Common Skin Concern: Congestion
Congestion is a common skin concern typically presenting as blackheads, milia and uneven skin texture. Congested skin often appears thick and dull. Congested skin differs slightly from acne, although congestion often leads to acne if it’s not addressed.
An easy way to tell if you have congested skin is to run your hand over your face. If your skin texture feels bumpy, flaky, rough, irritated or uneven then it’s likely you’re experiencing a form of congestion.
What causes congestion?
Congestion, put simply, is the build-up of dead skin cells, sweat, impurities and sebum (oil) in the pores. The most common cause of congestion is an inadequate skincare routine. It’s natural for our skin to turn over skin cells, and produce sweat and sebum, congestion occurs when we don’t cleanse our skin of this build-up properly or often enough.
A compromised or impaired skin barrier can also lead to congested or textured skin. Poor diet, smoking, stress, lack of sleep and incompatible home skincare can all factor in to a skin barrier impairment. If your skin is misbehaving, you may need a skin reset. Start with basic home skincare and barrier repairing treatments.
Signs of Congestion
Dehydration is a lack of water in the skin, where the skin is not properly retaining water. Dehydration is a common sign of a skin barrier impairment. When your skin barrier is performing optimally, your skin will retain the correct amount of water. Where the barrier is impaired, your skin loses moisture leaving it dry, rough and sometimes flaky.
Blackheads are caused by a build-up of sebum, dead skin cells and other impurities which clog the pore. When this build-up is exposed to air, it gets oxidised which results in the characteristic shade of black/ brown that give blackheads their name.
Congested skin often appears dull and thick. This is because as our skin cells mature, they move through the layers of the skin and become drier and older as they reach the skin’s surface. When your skin is congested, these dead skin cells are sitting on the surface of your skin and are not being properly removed.
Milia are tiny, painless white lumps filled with keratin that can pop up on the nose, cheeks or around the eyes. Unlike a pimple, milia don’t have an opening on the skin’s surface so if you do try to pop or squeeze them yourself then you can cause scarring and skin damage. Read more about milia on our blog here.