Does Acne Get Worse Before it Gets Better? How to Know
November 15, 20214 min read
Does acne get worse before it gets better? Sometimes. The answer depends on what type of acne you’re experiencing and what may be causing it.
When things aren’t going the way we’d like them too, we can take solace in knowing that it’s darkest before the dawn. This can apply to your skincare, too. Sometimes things have to get really bad--or in this case, really pimply-- before they get better. This is called an acne purge, and it’s a fairly common experience.
What Is an Acne Purge?
To understand why your skin might be breaking out as it’s clearing up, it’s important to know that acne forms long before you see it pop up on your face. In fact, bacteria, dead skin cells and other acne contributors can brew below the surface of your skin for months before you actually break out.
When your skin is purging, new acne isn’t forming. Instead, all of that deeply-buried gunk is coming to the surface. Why does this happen? It’s all thanks to cell turnover, which is both friend and foe when it comes to eliminating acne.
In the long term, cell turnover is what allows your skin to bring fresh new cells to the surface for a vibrant, acne-free complexion. But in the short term, it has to bring up those acneic parts of your skin so it can get rid of them. Hence the purge.
What Causes an Acne Purge?
Any change you make to your skin that encourages cell turnover can lead to an acne purge. This includes treatments you have done professionally, like chemical peels and microdermabrasion.
Vitamin C promotes cell turnover, and so too do retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, and physical and chemical exfoliants. If you’re prescribed antibiotics for acne, that can also cause purging.
How Do I know if My Skin is Purging?
This is the million dollar question! We have found that--especially in the holistic space--purging is sometimes used as a catchall phrase for breaking out. But sometimes a breakout is not a purge, so it’s important to know the difference.
Signs That it’s Not a Purge
If you haven’t started using a new skincare product or treatment recently, then any breakouts you’re experiencing are likely not a purge.
If you have started using a new skincare product, but it’s not something that promotes cell turnover--like moisturizer or sunscreen--then you’re also not experiencing a purge.
If you’re breaking out in new places on your face that you’ve never broken out before, it’s probably not your skin purging.
If your skin looks generally more red or oily than it did before, you’re likely experiencing some kind of skin irritation or allergic reaction rather than a purge.
And if your breakout lasts for more than a month or two, it’s likely not your skin purging.
Finally, if you’ve noticed a breakout right after adding a new supplement to your routine or changing your diet in some way, you’re likely not experiencing a purge.
Some folks will tell you that your skin is “detoxing” if you’ve changed your diet, but this is likely untrue. Your liver and kidneys are the organs in charge of detoxing. A detox doesn’t show up as pimples on your skin.
It’s more likely that you’re breaking out simply because a food you're consuming promotes acne in your body.
Signs That it Is a Purge
On the other hand, if you have started using a new skincare product that promotes cell turnover--like a vitamin C serum--you may be experiencing a purge. A good clue here is to look at your skin overall. If it looks generally healthy (aside from the blemishes), chances are you’re purging and not having a negative reaction to the product.
If you’re purging, these breakouts will typically go away quickly: usually in a month or less. And they’ll probably be in the same spots you’ve already been breaking out.
What to Do if Your Skin is Purging
If your skin is purging, congratulations! You’re well on your way to clear skin. Like getting nice and sweaty at the gym, this may not be the most glamorous part of your glow-up, but it will result in something great.
To care for your purging skin while it does its thing, the key is to be gentle. This is not the time to use harsh chemical or physical exfoliants. Keep your skin hydrated with an acne safe moisturizer. And do not touch or pick at your blemishes--unless you’d like scars.
To keep things in check, you may want to ease into any products that are promoting your purge. Use them once or twice per week at first. Then gradually progress from there. Also, don’t introduce two new products at once. Wait at least a month in between each product.
This is also the time to support your skin with a healthy diet, regular exercise and lots of stress reduction. On the other end of your purge, you’ll come out with the glowiest skin yet.
A Gentle Way to Clear Skin
Skin purging may not be fun, but sometimes it’s necessary to get the skin results you’re craving. But even if you do experience a little bit of breaking out, it doesn’t have to be over the top.
You can keep things under control by using a product that promotes cell turnover, but is gentle and nourishing at the same time. For this, our Cryo-C Facial Glow Serum is an excellent choice.
Cryo-C has high-quality Vitamin C that fights blemishes. At the same time, date seed extract and sea buckthorn bathe your skin in nourishing antioxidants and protective phytosterols. It’s an easy way to love on your skin as it goes through this transition.
We suggest you grab a bottle today to get your glow on! And remember--even through the purge phase--you’re beautiful exactly as you are.
Mila (pronounced 'mee-luh') is mother of three, wife, and founder of Wild Ice, an all-natural cold-preserved skincare line dedicated to bringing the best of care to women everywhere.
I can’t say enough about all the Wild Ice products! The toner is light and refreshing and is the perfect addition to my skin routine. I highly recommend all her products if you are craving beautiful skin!
Started this 4 step set 2 weeks ago and was hooked after the 1st day. Can't wait to post my 6 week progress photo. With each use I keep changing my mind to which one is my favorite. I look forward every morning and evening to the fresh feel of washing and moisturizing my face. Thank you Mila for this beautiful product.
I have used several cleansers over the years and since trying the B-Meltee, I always come back to this product. It is a clean fragrance as well as a clean feeling without drying out my skin. I would recommend this product to all ages and all skin types. It will not disappoint, I promise.
I began using the cryo- C about six weeks ago and my skin has never looked better!
I began using the cryo- C about six weeks ago and my skin has never looked better! The first thing you notice is how wonderful it smells, the second thing you notice is how it glides on and gives you an instant glow, and the next thing you notice overtime is that it provides a permanent dewy glow with diminished discoloration‘s and lines! I love love love this product! I’m 58❤️
Best products ever - and that’s from a very picky user!
This is truly the best system I’ve ever used. My skin is healthier - I’ve always had dry skin and finally it feels hydrated and the difference is visible. It even stayed hydrated feeling and looking on a 5 day ski trip, which always especially drys out my face. I’ve also had redness on my cheeks and that is slowly but noticeably decreasing. I gave wild ice to my daughters and best friend for Christmas as well and they are so happy with it and agree it’s a game changer for our skin. Thank you!
This class was such a great experience. Mila explains how the muscles in your face work and how to use her products to enhance your face and glow. I had so much fun as this class and I would definitely go to another one!
This cleanser is light and refreshing, but does the heavy lifting of cleaning my face daily! I love how refreshed my face feels afterward- not dry or tight; just soft and clean! I have used Mila’s 4 step program for a year now and my skin has never looked better! I’m absolutely obsessed with each step and the benefits my skin has gotten from them. Clear, glowing, soft skin!
The entire Wild Ice line of products are what my skin responds to over any other product I've ever used. I do not hesitate to put any new Wild Ice product on my skin knowing I can trust the ingredients to do the job well. Just smelling the freshness of the products is a daily pleasure. And look no further than Mila's gorgeous skin for inspiration :)