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How to Minimise Retinol Purging

by Haruka Jifuku 13 Dec 2023 0 Comments

How to Minimise Retinol Purging

How to Minimise Retinol Purging

Welcome to our Retinol Guide Part 2, where we address a common question about retinol use: purging! If you are new to retinol and notice skin irritation and increased breakouts, it could be a sign that retinol is exerting its power to renew the skin. Join us as we guide you through understanding what retinol purging is and how to minimise irritation for healthier skin.

What is Purging?

Purging" is a phenomenon that may occur when using certain skincare ingredients, including retinol. Purging is not an adverse reaction to the product; instead, it is a temporary and often necessary phase as the skin adjusts to the active ingredients. 

What does it look like?

  • Increased Breakouts

Purging can lead to an initial increase in the number of breakouts. This is because retinol accelerates cell turnover, pushing existing clogged pores to the surface. As a result, pre-existing acne may surface more quickly than it would without the retinol.

  • Redness and Irritation

Retinol can be irritating to the skin, especially when you first start using it. You may experience redness, dryness, and peeling as your skin adjusts to the retinol.

  • Flakiness and Peeling

Retinol promotes the shedding of old skin cells to make way for new ones. This can lead to flakiness and peeling, particularly in areas where you have applied the retinol.

  • Sensitivity

Your skin may become more sensitive than usual during the purging phase. It's important to use a gentle cleanser and moisturiser and to avoid harsh or abrasive products while your skin is adjusting.

Duration of Purging

The duration of the purging phase caused by retinol can vary from person to person. Typically, purging lasts for a few weeks to a couple of months. The skin's adjustment period is influenced by factors such as the individual's skin type, the concentration of retinol used, and the frequency of application.

  1. Initial Weeks

The first few weeks of retinol use may trigger an increase in breakouts as the skin begins to shed old cells and purge impurities. This is a common reaction during the adaptation period.

  1. Weeks to Months

For many individuals, the purging phase starts to subside after the initial few weeks. However, it can persist for several weeks to a couple of months as the skin continues to adjust to the retinol.

  1. Individual Variation

Some people may experience a shorter or longer purging period based on their skin's response. Factors such as the severity of acne or congestion, the specific retinol product used, and individual skin sensitivity can influence the duration.

Can Everyone Experience Purging?

While not everyone will experience purging, it is a possibility, especially for those using retinol for the first time or increasing the concentration of their retinol product. Individuals with acne-prone or congested skin may be more prone to purging.

What to Do if Your Skin Purges Due to Retinol

  1. Be Patient

Purging is typically a temporary phase, and your skin may improve once it adjusts to the retinol. It usually lasts a few weeks to a couple of months.

  1. Continue Use, but Adjust Frequency

If the purging is mild, consider continuing with the retinol but reduce the frequency of use. This allows your skin to adapt more gradually.

  1. Try the Sandwich Method

The sandwich method for using retinol helps minimise potential skin irritation by applying a layer of moisturiser before and after the application of retinol. Start by applying a moisturiser to clean skin then follow with the retinol application. After allowing the retinol to absorb, apply another layer of moisturiser to create a protective barrier. This technique helps mitigate dryness and sensitivity often associated with retinol use.

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  1. Choose Soothing and Calming Ingredients

Using calming ingredients can help alleviate these side effects and make the retinol adjustment period more manageable.

Hyaluronic Acid: This ingredient helps hydrate the skin by attracting and retaining water. It can improve the skin's moisture content and reduce dryness and flakiness.

Aloe Vera: Known for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera can provide relief to irritated skin. It also helps hydrate and cool the skin.

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HARUHARU WONDER Black Rice Hyaluronic Anti-Wrinkle Serum (50ml)

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Cenrella Asiatica: Enriched with Asiaticoside, Madecassoside, and Asiatic acid, Centella Asiatica possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties that promote wound healing, reduce redness, and enhance collagen production.

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Ceramides: These are lipid molecules that help strengthen the skin barrier. Using a moisturiser containing ceramides can enhance the skin's natural protective barrier and reduce moisture loss.

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NACIFIC Uyu Cream Toner (150ml)

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Panthenol (Vitamin B5): Panthenol is a moisturising and soothing ingredient that can help alleviate dryness and irritation.

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ETUDE HOUSE Soon Jung 2x Barrier Intensive Cream (60ml)

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  1. Consider Applying Spot Treatment

You can also consider incorporating gentle spot treatment to the irritated area to reduce irritation and redness. Choose products with ingredients that calm and soothe the skin to reduce redness and inflammation, providing relief to the affected areas.

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COSRX Centella Blemish Cream (30g)

COSRX Centella Blemish Cream is a calming treatment that effectively addresses irritated and dehydrated skin, fading acne marks. It controls excess oil, unclogs pores, and soothes stressed skin with Centella and Tea Tree Leaf, preventing future breakouts and moisture loss.

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