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  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

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Skin purging vs. breaking out

New year, same skin goals? Read this.

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar
by Stephanie Papanikolas
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 3 min read
Gummy snake wrapper around curology bottle
Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar
by Stephanie Papanikolas
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 3 min read
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

The surprising reason why you are breaking out so bad when switching to a new skincare product: sometimes our skin has to get worse before it can get better. On the other hand, subpar ingredients can make breakouts much worse. So when is patience a virtue, and when is it a dead end? Here’s how to tell the difference between a skin purge and a bad breakout.

How to tell if it’s a skin purge or a breakout

To tell if your new skincare product may be breaking you out, see if the ingredients pass the CosDNA test. If any of the ingredients in your product rank as a 3 or higher for acne, you’re likely experiencing a breakout.

Purging happens when certain prescription-strength acne treatments unclog pores and bring things to the surface. Basically, ingredients like tretinoin can cause a breakout because of the way they target clogged pores and increase skin cell turnover.

Skin purging lasts about 6–8 weeks. We’ve talked in-depth about what to do if your skin is purging in a previous blog, so check that out if you’re looking for more tips on how to cope with the purge.

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The skincare merry-go-round

We’ve all been there: you try a new skincare product for your acne. The first few times you try it, you fall in love — a relaxing floral scent, a satisfying lather. But soon your acne is worse — much worse — and you know your new favorite skin product is to blame. So you stop using it, and look for some other miracle in a bottle. If this sounds familiar, you might not be doing your wallet — or your face — any favors.

Because everyone’s skin is unique, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to breakouts. Even high-end skincare products can cause bad breakouts if they contain irritating and pore-clogging ingredients, so what works for one person might not work for you. That’s where custom skincare can make all the difference.

Curology’s got your back

If your New Year’s resolution is to get better skin, it’s time to stop looking for your new favorite horsey and to ditch the zit carousel once and for all. Dermatologist-led skincare is proven to be more effective than over-the-counter products, and now prescription-strength ingredients are more affordable and accessible than ever with Curology.

Curology members are paired with one of our licensed medical providers who can prescribe you a customized cream with a mix of 3 active ingredients chosen for your unique skin needs. You can also join our Facebook group so that, no matter where you are in your skincare journey, you’re never alone. Sign up for a free month of Curology and just pay $4.95 (plus tax) to cover the cost of shipping and handling on your first bottle of custom cream or the complete Curology set.

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas

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