increasing the speed of cellular turnover. Have patience as clearing the skin does take time! 

Week 4-8

Purging can still be happening at this point and you may feel like the magic transformation you were hoping for may have stalled or slowed down. This phase can vary from person to person and so can the severity of your blemishes - there is no hard and fast rule, there is no benchmark. Trust us, the results will be worth the wait. 

Your skin will have only completed one full skin cycle at the 6-week mark and it’s usually by the second skin cycle completion that you should start to see the next phase in your results.

Week 8-12 

You’ve made it! Your skin should look brighter, clearer and calmer! Blemishes will likely be significantly reduced and your skin more balanced. 

Results differ from person to person but should start to see noticeable improvements by the 10-12 week mark.

Do’s and Don’ts of Clearing Blemishes 

  • DON’T panic, purging and changes are a common part of the process
  • DO follow the guidance given by your Renude Expert
  • DON’T pick your blemishes, however tempting
  • DON’T overuse your actives or exfoliants or add on any other products unless directed by your consultant, as they risk aggravating your skin
  • DO upload three photos and send your Renude Expert a message if you have any questions or concerns
  • DO continue with your product or treatment 

Purging when you're aiming to fade pigmentation

Renude aestheticians are well-rehearsed in designing a routine to help improve pigmentation and increase the speed of cellular turnover. They will select the perfect products that aim to help reduce the appearance of pigmentation and you should notice a much brighter skin appearance, even skin tone and a fresher, smoother texture. 

When treating hyperpigmentation with acids, because of the purging, it may seem at first that the pigmentation has gotten worse before it gets better. 

Over time here are some of the changes to expect and when: 

Week 1-2

Your skin should start to feel more refreshed, with a more radiant appearance. Your skin should be responding well to the recommended ingredients but you won’t notice a decrease in your pigmentation just yet! Overall your skin should look fresher and more radiant.

Week 3-4 

Your skin is going through a regeneration process and you may feel like the purging process has kicked in and your pigmentation almost looks worse. Try to remember this is a temporary process and your skin is actually doing what it should be. Pigmentation is a slower goal to change and we want to manage your expectation; this is the number one goal, you need to be religious with your routine and let the ingredients, designed to inhibit the melanin enzyme and fade that discolouration, get working.

Week 4-6 

New skin cells should have come to the surface and you should start to see things improving and your overall complexion looking a little brighter and more radiant.

Your pigmentation may have started to change at this point, it may look a little strange or mottled but it also may look the same. Don’t be concerned as this is normal is just your ingredients getting to work and remember, consistency is key!

Week 6-8 

By this stage, the small patches of pigmentation should look a lot brighter. Larger pigmentation patches should have started to break up but may still look uneven, so don’t be concerned. Your routine is breaking up that pigmentation and helping slough off dead skin cells, revealing brighter skin each time. 

Week 8-12  

Any secondary concerns should be noticeably improved and you should have started to see a difference in your pigmentation. It is unlikely to be dramatically different at this point. We expect you to start seeing bigger results after 3-6 months of consistent usage of your routine.

Do’s and Don’ts of Fading Pigmentation

  • DO wear SPF during daylight hours, never skip, and top up every 2 hours. If you can see outside without a light, get SPF on. SPF is your new best friend.
  • DO wear a sunhat if you’re in prolonged sun exposure and big sunglasses if they can cover your pigmentation area (cheeks, forehead etc.)
  • DON’T skip any steps in your routine
  • DON’T add in any skincare products or routines without consulting your Renude Expert first - the more we know the more we can help
  • DON’T treat just single areas; use your skincare over your whole face and neck

Purging if you’re looking to improve signs of ageing

If you're looking to improve the signs of ageing or even get on top of it with some preventative methods, a routine that is designed to help hydrate, plump and cushion your skin, will improve the appearance of your skin and target the deep unwanted wrinkles and fine lines. 

With this goal in mind, we’d likely recommend a Retinoid serum, Vitamin C, Peptides and Hyaluronic acid. Over time here are some of the changes to expect and when: 

Week 1-2 

Your skin should start to feel more hydrated, nourished, and refreshed. You may not have started just yet with some of the stronger ingredients in your routine like retinoids or other forms of Vitamins, as focusing first on restoring your skin barrier will get your skin prepped for those powerhouse steps and you should be feeling plumper and more hydrated.

If you’re new to retinoids, welcome! You may notice a little irritation, dryness, flakey patches and a little redness. However, this is often expected, and you can easily buffer the retinoid with the Sandwiching Method to prevent any adverse reactions.

Week 3-4 

If you aren’t yet using retinol, by this stage, your skin should be feeling much more comforted, nourished and less irritated. This is your skin barrier healing and repairing. Your skin should feel more predictable and balanced, experiencing less dramatic changes daily or even hour to hour.

If you are using retinoids, now is likely the time to stop buffering it and apply straight onto the skin. However, if at any point your skin becomes irritated, go back to buffering temporarily - burning isn’t good! It won’t achieve your goal faster and actually might set you back. Slow and steady wins the race. Retinol is a great ingredient but it isn’t a miracle product, it takes time. 

Weeks 4-6

If you’re not using retinol, your skin should now be far less dehydrated and much plumper and smoother. 

If using retinol, you may be experiencing purging as your skin ejects all the impurities lurking in the deeper layers of your skin.  It’s not something to be alarmed about if it happens. Your skin will look more radiant, fresher and smoother in texture over time. 

Week 8-12

If you have been using retinol since week one, your purging process should have been completed. At this stage, you should notice smoother skin, improved texture, plumper skin and a reduction in smaller lines (which are often caused by dehydration). Deep-set wrinkles may take longer to see differences as you go and need adjustments to the routine, increasing ingredient strengths, as noticeable differences to these deeper wrinkles may take 6 months+. Every person is different, and whilst most will see results within 2-3 months (on average), some might see visible changes in the mirror faster than others.

If you’re starting with retinol later in your routine, you will likely be experiencing the differences highlighted earlier in this process.

Do’s and Don’ts looking to improve signs of ageing

  • DO wear SPF during any daylight hours, never skip, and top up every 2 hours. If you can see outside without a light, get SPF on. This is your new best friend.
  • DO wear a sunhat if you’re in prolonged sun exposure and big sunglasses.
  • DO be savvy with your stress levels and diet - be kind to yourself and your body
  • DON’T skip any steps in your routine
  • DON’T add in any skincare products or routines without consulting your Renude aesthetician - the more we know the more we can help
  • DON’T experiment with at-home anti-ageing ‘devices’ without consulting your Skin expert first 
  • DON’T treat just single areas, use your skincare over your whole face and neck

How can you minimise the effects of purging?

While purging is a natural process that your skin often needs to go through to achieve your skin goals, you can minimise its effects. Here are some tips to help you get through the purging process:

  1. Start with a low concentration of active ingredients: If you're introducing active ingredients such as AHAs, BHAs, or retinoids to your skincare routine, start with a low concentration and work your way up slowly. This will give your skin time to adjust to the new ingredients without overwhelming it.
  2. Don't introduce too many new products at once: If you're starting a new skincare regimen, starting too many products at the same time can make it difficult to determine which product is causing the purging. Too many changes can also be overwhelming for your skin.
  3. Be patient: Purging can be frustrating, but it is important to be patient and stick with your new skincare routine. Your skin will adjust over time, and the purging will subside to reveal brighter skin.
  4. Keep your skin hydrated: Hydrated skin is healthy skin. Make sure to use a moisturiser that is appropriate for your skin type to keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
  5. Avoid picking at your skin: Picking at your skin can cause scarring and inflammation, which can make purging worse. It is important to avoid picking at your skin and let the purging process run its course.

Renude’s Top Tips for Purging

At Renude we highly recommend keeping a skin diary, to log the changes you gradually see when introducing or removing ingredients and new products. This could be really helpful in order to keep track of your purging and monitor how long and how aggressive the purging process is for you. 

Take our 3-minute skin health quiz as the first step in receiving a personalised skincare routine that’s set to your budget. You can book into a free consultation to speak to one of our aestheticians at a time that suits you, or just upload your photos.

Pippa HarmanCo-Founder Renude
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