The Purging Process: Truth or Myth?

suki nourishing toner

Above: Suki To-Go Nourishing Toner

The Purging Process is the theory that when you switch to a new beauty product or skin care routine, your skin breaks out due to the initial purging of impurities and dirt. At first hand, this sounds like a reasonable explanation for why acne pops up when you begin using a new product, but we wanted to do a little further research.

We ran across this great post from Beautylish.com where Dermatologist Dr. Anne Chappas points out the purging process is a myth. ”The skin’s job is to keep things out, not to release impurities from the body. That’s why we have a liver and kidneys—they are the organs responsible for detox,” she explains.

Detoxification is a long debated subject in the health care field. Based on scientific studies, it’s been found that the body does not need help breaking down toxins. According to Science Based Life, “…, our metabolisms are highly efficient at dissolving and concentrating harmful substances so that the next time you go to the bathroom you can void them. Not one of the detox products on the market could ever compete with simple urination.”

Instead of detoxing or purging the skin, Dr. Chappas explains that breakouts are caused by the skin’s initial reaction to the product. Essentially, the skin is trying to restore it’s pH levels and equilibrium. Often these breakouts are caused by products that contain retinoids (found in toners and acne-fighting products).

Essentially, their may be an initial breakout process while your skin adjusts to a new product, but it’s not “purging” or “detoxifying”.

It’s also important to be able to identify whether your skin is simply acclimating to a new product or is actually having a bad reaction. There can be a short breakout or adjustment period, but if this is lasting longer than a few days to a week, your skin may be too sensitive for the product. To help identify the acne-causing culprits, we recommend introducing new skin care products one at a time. Don’t switch up your routine all at once or it’ll be too difficult to determine what product is causing the breakouts.