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Does Niacinamide Cause Skin Purging?


Have you ever started using a promising new skincare product, only to end up with irritated skin? It’s happened to the best of us. We get a highly rated product, and within days, our face is spotted with blemishes and dry patches.

If your product contains certain ingredients, don’t throw it out just yet. Your breakouts could actually be skin purging, which is part of the skincare process. There’s a long list of products that can instigate a purge, but is Niacinamide one of them? Read on to find out and learn how to handle a purge. 

What Is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 and can be found naturally in several fruits and vegetables. Also called Nicotinamide, Niacinamide is a necessary cog in the wheel of bodily function. Your body needs Niacinamide to keep your skin and hair healthy.

However, Niacinamide doesn’t stick around in the body for long. Because of this, it’s important to constantly replenish your Niacinamide supply. Although you can do this through dietary sources, applying topical Niacinamide is the only way to ensure that Vitamin B makes it into your skin.

Niacinamide is pretty much a one-stop-shop for all things clear and glowing skin. This one little ingredient hydrates your skin, reduces oil production, targets discoloration and hyperpigmentation, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and can even protect your skin against sun damage.

Dermatologists sometimes prescribe Niacinamide in clinical concentrations. However, it is also available in many over-the-counter skincare products, such as our HydraFirm + Brightening Serum. This serum uses Niacinamide to firm and brighten skin for an overall more youthful appearance. 

What Is Skin Purging?

Skin purging tends to happen when you use an ingredient that increases skin cell turnover rate, like a Retinoid or exfoliating acid. Essentially, it’s a fancy name for a necessary set of breakouts.

But wait, aren’t skincare products supposed to prevent breakouts?

Well, yes — in the long run. These products are designed to clear out your skin, and a lot of the time, this means digging out some gunk that’s hidden deep in your skin. We’re talking layers of sebum, dirt, dead skin cells and buildup.

As the gunk rises to the surface of your skin, it might present as pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, and patches of visibly dry skin. We know this might be concerning, but hang in there — it gets better.

We know no one really wants to have a giant breakout, but skin purging is part of the process. Once the gunk is finally out of your skin, you’ll have that beautiful skin you’ve been dreaming of. 

Can Niacinamide Cause Skin Purging?

The short answer is no; Niacinamide generally does not cause skin purging. Skin purging is usually a result of products that increase your cell turnover rate, and Niacinamide does not do this.

In fact, Niacinamide is a fairly mild skincare ingredient that generally has very few side effects. Even the most sensitive skin typically responds very well to it.

In concentrated doses, Niacinamide may cause dryness and irritation. If you experience this, contact your dermatologist. You may need to ease the product into your skincare routine or try a lower concentration formula. However, you should not see a higher than average amount of blemishes.

Niacinamide works by reducing oil production and soothing irritation. Since the irritated blemishes featured in a skin purge are typically the result of overactive oil glands, Niacinamide would theoretically reduce the symptoms of a purge, not exacerbate them.

Check the label if you experience purge-like signs because of a new skincare product. Chances are, there’s a Retinoid or other Hydroxy Acid in the ingredients list. These ingredients are typically the culprits of a classic skin purge. 

How Can I Deal With a Skin Purge? 

Skin purges are no fun. We understand if you’re nervous about starting a skincare product because of the impending purge.

Luckily, we have a guide of tried-and-true ways to have a lighter, easier purge.

Be Patient

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your purge won’t be over in one, either. Your product needs time to dig out all of the impurities in your skin.

A typical purge lasts about as long as one skin cycle, which is four to six weeks, depending on your skin. Once that first skin cycle is over, your purge pimples should ease up, and you should start to notice the clarifying and brightening benefits of your new product.

The good thing about purge-related pimples is that they don’t last long. Since they’re just evidence of impurities rising to the surface of your skin, they leave just as fast as they come up.

In the meantime, keep using your product. You might be tempted to stop using it, but continuing the product will get you through your purge faster. You’ll also see those good results at the end.

Ease In

Ease each new product into your skincare routine to avoid a major reaction. This is especially true for products containing Retinoids or exfoliating acids. Strong ingredients can cause dryness and irritation if you jump into nightly use.

Instead, start off using your new product every other night or even twice a week if you have extremely sensitive skin. As your skin adjusts, slowly build up to nightly use.

You may still experience light irritation as the product begins working its magic, but building up to regular use should help buffer your purge experience.

Check Your Skincare Products

To keep your skin healthy throughout your purge, make sure to strip down to a gentle and hydrating skincare routine. This routine should include a gentle cleanser such as our Even Tone Gentle Gel Cleanser, which combines Niacinamide with soothing ingredients to remove dirt and makeup gently.

You can even introduce products to help ease the effects of your purge. For instance, combining a purge-inducing product with a soothing agent may help you get through your purge as quickly as possible.

We recommend our Retinol Rapid Repair & Dark Spot Treatment. This product combines Retinol (which can spark a skin purge) with Niacinamide for a quick and efficient purge experience.

Avoid Irritants

Irritants can exacerbate the signs of a purge. Harsh skincare products, excessive friction and sun damage can irritate pimples, blemishes and dryness. Try to remove as many irritants as possible during your purge to mitigate this.

We recommend sticking with gentle skincare products and staying away from mechanical exfoliators and scrubbing motions. You should also wear sunscreen to protect against sun damage and use lukewarm water when washing your face and showering to avoid drying your skin out.

And remember, this is only for a couple of months. Your skincare routine can return to normal once your purge is over.

Hands Off

We know it’s all too satisfying to pop a tempting whitehead. However, you need to leave your pimples alone while your skin is purging itself.

Popping your pimples can introduce blemish-causing bacteria to your skin, which can begin the cycle all over and extend the length of your purge. Even using pimple-popping tools can have negative effects.

You also need to avoid touching your face in general. Nervous tics like rubbing your chin, resting your forehead in your hands, and rubbing your nose can lead to excess blemishes and interrupt your purge.

Trust the process. Before long, your pimples will fade, and you should have more even-toned, beautiful skin.

Contact Your Dermatologist

If at any point you begin to suspect that your skin is actually reacting to a product, contact your dermatologist right away. If your skin is reacting, your dermatologist can give you personalized advice on how to move forward and what, if any, alternate products to use.

Some signs might indicate a reaction rather than a purge.

If you notice blemishes and dry patches in new areas of skin or unusual patterns, that could be cause for concern. You should also contact your dermatologist if your skin purging symptoms extend beyond six weeks. 

In Conclusion

Skin purging is a very real thing, but you should be safe if you’re using Niacinamide. Niacinamide doesn’t increase cell turnover, so it shouldn’t spark a skin purge.

If you are experiencing a purge, check your product to make sure there aren’t some hidden retinoids or exfoliating acids in the ingredients list. There are a few things you can do to mitigate the symptoms of a skin purge, but ultimately you have to trust the process.

If you have any concerns, it doesn’t hurt to contact your dermatologist for expert advice. If you’re concerned about a product sparking a purge, you can also schedule a virtual consultation with one of our Licensed Aestheticians. We love to help our skincare fam achieve their best results!

By: Tiesha Bridges Licensed Aesthetician & Customer
Service Representative