Skin Purging vs. Breakouts: Is Your New Skincare Helping or Hurting?

Jocelyn Langford
Written by
Jocelyn Langford


Imagine this: you just started using a new skincare product that promises clear, glowing skin, and you are PUMPED. You can finally say goodbye to breakouts. Two days in and not only is there no improvement, but your skin looks worse. 

Did you just waste the better part of your paycheck on products that are only provoking your skin, or are these heightened breakouts the light at the end of the tunnel? 

It's common for new skincare to cause more breakouts than usual. The key is to figure out whether the deluge of new acne is your skin purging or crying out for help.

What is Skin Purging?

As scary as it may sound, the term ‘purge’ just refers to your skin expressing any backed up bacteria and acne breakouts





Acne happens when your pores get clogged with dead skin cells, there's a bacteria buildup, or your skin has excess sebum. This clog happens deep within your skin and takes some time before reaching the surface.

When you start using a new skincare product with certain active ingredients, your skin will react with an increased cell turnover which typically initiates the purging process. Ideally, this would reveal fresh, glowing skin as the old skin sheds. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Active ingredients actually work to help your skin change and heal, as opposed to sensory ingredients which are just there to make a product look and feel good.

Sometimes before the clear, radiant skin of your dreams can be revealed, you have to get rid of breakouts that are hiding deep below the surface. Breakouts start so deep in the skin that it could be 8 weeks before a blemish works its way into visibility. 

Your new skincare is helping speed that process. So it might seem like your skin is getting worse, but it’s actually just rushing to get better. 

What Causes a Skin Purge

If you just started a new skincare product with say, four products that are chock full of active ingredients, (*ahem Clear Skin Kit *ahem) you may be wondering which products are causing your purge.  

Look at your labels for skincare ingredients that are meant to increase skin cell turnover. People sometimes experience a skin purge with Averr Aglow products because they are FULL of active ingredients, while other products have less than 10% actives.

In our Clear Skin Kit we have the highest quality natural skincare ingredients like cucumber, French pink claymanuka oil, and rosehip, which all help increase cellular turnover to reveal clear, radiant skin. Those ingredients, spread out among four products that you use on a daily basis, are going to be a powerful ally in your skin-clearing journey. In fact, natural ingredients are often better for your skin vs common acne clearing chemicals such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

Consider other things that increase cell turnover, like physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliants. The Radiant Cleansing Nectar is applied with a cotton pad that provides a gentle daily exfoliation. This is literally ridding your complexion of dead skin cells everyday to unearth the pent up blemishes and reveal the gleaming layers underneath.

Black woman pours face cleanser onto cotton pad

If you’re not using Averr Aglow products (what are you waiting for??), products that boast high vitamin C and retinoids will also impact your skin cell turnover. But if they’re not natural-based like Averr Aglow, they might come with some irritation, too - especially for sensitive skin.

How to Know If It’s a Purge or a New Breakout

Simply put, a skin purge is a breakout that occurs when you start a new skincare routine with new ingredients. You’re going to notice breakouts in the typical places you always get them. For me, my regular breakout areas are my chin and cheeks. If I were to suddenly have an outpouring of whiteheads on my nose, that would be cause for concern. 

In fact, it might not be a breakout at all, but instead some kind of irritation, allergic reaction, or some other negative reaction.

Irritation is more than your typical breakout and can be much worse. By identifying a few defining factors, you can differentiate between the two.


It takes about a month for your skin to completely renew. That means a full cycle of skin shedding until it’s all fresh, new skin. Most of the time, you'll start to see progress in your complexion within those 30 days. But remember, your pimples begin deep below the surface of your skin and could take up to 8 weeks to surface. If you don't see significant improvement past that 8 week mark, it's time to reevaluate your products.


Let’s say you’ve been using your Clear Skin Kit for 2 months, you’ve gone through a purge and your skin is finally flawless. Then you decide to add in a new product like the Luminous Complexion Toner and suddenly you’ve got acne again! What gives?

Averr Aglow luminous complexion toner

Even though the products in your Clear Skin Kit are keeping your skin clear and healthy, the Luminous Complexion Toner is full to the brim with vitamin C (thank you kakadu plum) which increases cell turnover even more and could take your skin on another little purging roller coaster. Once your skin gets used to the new actives, you should be free and clear… literally.

If You Get New Bumps in Unusual Places - New Breakout

When you’re experiencing a skin purge, it will typically occur where you already get breakouts. After all, that’s where the build up of clogged pores is happening under your skin. But if blemishes are suddenly popping up on your forehead instead of your chin, it might be a reaction to your products.

Examine the ingredients to see if you’re allergic to anything and avoid products with artificial fragrances, dyes, and preservatives.

If Your Skin Looks Better Overall - Purge

Take a step back from the mirror for a minute; you don't need to keep a running total of each new blemish. Instead, look at your skin as a whole. You might notice that your complexion is a little brighter and less oily. Perhaps your face feels softer despite the extra bumps. Maybe you even see an improvement in the blemishes. Are they smaller and less irritated than usual? If so, you're experiencing a skin purge that won't last forever and will culminate in the best skin you've ever had.

woman cleans face in front of the mirror

On the other hand, irritation will present itself as inflamed, itchy, burning, or just painful in general. If your skincare is contributing to any of these symptoms, it's not the routine for you.

Tips to Manage an Acne Purge

At this point you recognize that the purge is a necessary evil, like cleaning out the garage. You have to pull everything out into a big messy heap in the driveway so you can purge the junk (see what I did there?) and organize the rest all neat and tidy.

But that doesn’t mean it has to be a miserable experience. I’m not saying it’s going to be a popping-bottles, party-time situation, but I’ve got some tips to get you through it as painlessly as possible.

1. Keep Going

The most important thing to remember during a skin purge is to continue to use the products. It may seem counterintuitive, but you need your skin to purge completely. Stick with it for at least 30 days, or you won't know whether it's helping or hurting.





Plus, if you keep stopping and starting you’re going to restart the purge each time for a never ending cycle of breakouts. 

2. Get a Facial

A good facial will remove the backed up bacteria more effectively than merely exfoliating.

Your esthetician will be able to express your existing blemishes and give you a nice deep clean to open clogged pores and encourage the bacteria hiding deep down to come out even faster.

3. Clean Up Your Diet

It's not imperative to eat clean while you're going through a skin purge, but it can help speed up the process. Sugars in your diet from junk food, fast food, and complex carbs can exacerbate your acne. Cutting them out, even temporarily, can help balance your hormones and clear up your face.

4. Lean On Your Support System 

You already know what a confidence-deflater acne can be. During this brief period of extra breakouts, you need more support than ever. Reach out to friends and family to remind you how gorgeous you are, no matter what. 

Join forums or groups with people going through the same thing you are. Averr Aglow’s Facebook group was created for that exact reason: to provide a safe space for people to come for advice and support during every stage of their clear skin journey. Head on over for an emotional boost or piece of advice as you engage in the fight for clear skin.


Embrace the Purge to Achieve Results

I know, I know, you want to just skip the purging stage altogether. But the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll have the complexion of your dreams! Buckle down and get after it. Staying consistent with your Clear Skin Kit will heal your current painful spots, rejuvenate your dull, irritated skin, and kill bacteria to prevent future breakouts. 

Resist the urge to skip a night of cleansing because you’re tired. Your skin is worth more than that, and you’re worth more than your skin. Glow on!


Jocelyn Langford
Written by
Jocelyn Langford
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