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I always hear a lot of purging when you try certain products. I just have a couple problems with that, or questions:

1- Why on some products does it say that your skin will get worse because of purging, and others say it'll get worse because your skin needs time to get used to it? Those are two different things.

2- Why doesn't your skin "purge" using certain products? I've heard of people getting clearer and clearer skin, not always worse first. Like, natural products.

Is purging a myth? Or rather, what IS it?

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Not all medication have a purging stage. It depends on the mechanism of action of the medication.

So far I only know that retinoids cause a inital breakout. In this case, it's because retinoids result in rapid cell turnover, meaning that your skin cells are shed more quickly than before. Since the formation of acne begins deep in the skin and takes a few weeks to reach the surface, retinoids hasten this process and results in the emergence of lesions to the surface. I guess this is what you call the purging stage.

Other medication like antibiotics and azelaic acid do not work the same way. They exert a antibacterial effect that affects both the active acne as well as the ones deep in the skin, without causing the deep ones to 'mature' more quickly. So it is unlikely to see a purging stage in these products.

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