understanding your skin
How to Care for Congested Skin
Congestion is the build-up of dead skin cells, sweat, impurities, and sebum in the pores. As this debris builds up, if it’s unable to leave the skin it becomes trapped and leads to blackheads, uneven skin texture and a dull appearance.
Congestion has many causes including dehydration, overproduction of oil, poor cleansing routine, or regularly touching the face.
How can I tell that I have congested skin?
Run your finger across your skin – does it feel bumpy and rough? Now, look at your skin in a brightly lit mirror- start with your nose and chin as these are commonly the most congested areas of the skin. Does it look dull? Are there raised imperfections and small blackheads? All these are signs that you’re experiencing some congestion.
What can I do?
There are so many easy life tweaks you can make to reduce congestion. First thing’s first, keep it clean. Anything that touches your face can transfer unwanted dirt and debris onto the skin which can lead to congestion. Be diligent with the washing of face cloths, towels, pillowcases, make up brushes and most importantly your hands. They touch many surfaces you wouldn’t rest your face on (tube poles being a prime example) so make sure to clean your hands before touching your skin.
Diet wise, try to avoid sugar as much as you can. High sugar intake increases the production of a hormone that can instruct the skin to produce more oil, increasing the risk of blockages. Simple carbohydrates such as white bread, rice, and pasta can also lead to sugar spikes. Drink lots of water too, not only will this hydrate your skin (reducing oiliness), it will also help the lymphatic system flush out all those lingering toxins that can lead to breakouts.
Swap squeezing time for masking time. Squeezing spots very rarely leads to good things and some ill-advised home extractions can result in scarring and even make the congestion worse as you can actually force the blockage even deeper into the pore. Whenever you feel the urge to squeeze, apply a clay mask instead. Clay acts as a sponge absorbing excess oil and drawing impurities out from the pores. Apply across the whole face, or pinpoint pimples if there are only a few.
How can treatments help?
At the clinic, we have all the technologies and techniques to reduce congestion and prevent further congestion from forming.
A deep thorough cleanse will leave the skin clean as a whistle and steam softens the blocked sebum, allowing for more gentle extraction. Our therapists are extremely experienced in performing extractions safely, without scarring, and they know which breakouts to leave alone!
We can use more powerful resurfacing agents at the clinic than you can at home to really buff away excess dead skin cells that may be lingering in pores. Peels containing salicylic acid are a great option for tackling congestion as they can go in and scoop the debris out of the pores and reduce any inflammation too.
If you wanted to take a more technology-led approach, ClearSkin laser is a fantastic advanced option for targeting persistent congestion and breakouts. It works by killing the p.acnes bacteria as well as reducing the sebum production.
Our top treatments for reducing congestion are:
What products support improvement?
Congestion free skin begins with an effective cleansing routine. Double cleanse in the evening (no excuses!) and take your time. The first cleanse is to remove the day - makeup, pollution, debris and the rest. The second cleanse is there to remove anything that held on the first time. If you use an active cleanser containing actives, only use this for your second cleanse as it will be wasted on the first. Our top pick for a first cleanse is Kahina Oil Cleanser which dissolves the day beautifully and is very comforting on the skin. For your second cleanse, Botane Skin Actives Whipped Cleanser is a milky – gel texture that deeply cleans without stripping the skin of its natural moisture.
Exfoliation is key. 2-3 times a week is ideal but keep an eye on your skin and dial it up and down as your skin needs. For very congested pores, choose an exfoliator containing salicylic acid as it can penetrate into the skin and scoop any debris. Synergie ReVeal is a combination of AHA’s and salicylic acid making it fantastic for overall skin texture. For more sensitive souls, Esse Toner Plus contains small amounts of lactic acid and salicylic acid to gently exfoliate the skin.
Don’t forget your vitamins! Vitamin A and B are important nutrients when it comes to tackling congestion. Vitamin A normalises skin cell turnover, preventing dead skin cells clogging pores. Vitamin A also reduces sebum levels and inflammation. ZENii Advanced Retinol Complex is rich in retinol and vitamin A. You can use it as a standalone serum, or mix into your night cream for a boost. Vitamin B also helps to control oil production as well as repairing the barrier function and boosting hydration levels. Hydration is the cornerstone of healthy skin.