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Clarifying Skin Care vs. Purifying Skin Care

Clarifying Skin Care vs. Purifying Skin Care

Skin care comes with many labels — clarifying, purifying, exfoliating, cleansing and more.

With so many options, how can you know which one is right for you?

One way is to schedule an appointment with a skin care professional who can help guide you toward the right skin care products. If you’re going it alone, understanding the terminology can be a big step toward helping you choose products that truly work for you. 

Is there a difference between clarifying skin care and purifying skin care? Let’s discuss.

What does clarifying mean?

When you see the word “clarifying” on a skin care product, what is it referring to? 

When we say “clarifying” at Skin Pharm, we’re referring to a product that can help remove impurities from the skin. Let’s use our Crystal Clear clarifying pads as an example. 

Our Crystal Clear clarifying pads are made with ingredients that can help break down buildup on the skin’s surface. They combine 2% salicylic acid with glycolic and lactic acids to exfoliate, clear up excess oil, smooth the skin and support natural collagen production.

What are the benefits of clarifying skin care?

There are plenty of benefits that can come with using clarifying skin care products

Here are just a few...


If you’re dealing with dark spots, clarifying skin care products may be able to slowly reduce their appearance over time. Ingredients like salicylic acid and AHAs can clear away dead skin, helping to slowly minimize your area of concern.


Besides reducing the appearance of dark spots, clarifying skin care products can help make your skin more radiant overall. This is again thanks to their exfoliating abilities, which help keep dead skin cell buildup from covering up your glow.


One of the most apparent benefits of using products meant to clarify the skin is their ability to fight breakouts. Ingredients like salicylic acid can help break down oils, reducing the amount of buildup on the skin that could clog the pores and lead to blemishes.


With regular use, clarifying skin care products can help to tighten the appearance of pores, which can help the skin look more even overall. This is because they can penetrate the pores to remove any packed-in debris, helping them to fully close and leaving the skin looking more smooth and youthful. 

Clarifying vs. purifying — what’s the difference?

In most cases, clarifying and purifying mean the same thing. Both categories of skin care products focus on removing impurities from the skin, cleaning out and opening the pores and revealing the clearest, most “pure” skin yet. 

If you’re confused between clarifying and purifying, check the labels. Usually, the ingredients list can help you make the most appropriate decision for your skin’s specific concerns. 

Are clarifying skin care products difficult to use?

Like most skin care products, clarifying skin care products aren’t difficult to use as long as you know how to apply them appropriately. Because of how they work, many of them may even be more user-friendly than other products. Our Crystal Clear clarifying pads, for example, just need to be swiped over freshly cleansed skin.

Best of all, many clarifying skin care products are safe for nearly anyone. Although those with dry skin or skin that isn’t prone to breakouts may not need to use them nearly as frequently, they can still provide plenty of benefits. 

If you have sensitive skin, make sure to patch-test any new products you use — even clarifying products. 

If you have questions, we recommend scheduling a skin care consultation so that you can go over your concerns with an advanced care provider. They can help you review your routine, identify which products to use and show you the best order in which to use them.

Here are a few clarifying skin care tips.

After you’ve used your clarifying skin care products, are there any other products you should finish up with?

Clarifying skin care products can be very effective, leaving your pores clean and prepped for other products. However, clarifying products can also reveal fresh, new skin — skin that needs to be properly moisturized as it adjusts to the environment.

That’s why following your clarifying skin care products with a supportive moisturizer is essential. Your skin needs hydration to protect and support its moisture barrier, and it’s up to you to give it that. 

Before you apply your moisturizer, though, consider using a targeted serum (like our Youth Serum). With your pores clear, the ingredients in the serum are far more able to penetrate deep into the skin. 

What about skin care treatments?

If your goal is to clarify your skin, don’t stop with skin care products. Other treatments can also help boost the clarifying qualities of your skin care routine.

For example, let’s look at microneedling

When you have a microneedling procedure done by a licensed skin care provider, it can help encourage new cell growth. You may notice results much quicker than with other treatments. The results can include reducing the visibility of scars, fine lines and wrinkles. It can also support your natural collagen to help your skin appear more firm, radiant and youthful. 

If you’re really looking for ways to even out your skin, you may want to consider Botox or filler (or a combination of both). 

Botox can help smooth out the skin, minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Meanwhile, filler works to plump up areas of lost volume, a function that can work in tandem with Botox. However, these treatments may take longer to set in, and you’ll likely need to repeat them every few months to keep up with the results. 

And finally, there are facials. We offer multiple types of facials at Skin Pharm, including chemical peels, BBL photofacials that harness the power of broadband light, Gold Infusion facials with a customized cocktail of antioxidant-rich ingredients and PRP that uses the power of your own platelet-rich plasma to speed up your skin’s healing process. 

Your skin care provider can help guide you toward the best option for your skin, but all of them can help you on the path toward clear, more “clarified” skin.

The bottom line...

Clarifying skin care or purifying skin care — which is the right choice? In many cases, the two terms can often be used interchangeably. 

The most important thing to consider is your specific skin and what it needs instead of focusing on hype words. If you’re looking for a way to remove excess oils and other impurities, ingredients like salicylic acid can help. 

A skin consult can help guide you toward your best options and help you sort through all the choices to find an effective skin care routine for your skin.


Salicylic acid treats acne vulgaris by suppressing AMPK/SREBP1 pathway in sebocytes | PubMed

Understanding the Epidermal Barrier in Healthy and Compromised Skin: Clinically Relevant Information for the Dermatology Practitioner | PMC

Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin | PMC


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