Skin Purging from Vitamin C – What You Need to Know

Skin Purging from Vitamin C - What You Need to Know
Skin Purging from Vitamin C – What You Need to Know

Vitamin C can cause skin purging. Vitamin C is an active ingredient that is known to boost collagen production in the skin and encourages skin cell regeneration. 

And, anything that increases the rate at which your skin cells regenerate (turnover) can cause skin purging. 

How Does Vitamin C Cause Skin Purging

Vitamin C increases collagen production and promotes skin cell regeneration at a faster rate. This pushes impurities to the surface of the skin faster than normal, which causes the signs of purging. 

Skin purging occurs when preexisting clogs, oils, and other debris from the lower layers of the skin rise to the surface faster rather than gradually. 

This happens when the layers of the skin are sloughed off faster than normal (as a result of active ingredients like Vitamin C that speed up this process). As the layers of the skin are exfoliated and new skin is regenerated, the impurities move to the surface of the skin with the dead skin cells. 

When using Vitamin C it’s essential to use a good moisturizer, click here to learn more.

What Does A Vitamin C Skin Purge Look Like 

A skin purge by Vitamin C will involve “pimples” popping up over your skin where you have just after you have started using the ingredient in your skincare routine. 

Generally, these pimples will look like whiteheads or blackheads and should not be red-looking and angry. 

Three indications that your skin is purging include:

  1. Breakouts from a purge occur in your problem zones (areas where you already have acne breakouts)
  2. Breakouts from a purge will clear up within 4-6 weeks
  3. You notice that the breakout started right after starting Vitamin C 

Related Article – Best Vitamin C Soaps -Benefits, Side Effects & How to Use 

Video: What Ingredients Cause Purge. Purging or Breaking Out?

What Concentrations Of Vitamin C Causes Purging

Any concentration of Vitamin C can cause purging if it is a new addition to your skincare routine. 

Vitamin C is an active ingredient that changes how your skin cycle progresses (it speeds it up). Because everyone’s skin is different, has different levels of impurities and clogged pores, and will ultimately react differently, there is no telling whose skin will react to what concentrations of Vitamin C. 

Some people use strong concentrations of Vitamin C and do not purge at all, while some purge with even the lowest concentrations. 

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How Long Does A Vitamin C Purge Last

Skin purging by Vitamin C should not last more than 4-6 weeks or for one skin cycle. 

If purging lasts longer than 6 weeks, it is time to see your dermatologist. 

You will need to discuss whether you should change your frequency, concentration, or formulation, or whether you need to stop using Vitamin C altogether. 

Can You Stop a Vitamin C Skin Purge

Once purging has begun, you can stop it by stopping the use of Vitamin C, but this is not recommended. 

If you stop using Vitamin C at the first signs of purging, you see a reduction in the pimples that are already at the surface of your skin.

However, you will be left with all the other impurities and clogs still in your skin layers. Those impurities and clogs will rise to the surface anyway but will take longer. Your skin will be stuck in that “breakout phase” for longer than is necessary. 

If you keep using Vitamin C, your skin will continue to regenerate at an increased rate, getting rid of the impurities faster. 

Can You Prevent a Vitamin C Skin Purge

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent your skin from purging when starting Vitamin C. 

Skin purging cannot truly be anticipated. Your skin may purge or it may not. 

The best way to try and control how your skin reacts is to:

  • Start with low concentrations.
  • Use the ingredient weekly and gradually until you can build up to daily use.
  • Do not overuse it.
  • Keep your skin clean.
  • Keep track of the other products you are using to avoid bad reactions.
  • Always use sunscreen to avoid sun damage which always makes everything worse.
  • Patch test! This is the holy grail of topical treatments. Always do a patch test first to see how your skin will react. 

Related Articles:

Skin Purging from Salicylic Acid: How to Spot & Treat


Vitamin C for Skin: Uses, Benefits, Risks 

Is Your Skin Purging or Breaking Out? How to Tell the Difference (and What to Do If You Can’t) 

What Is Skin Purging, How Do You Treat It? We Got A Dermatologist To Dish All The Deets 

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