Have you noticed skin irritation, breakouts, and excessively dry skin when you have started out on a new skincare product that promises to give you clear and beautiful skin. You might be perplexed by the condition of your skin when you consider the tall claims made by the product. Are you wondering “Does Skin Get Worse Before Gets Better?”
Before you throw that product into the trash, we would like to tell you that your skin might be getting worse before it’s getting better and this phenomenon is called “skin purging.” Skin purging is completely normal and in a way, it is the natural way of your skin clearing out or detoxing. It’s the same when you are detoxing your body, kicking out the toxins, and switching to natural and organic food. For the initial few days, you would feel your health has gotten worse with mood swings, fatigue, and drowsiness. And that’s because the toxins are getting flushed out of the bloodstream, and in a few days, you will completely healthy and energetic when there are no more toxins and free radicals. In the same way, your skin will purge for a few days and then it will become normal, clear, and healthy. But if your skin does not clear up and get better in a span of few days, then it’s better you toss out any new products that you have included in your routine. Topical retinoids like Retin A can cause dryness and acne flare up before making the skin better. Retinoids increase skin cell turnover and sometimes this leads to inflammation and causes skin to develop dryness and breakouts. The market is flooded with so many skin-clearing products and most of them contain ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, retinoids, and certain oils that can do wonders for your skin. Please also note that not all products that can clear up skin would cause purging. Purging also depends on your skin type and the potency of the ingredients in the product. If you are using a high-concentration of a particular ingredient, your skin will purge, otherwise not.
Now, here are some other reasons why your skin is reacting badly to a skincare product:
1. You’re using the wrong ingredient: In general, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and sulfur are acne-fighting ingredients. Benzoyl peroxide is an anti-microbial ingredient and treats papules and pustules. If you have comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), you need a salicylic acid or sulfur based product as these ingredients help in exfoliating and clearing out clogged pores. If you use benzoyl peroxide for blackheads, your skin might become inflamed and irritated and that will lead to breakouts.
2. You are using too much product: We might be tempted to get clear skin quickly and end up applying more than the required amount in a quest to get faster results, but doing that could prove counterproductive. Certain blemish-clearing ingredients tend to be very drying and when they are overused, they can cause inflammation and irritate the skin, leading to dryness and breakouts. Also, salicylic acid, which works to unclog pores, is an extremely drying ingredient and can cause redness and flaking. Other ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and sulfur can have the same effect too. So, start using these ingredients just twice or thrice a week for the initial few weeks and then increase the frequency once your skin gets used to the ingredient.
3. You are not using the product enough: If you’re using a retinoid-based cream or product, you will not see the results immediately. After using retinoid creams for a few days, you may experience a flare in your acne, but it’s important to continue using the retinoids and eventually, your skin will clear up.
4. You are using wrong combination of ingredients: Do not load up a lot of products together at the same time when you’re trying to prevent or treat acne as a lot of ingredients react with each other and can worsen the condition of your skin. Divide skincare products in morning and evening routine, for example, do not use niacinamide and vitamin C products together. Separate them into morning and night skin care regimen.
5. You’re allergic or sensitive to the ingredient: Your skin can be sensitive to ingredients like retinoids and salicylic acid, which could cause a reaction. Also, acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and tea tree oil can cause allergic reactions on some skin types and in that case, please discontinue the use of such products if your acne and irritation does not clear up in a few days.
6. The concentration isn’t right: If you’re having continued issues with your skin, it’s possible that the concentration of an ingredient could be more. So, it is better to start with the lowest concentration available and increase gradually as tolerated. For example, when it comes to glycolic acid, do not use high concentration of 7% or 10% on your skin initially, start with 5% glycolic acid initially and then once your skin gets used to it, switch to higher potency of glycolic acid.
So, as we have mentioned above, in some cases, skin does get worse before getting better because of a process known as skin purging, but that’s not always the case. Depending on your skin type and the product in hand, your skin might not react in a negative way and get better without getting worse.