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Congested pores - treatment & prevention

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Congested skin, also known as clogged pores or closed comedones, is skin with large pores and blackheads or whiteheads. If left untreated, clogged pores can leave your skin looking unhealthy and lead to acne breakouts. Here's some top tips for healthy skin

Causes of congested skin

Congested skin is caused by a combination of several factors including:

- Excessive sebum production - Pores become clogged when the sebaceous glands in the skin produce too much sebum. The excessive amount of oil clogs the pores causing congested skin.

- Dead skin cells – our skin regenerates itself every 27 days, resulting in the formation of layers of dead cells on the skin. If not removed regularly, the build-up of dead skin cells can clog the pores causing congested skin.

- Make-up and skin care products – most skin care products contain ingredients such as petrochemicals, talc, parabens and silicones that clog pores. Using very old makeup (contaminated with bacteria) can also cause skin congestion.

- Accumulated toxins – our blood transports nutrients as well as toxic substances to the skin cells for elimination through sweat. If the skin doesn’t eliminate the toxins properly, it can lead to skin congestion and other skin infections.

Other factors that cause clogged pores include dehydrated skin, allergic reactions, excessive sweating and eating a high-sugar diet.

How to Get Rid of Congested Skin

There are several ways to get rid of clogged pores. However, if you’re unsure about what method to use, consult with your dermatologist. 

Here’s some tips on how to clear congested skin and some whitehead and blackhead treatment advice:  

1. Exfoliate 

The best way to treat congested skin is to exfoliate regularly (at least twice a week). Exfoliating removes dead skin cells and oils that clog your pores. You can purchase cleansers, gels, creams, and scrubs at beauty stores and drug stores or make your own facial scrub at home.  

2. Unclog your pores with steam 

Steaming your skin is a great way to open up your pores. Start the process by washing your face thoroughly and patting it dry with a soft towel. Fill a large bowl with boiling water. You can add peppermint tea, chamomile tea, green tea, or another extract to the water to help nourish your skin. Place a towel over your head and angle your face over the bowl. Now allow the steam to soak into your face for about ten minutes. Rinse your face with cool water then apply a moisturizer. For the best results, steam your face once a week, for a period of 5-10 minutes. 

3. Cleanse your skin daily 

The buildup of makeup, dirt, and oil can easily clog your pores, causing blackheads and acne. Get into the habit of washing your face with warm water and a mild facial cleanser every day.Avoid using cleansers that contain sodium laureth sulfate as they can increase the skin PH level causing an increase in sebum production. Some of the best products for congested skin contain lactic acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid. 

4. Dietary changes 

A high-glycemic diet may trigger the overproduction of sebum which causes congested skin. To eliminate clogged pores, eat low-glycemic foods including dry beans, whole grain foods, green

Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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