Like doing your taxes and going to the dentist, dealing with acne is an inconvenience most of us have to go through at one time or another. Thankfully, these days there are SO many products out there these days to help kick pimples to the curb as quickly as possible.
However, there’s another, extremely common skin care concern where the answer isn’t quite so clear: congested skin. You know, those little, skin-coloured bumps you can feel under the surface of the skin, usually in clusters. While they might not be as visible as pimples, they’re equally annoying. Not only do they make it hard to get a perfectly smooth finish with your makeup, they’re notoriously difficult to get rid of.
Congested skin (otherwise known as clogged pores or closed comedones) is caused by a build-up of dead skin cells. If left untreated, these cells can mix with the excess oil on your skin and develop into pesky blackheads. Put simply, the best way to treat congested skin is to slough the dead skin cells off through regular exfoliation. However, not all exfoliants are created equal and it’s crucial to go for gentle products that are specifically formulated to remove the congested layer. Here are our top picks:
Paula’s Choice products are the holy grail when it comes to treating tricky skincare issues and this exfoliator is no exception. It removes built-up layers of dead skin while giving your pores a good clean-out.
Shop the Paula’s Choice Clear Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution with 2% Salicylic Acid.
While many cleansers that target congestion can dry out your skin, this gentle face wash is the exception. In fact, it’s actually incredibly refreshing, using fruit enzymes and AHAs to gently exfoliate the skin while clarifying and brightening.
Shop the Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel.
This balm is the perfect product to use to smooth out your skin before you apply your makeup — it’s almost like an IRL Instagram filter! All the while, it’s working hard to clear congestion and prevent further breakouts.
Shop the Dermalogica Clearing Mattifyier.
This Purifying, deep-cleaning, non-drying cleansing gel with odorless Irish Moor Mud foams up to clear skin’s surface of pore-clogging dirt, oil, makeup and other impurities.
Shop the Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Cleansing Gel.
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how great your cleanser is — if it’s not penetrating deep enough into your skin, it may not be able to unclog your pores. An electric face cleanser like the LUNA will help you get a deeper clean and make your skincare products work harder.
Shop the LUNA mini 2 facial cleansing brush.
Charcoal works like a magnet for pulling impurities out of your pores, which is why this mask is an absolute must-have for anyone with congested skin. It’s also great for keeping your skin’s oil production under control.
Shop the Origins’ Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask.
Not only does this product leave your skin feeling ridiculously smooth, it uses powerful micro-polishing beads to relieve clogged pores and blackheads
Shop the Murad Pore Reform Skin Smoothing Polish.