I was going to address this in the last beauty misconceptions post but I didn’t want it to be a whole chapter. Instead, I thought I would address it individually from the others in its own post because the whole subject can be really confusing and there are multiple reasons you might break out.
The short answer to this question/statement is yes, a new skincare regime can break you out, but the reasons are a bit longer than a word…
It might sound so simple but even one ingredient can make the difference between flawless skin and a reaction. It doesn’t have to be parabens, artificial fragrances or any other publicly condemned ingredients; natural ingredients give people allergic reactions and sensitivities when eaten and even brushed over the skin.
Even if all of the ingredients are fine, even if you have no known sensitivities or have used the product in the past, there could be another reason you’re breaking out…
Have you been sick, stressed, or is it close to that time of the month?
Being sick or stressed weakens our immune system and anything consumed or coming into contact with our skin can quickly go from friend to foe.
A quick example I can give you is when I had a very bad case of gastroenteritis (stay with me here) many years ago, getting it the day before starting a gruelling, month-long job. I was trying to do everything I can to keep myself healthy enough to work, which meant keeping my water intake up and snacking on dry foods, like unsalted peanuts. Unfortunately, peanuts just became something that my stomach suddenly couldn’t… stomach.
When I had that awful dermatitis I had to tread carefully when it came to what came into contact with my face. I had to go back to the very simple basics before I found something that wasn’t going to make it worse, then something to help.
Period time can put everything out of whack as well, including your skin.
It’s best to never try any new products if it’s coming up to your period, you’re getting/are sick or under any sort of mental or physical stress because it will most likely be a factor in breaking your skin out.
Not following the directions (leaving it on too long, working it into the skin too vigorous) can fuck up your skin so quickly.
I remember working in my little world at a beauty department store many moons ago. One of our best selling products was so loved by both new and dedicated customers that while working there, I never saw it returned.
Then in comes this customer one day.
I’ve been frustrated a few times with customers, but this one wasn’t getting it (or she got it and just wanted the money back). I could clearly see she had rigorously rubbed this scrub into her cheeks and it gave her a rash. Now for this scrub to really work wonders, we show everyone how to use it. It wasn’t a harsh product. Yet she was adamant. Whatever, lady, have your refund then.
Look at your directions, even if you think you know the product. It makes a difference.
Well, I’ve broken out, now what?
If you’ve gone through the points above and are sure you’ve done everything right, now you have to figure out it’s an actual breakout from the product or if your skin is going through a purge
So let’s talk about what purging is…
Purging is removing by cleansing or purifying. It is possible in products that increase cell turnover; these are AHAs, BHAs, some scrubs, peels and retinoids. Not really from moisturisers or eye creams.
Although distinguishing if your skin is purging or not can be difficult without trial-and-error and a professional looking at it, the biggest tell-tale that your skin is purging is that it usually occurs in places you already get acne or usual breakouts as it’s pulling all the gunk up that you’re getting rid of.
Don’t be surprised if the acne and the breakouts themselves during this time are a bit painful however it’s suggested you should lower the frequency of the use (instead of daily, perhaps every second or third day) and/or the strength, especially with retinoids.
Also, cell turnover is usually faster, but depending on how congested your skin is and the ingredients you’re using, breakouts will subside between 2-6 weeks, so all you can do is let your skin do its thing.
Now if your breakouts aren’t painful and are using a product that doesn’t increase cell turnover (active ingredients), it’s less likely to be purging and possibly the product itself. If you start breaking out in new areas that are most likely a reaction to the product as well.
Tiny red bumps and or itchiness? Possibly an allergic reaction so discontinue use and see what happens to your skin afterwards.
Skin hot, prickly and/ or sensitive? It might be irritation from one or more of the ingredients and also possibly being used incorrectly.
As you can see it can be difficult to find the sole cause but a new skincare regime can break you out or purge your skin. It’s absolutely normal to get breakouts from products with active ingredients, but it’s normal to just get them from things you have used before. Hopefully, though, this little post has helped you distinguish between purging and breakouts. Like with all new things, it’s suggested that you give new products at least a month, some pros suggest up to three for a more accurate look to see if it is the product and no other external factors. Again though it is up to you and what you feel works best for your skin.
Before I leave you I wanted to post some great links that helped me articulate what I wanted to say, as well as give more info!
Skinacea- “Question: Am I purging or just breaking out?”
Allure – Breakouts Vs. “Skin Purging”: How to Tell the Difference
FutureDerm -Daily Question: Why Does My Skin Breakout When I Change Skin Care Lines?