If you have been searching for a new hydrating product to boost your skin’s hydration levels, you may have come across hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic acid is a popular ingredient found in many skincare products, from anti-aging serums to even the most basic cleansers.
However, as with many popular ingredients, the question of whether hyaluronic acid causes purging is frequently asked.
Therefore, in this article, we’ll discuss what exactly purging is and how it does or does not relate to using hyaluronic acid.
Does Hyaluronic Acid Cause the Skin to Purge?
No, hyaluronic acid won’t cause the skin to purge.
If you have been using a skincare product that contains hyaluronic acid as a main active ingredient and are experiencing more frequent breakouts than usual, this does not mean that the ingredient is causing a purge.
However, this occurrence could be linked to several other things, including using too much hyaluronic acid, using the product in a wrong way, or your skin potentially disagreeing with other ingredients also present in the product you are using.
What is Hyaluronic Acid Used for in Skincare?
Hyaluronic acid can be found in almost all skincare products in different forms, and it’s a popular ingredient due to its ability to hydrate the skin by holding on to moisture.
This, in turn, makes the skin look plump, soft, glowy, and can even make fine lines and wrinkles look softer and appear less visible.
What is Purging?
Purging is a term used to define a reaction to an active ingredient that is increasing the turnover rate of the skin cells.
This reaction usually manifests itself as mild to moderate breakouts, and the ingredients that cause the skin to purge are exfoliating acids such as salicylic, mandelic, and glycolic acid, as well as retinoids.
It’s worth mentioning that starting to use these ingredients doesn’t always mean your skin will purge; however, most times, it does happen, and this means that the products are working.
Additionally, as I already mentioned above, a purge doesn’t necessarily mean you will experience severe breakouts, and it can sometimes manifest itself as small pimples in certain areas of the skin.
People who are likely to experience a more moderate purge are those who already have active breakouts when starting to use an ingredient that will increase cellular turnover.
As cellular turnover speeds up, the skin will start to shed dead skin cells faster than average, and all existing clogs inside the pores will turn up to the surface as pimples at the same time, making the purge look scarier than it is.
How Can You Tell if Hyaluronic Acid is Causing a Purge?
If you have been using a product with hyaluronic acid and are noticing more frequent breakouts, this doesn’t necessarily indicate that it’s the hyaluronic acid causing purging on its own.
The most important thing to do is to eliminate other potential triggers, so if you have just started using a brand new hyaluronic acid product and your skin started breaking out, you need to go through the ingredient list and see if there are other purge-inducing ingredients such as salicylic acid also present in the product.
On the other hand, if you are experiencing breakouts along with dry, flaky skin or itchiness and irritation, this is a clear indication that there is an issue there, and it’s best to stop using the product until you figure out what the issue might be.
Small bumps on the skin that look like a rash are often mistaken for breakouts induced by a purge but are actually closer to an allergic reaction caused by inflammation in the skin.
As I already mentioned above, you might be using hyaluronic acid in a wrong way, and it’s causing your skin to react and become inflamed, so the best thing to do is to go through the product description and pay attention to the “how to use” section.
As a rule of thumb, you should always apply hyaluronic acid on damp skin and immediately follow it up with a moisturizer to prevent the hyaluronic acid from drying out and evaporating, as this will likely leave your skin drier and more susceptible to irritation.
Lastly, if you just started using hyaluronic acid and it’s causing you dryness, irritation, and discomfort, it’s worth mentioning that the product might not agree well with other products in your skincare routine.
In this case, it’s best to either eliminate the hyaluronic acid product until your skin recovers or eliminate the other products in your skincare routine one by one until you figure out which one disagrees with your hyaluronic acid.
How can You Tell the Difference Between an Acne Breakout and a Purge?
The best way to tell the difference between an acne breakout and a purge is to know what you are using, how you are using it, and what this product/ingredient does for the skin.
If you are introducing a product that contains salicylic acid or a retinoid, you should expect a purge. It might not happen, but it is likely to, and knowing this will help you remain calm through the storm instead of panicking and not knowing what’s happening with your skin.
In addition to that, purges start suddenly and usually last for several days to a few weeks (depending on what you are using) but eventually you will start seeing clear signs that the condition is clearing and getting better.
Acne breakouts, on the other hand, start slowly, last longer, and there usually aren’t any signs to indicate that the condition is calming down on its own.
What are the Side Effects of too Much Hyaluronic Acid?
The only two side effects of using too much hyaluronic acid are dryness and irritation. This is because using too much hyaluronic acid means you are using it incorrectly.
Hyaluronic acid is naturally degraded every 24-48 hours by an enzyme called hyaluronidase. This means that using hyaluronic acid twice a day is already too much for the skin.
Therefore, if you are using a serum with hyaluronic acid as its main ingredient, you should only use a few drops of this every other day or no more than once a day.
On the other hand, hyaluronic acid is an ingredient that’s commonly found in many if not all skincare products, so there is a good chance you are already overusing it if your routine consists of several products that contain it.
Other than that, hyaluronic acid is a completely safe ingredient and is very unlikely to cause allergic reactions. Also, hyaluronic acid doesn’t trigger purging; it’s a safe ingredient for oily, acne-prone skins and usually plays well with many other skincare ingredients, hence why it’s found in almost all products.
What Are Some Benefits of Using Hyaluronic Acid in Skincare?
Hyaluronic acid does a great job at retaining moisture inside the skin cells by binding with water and holding it close to the surface.
In addition to that, and when used right, products containing hyaluronic acid can also help reduce inflammation on the surface of the skin, which does a great job of soothing irritated or red areas.
Hyaluronic acid does this by helping to keep your cells well hydrated and flexible so that they can move freely without any chance of becoming inflamed due to friction between the layers, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
In conclusion, does hyaluronic acid cause purging?
Hyaluronic does not cause purging and is safe to use in a variety of skincare products. It does a great job retaining moisture inside the skin cells by binding with water and holding it close to the surface.
In addition to that, products containing hyaluronic acid can also help reduce inflammation on the skin’s surface and soothe irritated areas by keeping the cells well hydrated and flexible to reduce friction between the layers.
If you begin to experience increased itching or dryness along with your outbreaks, this may indicate a different issue with your skincare routine, so keep an eye out for other signs before attributing purging to hyaluronic acid use.
My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.
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