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Skin purging: Do spots get worse before they get better?

We answer the most common questions about skin purging and Effaclar Duo+ If you have spots, blemishes and acne-prone skin, you may be apprehensive before starting a new treatment. Questions about skin purging - a term used to describe breakouts becoming worse before they get better - are typed into search engines around 1,500 times each month. So what exactly is skin purging, when does it happen and is it something to worry about?

What is skin purging?

Skin purging is a term used to describe the skin reacting to an acne treatment that clears the pores. This could be blackheads, comedones (or whiteheads) coming to the surface and breakouts temporarily becoming worse in localised areas.

Does skin purging always happen with acne treatments?

In most cases, yes. Skin purging is a normal reaction to an acne treatment that contains exfoliating ingredients such as salicylic acid. Ingredients such as this clear both the surface of the dermis and deeper inside the pore, so some form of skin purging is to be expected. If this is the first time you have used an acne treatment, you are more likely to experience skin purging as your pores will be more congested.

How long does skin purging last?

Skin purging usually lasts for approximately four to six weeks after starting a new treatment. After this point, the skin begins to heal and you may want to consider moving on from a treatment suited to active acne, to one designed to maintain your skin.

What is the difference between skin purging and a reaction?

Skin purging will always appear in a localised area and in the same place of the original acne breakout. If you find that an acne treatment starts to cause dryness, flaking and itching in other areas of the face, you should stop using it immediately. This is a reaction and not caused by purging. You should then try to calm the skin and reduce irritation with a soothing moisturiser such as La Roche-Posay's Toleriane Ultra Cream for sensitive skin or a Thermal Spring Water spray.

What about La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+? Does this cause skin purging?

Effaclar Duo+ targets active acne with a comprehensive formula. The main ingredients are LHA and salicylic acid that exfoliate the skin while clearing sebum from the top layer and deeper within the pore. This action can cause some skin purging especially if this is the first active acne treatment you have used and there is more congestion to clear away.

Effaclar Duo+ is also cleverly formulated to minimise irritation thanks to two patented ingredients: Aqua Posae Filiformis rebalances the skin's delicate microbiome and calms inflammation, and ProceradTM prevents hyperpigmentation marks from appearing.

What products work well with Effaclar Duo+?

We recommend starting your acne skincare routine with Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel, a foaming facial wash for oily blemish-prone skin. Apply each morning and evening to lift away dirt, grime and sebum from the skin's surface without disrupting its delicate balance. Follow this with a micro-exfoliant astringent lotion such as Effaclar Clarifying Lotion. This helps to eliminate remaining excess oil, unblock pores and visibly reduce their size. Your final step will be Effaclar Duo+ that will work to clear active acne in the skin.

Discover the full Effaclar skincare range at

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