9 Ways to... Prevent Congestion
Skin feeling bumpy and looking a little lacklustre at the moment? It’s probably down to some congestion - when oil and dead skin cells get trapped in the pore leading to blackheads and closed comedones (those impossible to squeeze little white or skin coloured pimples). Congestion is so common and can happen to any skin type, so don’t panic if you’re experiencing it now and again. With the right product swaps and lifestyle tweaks, it’s easy to manage and prevent.
1. Use the right products
It sounds obvious but using products that aren’t suitable for your skin can lead to a whole host of issues. If you’re naturally oily but layering on thick creams and heavy oils, these can get trapped in the pores and lead to congestion. Conversely, if you’re on the drier side and not giving your skin enough nourishment, this can impair the barrier function which leads to compromised skin that’s more likely to break out and get inflamed. If you’re not sure if your routine is working for you, ask your therapist, or book in for our online Spring Clean Your Beauty Routine service so we can take a look in your bathroom cabinet and decipher what’s working, and what needs to go.
2. Hydrate and repair
Great skin health begins with hydration and a strong barrier. When we are dehydrated, our skin produces more of its oil and sebum to lubricate the skin and replenish lost moisture. If this oil gets clogged in the pores, it can create more blackheads, closed comedones and even deeper more cystic breakouts if there are bacteria present in the skin.
To remedy this, before reaching for any stripping exfoliators and masks, spend some time hydrating the skin with hyaluronic acid and rebuilding the barrier too and you might see a difference in congestion without the need for more intensive products that could dehydrate the skin further.
3. Look within
Your skin is a mirror of within. Internal imbalances can reveal themselves in the form of congested skin. Sugar intake, gut health issues, alcohol consumption, stress levels, and smoking can all lead to congestion so if you’re skin isn’t behaving as usual there might be something internal going on. Our handy face map shows common causes of congestion and is a useful tool to help with home skin analysis.
4. Hygiene is key
Get religious about cleaning your makeup brushes, pillowcases, face towels, phones, hands - anything that’s in regular contact with your face. In the clinic, we can sometimes tell which side a client sleeps on or takes phone calls by the level of congestion! Cleanse your face thoroughly morning and evening and focus on the areas where you experience more congestion to help deeply clean it and remove all that debris before it causes trouble.
5. Book in for a treatment
Sometimes your skin needs some professional help to clear itself. At the clinic, we can safely and hygienically extract any congestion, as well as using medical-grade resurfacers that will reach deep into the pore and scoop out blocked oil. We’ll also focus on deep hydration, barrier repair, and stimulation which all contribute to healthier, better-behaved skin. Our favourite treatments for congestion are:
Our two-phase acne facial targets breakouts, blackheads and oiliness with low level resurfacers, extractions and anti-inflammatory techniques.
Harnessing the power of ClearSkin, a non-ablative laser addresses all forms of acne, congestion and the appearance of acne scars.
6. Don't squeeze
We know it’s tempting, but avoid squeezing the skin as much as possible. Incorrect extractions can push the debris deeper into the skin, leading to inflamed breakouts, cause scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and spread bacteria which will cause more congestion. When you feel the need to squeeze, whack on a clay mask or spot treatment instead.
7. Protect the skin
Environmental stressors can cause the skin to become inflamed and impaired so make sure you’re protecting your skin from the elements. Pollution not only causes inflammation but particulates can actually reach into the pores and congest the skin. Use antioxidants to fight this pollution and cleanse regularly to remove particulates. Don’t skip the SPF either as this will help to reduce inflammation levels and keep your barrier level intact.
8. Stimulate the skin
The lymph system is connected through silk-fine threads that rest just under the surface of the skin.
They transport fluid that is composed of white blood cells, waste material, fats from the cells digestive system, and interstitial fluid which is the plasma surrounding every organ of the skin. They also remove waste and fight bacteria. A sluggish lymph system can result in toxins gathering up in the skin and causing congestion and breakouts. Stimulate your lymph system with light sweeping massage movements, body brushing and regular exercise.
9. Exfoliate regularly
Exfoliation will remove excess dead skin cells that can clog pores and cause breakouts. Choose an exfoliator that works with your skin. Oily skin loves salicylic acid, dry and more sensitive skins are better suited to AHAs or enzymatic formulations.