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What is Congested Skin & How is it Treated?

What is Congested Skin?

Congested skin is a type of skin that feels rough and bumpy. Congestion is a build-up of impurities, dead skin, and sebum in the pores of the skin. A build-up of debris leads to uneven skin texture and a dull appearance. Congested skin is more prone to acne and has clogged pores.

What is Congested Skin & How is it Treated?

Causes of Congested Skin

Congested skin has similar causes as acne and irritated skin. It can vary depending on the skin type.


Hormones play a role in day-to-day skin appearance and lead to acne which gives the skin a congested look with visible pores and pimples.

Skin Elasticity

As a person ages, the elasticity of the skin declines. This can lead to pores. A study done on 60 participants found, decreased skin elasticity is linked with facial pore development.(1) As the pores develop, they act like magnets for dirt and oil leading to blackhead and whitehead.

Oil Production

People have different types of skin. Some have skin that is naturally oily and can be a contributing factor for acne and blackhead. Skin that has more sebum is prone to large open pores.

Cosmetic Products

Cosmetic products that cause skin irritation can be a trigger for acne and skin irritation. There are certain ingredients in soaps and other skin products that can clog the pores. These are isopropyl alcohol, propylene glycol, triclosan, phthalates, parabens, and lanolin. All these products can cause allergic reactions, skin irritation, and other health risks.

Symptoms of Congested Skin

Congested skin is associated with oil build-up and affects the area of the skin where oil tends to collect, which can be the nose, chin, forehead, and cheeks. The congested skin has whiteheads, blackheads, cystic acne, redness, rough and bumpy skin, dull-looking skin, and clogged pores.

Treatment for Congested Skin

The treatment for congested skin ranges from home remedies to prescription remedies from dermatologists. It depends on the severity of the symptoms.

Home Remedies

Unlike other diseases, home remedies are the first line of treatment anyone considers for congested skin. It helps in clearing up the area and lessening the symptoms.

Natural Exfoliation

Ingredients present at home can be used to cleanse dead skin cells and give the skin a fresh look. Homemade masks and scrubs can be made with honey, ground almond, sea salt, sugar, and many other ingredients. One should keep in mind that over-exfoliation can damage skin, even if done with natural products, and should therefore be avoided.


Drinking plenty of water is recommended to clear the skin. Cutting down on caffeine and sugary products can also help in restoring the balance.

Cleaning the Skin

Cleaning the skin even with warm water can be a simple regimen to keep it from getting congested. If wearing makeup cleaning it before going to bed is important.

Dietary Changes

Eating habits or diet can also lead to congested skin. A diet rich in processed food, carbohydrates, and white sugar can make the skin look dirty and congested. Making adjustments to eating habits can be a simple way to start the healing of the skin.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

A skincare routine with over-the-counter products can protect with the patches of congested skin on the chin, cheeks, forehead, and nose.

  • Exfoliators: These are the natural or chemical products that can peel off the skin and stimulate collagen production. Lactic acid and salicylic acid are the ingredients to look for in the production of congested skin.
  • Serums: Retinol and alpha-hydroxy acid are the ingredients in the serums that can increase the elasticity of the skin and give it room to breathe. It can be applied to the skin after exfoliation and can reduce the congested look of the skin.
  • Cleansers: Everyday cleansers gently remove the dead skin and promote healthy skin regeneration. Some natural cleansers contain tea tree extract and grapefruit that may play a role in the trick.
  • Moisturizers: These help in sealing the moisture in the exfoliated and cleansed skin and help in restoring balance. Those with oily skin should look for products that are hypo-allergenic, non-comedogenic, and the products that can help restore the moisture barrier of the face.

Medical Treatment

In case of severe symptoms, a dermatologist can help in clearing out the patches of congested skin.

Along with the above treatment, topical creams and oral medications can be used as treatment.

  • Retinoids: They can help in sloughing off dead skin cells and encouraging the growth of new cells.
  • Oral Contraceptives: In case of hormonal imbalance, contraceptives can be used as anti-acne medication.
  • Anti-androgen Medications: These medications like spironolactone can help in balancing hormones and reducing symptoms of congested skin.(2)
  • Isotretinoin: It is a prescription medication that can help in clearing congested skin. It is used when other treatments are not effective.
  • Chemical Peels: This includes treatment by an aesthetician or a dermatologist. Chemical peels help in exfoliating the skin that is bumpy and rough and exposing smooth skin underneath.
  • Laser Skin Resurfacing: It is a procedure that helps in stimulating the area with clogged pores and damaged skin.

Congestive skin can be treated with different options depending on the severity. You can combine home treatments with dermatologist-approved treatments to get the result.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 11, 2022

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