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I have heard people explain before that a lot of the time people will breakout when they first start using SA and they called it "purging". I am curious to know what this purging is like and if I am experiencing it or my skin just doesn't like SA and I should try to save my face while I can.

So, I've been using tea tree oil for the past many months with....ok success. I still was not happy enough with the results. In the past I've also tried BP which worked about the same as tea tree oil (I followed Dan's regimen). Yesterday, I had a huge breakout (still using tea tree oil) and I looked online at some products to try. I ended up getting:

Cetaphil Cleanser (which I already had, but started using again yesterday)

Clean and Clear Deep cleaning astringent .5% SA

St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub Invigorating

Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque

Olay Complete All day UV Moisturizer SPF 15

Clean and clear Advantage acne spot treatment

Now, I first want to mention that in the past I have tried SA cleansers in the past, but I also broke out then and was too afraid to continue for very long. Well, I thought maybe my skin has changed or it was just purging and it would look better after sticking to it. Well, same thing is happening. I am breaking out like crazy. I am breaking out into decent sized red inflamed zits, many puss filled. I really don't care if it is "purging", but I am afraid that my skin is just breaking out from the SA. I mean just hours later when I go into the bathroom and look at my skin, more zits have already appeared and those that I put SA on earlier closed up again and are filled with puss again.

Does this sound normal at all? Or should I abandon ship and try to save the little bit of face I have left?

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I really don't know about the "purging" but what I recommend is that you use a gentle cleanser, and save the SA for spot treatment.

Also its extremely important not to pick!

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I think the St. Ives scrub is one of the absolute worst things you can use on your face. It doesn't have beads, but crushed apricot pits with sharp edges. You can get micro abrasions from it.

SA is normally used with success for blackheads. If you have inflamed pimples, BP is the way to go.

SA cleansers really don't have much effect, since they are washed off. And it looks like the otner you have is only a 0.5% and that's pretty gentle. You could be sensitive to the SA or you could actually be sensitive to another ingredient. OR maybe it's just too much SA with the spot treatment. I think that product is a 5%. I only use a 2%.

Also, the Queen Helene is a sulfur based product, so be careful to watch your reaction to it.

I'm just not sure of what type of outbreak you have or what you're trying to control.

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I agree with Cecilia about the St Ives Scrub - it contains very harsh scrubbing beads and can damage and irritate the skin. If you get inflamed acne on a regular basis, I wouldn't use a scrub at all. Even gentle scrubs can flare up inflamed acne.

It also looks like many of your producting may be harsh and drying to the skin, which can flare up existing acne lesions. I'm guessing that the astingent has a lot of alcohol in it? That can overdry and irritate your skin. The Queen Helene Mask is good for overnight spot-treating or as a once a week mask, but it too can dry your skin if you use it too often or with other productst that dry out your skin

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I'd like to agree on St. Ives scrub being awful. I used it a lot during high school to no avail. Once I cut out scrubs my skin got so much better.

I've never heard of 'purging' from salicylic acid. Maybe it's just your skin reacting to it, and you will soon adjust?

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