Updated: May 28, 2021

We all want flawless skin, but this is often easier said than done when you suffer from congestion. In order to return balance to your skin, it’s important to get to the root of the problem and take the time to know your skin better. With these simple tips you’ll be on your way to flawless in no time!

What is congested skin?

How to fix congested skin isn't just one thing, its a combination of things. If your skin is congested, you might notice bumps underneath the skin, blackheads, whiteheads and an overall dull appearance. These can be caused by a combination of oil, dead skin cells, tiny hairs, dirt, debris at the surface, and sometimes bacteria.

There are several other factors that cause skin congestion to occur as well. Such as overactive sebaceous glands, hormonal fluctuations, an unhealthy diet, the lack of a regular skincare routine, using incorrect skincare products and so on.

How do you fix congested skin?

The best place to start is clean the surface of your skin and unclog your pores with a strict cleansing routine, regular exfoliation, hydration and using non-comedogenic products. If you can be consistent with this you’ll be well on your way to glowing skin.

It is important to note that dehydration can lead to further issues that result in skin congestion, so it’s important to keep the skin well hydrated. Products formulated with retinol and other topical forms of vitamin A can also help fight against congestion by increasing cell turnover and preventing the skin’s opportunity to congest. Vitamin A can also reduce sebaceous gland secretions (oil production), which also help in the reduction of congestion.

Overall, work with your skin rather than fighting against it. Supporting the natural skin barrier, by reinforcing it with antioxidants, hydrating and soothing ingredients can protect the skin from damage by pollution, bacteria and outside aggressors.


A way to do it is to do a little finger check. All you have to do is to run your finger across your skin – does it feel bumpy and rough? Next, look at your skin in a well-lit mirror. Take a look at your nose and chin as these are commonly the most congested areas of the skin. Do they look dull? Can you see bumps, acne and small blackheads?

If you just checked yes to all of those questions, your unlucky stars say you are experiencing skin congestion.


Overproduction of oil in the sebaceous glands is the main culprit of congested skin. However, there are other factors why you are facing this skin problem. The key on how to fix congested skin is to understand the causes to properly care and choose the right skincare products for overall skin health.


Hormones affect how the sebaceous glands behave. For women, the monthly menstrual cycle increases the production of sebum, the skin's natural oil. The same can be said to men. When testosterone is released excessively, it increases the amount of oil produced by the sebaceous glands which lead to acne breakouts. Acne found in the nose, chin, and forehead areas of the face is mostly caused by hormonal changes.


Diet greatly affects how our skin looks. Numerous health studies claim that healthier skin is linked to healthy, well-balanced meals. The junk food we consume can make our skin feel like trash as well. Fatty foods, sugary drinks, and alcohol can trigger acne, and it's best to consume those in moderation.


Minimal to no skincare routine at all can do damage to the skin without us even knowing it. The everyday material we face can penetrate to the pores, thereby causing blackheads, whiteheads, or worse, acne. Practicing a regular skincare routine can make a lot of difference.


If you already have a skincare routine, chances are you already experienced bad products. Some of these products are toxic to the skin and can potentially cause breakouts. Choose dermatologist-approved skin care products that suits your skin type.


Dermatologist Emma Hobson, Education Manager for the International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica shares some things to avoid when you have congested skin. Here are some of her tips:

  • Avoid Comedogenic Skincare Products. Comedogenic products are those skincare products inducing to clog pores and can potentially lead to acne. According to Dr. Hobson, “Steer clear of comedogenic makeup and skincare products, and avoid ingredients like mineral oil, lanolin, skin-stripping S.D (specially denatured) alcohol, and artificial colors.”

  • Avoid processed foods where possible and limit refined sugar intake. “Sugar can promote acne by elevating blood sugar levels, resulting in a cascade of hormonal effects, including increased androgens (acne-causing hormones), excess oil, and increased cell production, all of which lead to clogged pores and breakouts,” Hobson adds.

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