IS YOUR SKIN DULL, CONGESTED OR BOTH? HOW TO TELL – AND HOW TO FIX IT
Over the course of a day, the pores of our skin are subjected to a lot, from sweat and sebum to environmental toxins. So, it’s no surprise that congestion is a very common skin concern.
Characterised by bumps, spots and uneven texture, congestion isn't necessarily a severe or painful skin condition (unlike chronic acne, rosacea, or dermatitis), but it can be difficult to treat. This becomes even more apparent when secondary issues like dullness are thrown into the mix.
That said, dull, congested skin isn’t something you just have to live with. In fact, with the right steps, products and scientifically backed ingredients, a bright, smooth complexion is absolutely possible.
Read on for the ins and outs of congestion and dullness, differences between the two and, most importantly, how to treat both.
What Is Congested Skin?
Congested skin is characterised by clogged pores, rough texture, and occasional open or closed comedones (blocked pores or hair follicles). Several smaller issues can cause this bumpy, lacklustre complexion, and if left untreated, skin congestion has the potential to progress to more complicated skin concerns like persistent breakouts, stretched pores and uneven tone.
What Causes Congestion?
At a basic level, congestion is caused by clogged pores. This occurs when dead skin cells and other impurities mix with sebum and become trapped, resulting in either an open comedone (also known as a blackhead) or a closed comedone (those annoying small bumps beneath the surface of the skin).
Sluggish cellular turnover, overactive sebaceous glands, hormones, lifestyle factors and poor skincare choices can all contribute to this, which makes it difficult to pinpoint the root cause of congestion.
And it’s worth noting that while congestion isn’t typically inflammatory, when bacteria get thrown into the mix, more serious acne-type breakouts can occur.
How Do I Know If I’m Congested?
You’ll know you’re experiencing congestion if your skin looks bumpy (especially in certain light), rough, textured, or peppered with blackheads.
How Does Dullness Tie In?
Expired cells don’t reflect light uniformly, which results in a patchy, lacklustre appearance. Because congested skin is typically defined by a build-up of dead cells, it can also look dull, tired and/ or flaky.
However, it’s worth remembering your skin doesn’t need to be congested to experience dullness. Other factors like dehydration, environmental damage and ageing can also contribute to this. This is an entirely different topic in itself, but for some quick tips check out this blog dedicated to all things glow.
What Can I Do To Brighten And Clarify?
- With the serious stuff out of the way, let’s move onto what’s important: transforming your skin from bumpy to brilliantly glowy!
Make Friends with Antioxidants
Antioxidants, specifically L-Ascorbic Acid, work to increase collagen and elastin while protecting against environmental damage. With dedicated use, your skin will look firmer, brighter and more even.
Try: Vitamin C 100%, a concentrated powder form of L-Ascorbic Acid that can be sprinkled into your serum, moisturiser or sunscreen daily.
Hack Your Cellular Turnover
Retinol is a gold-standard ingredient that boosts skin cell turnover that results in a brighter, smoother complexion. This renewal also reduces the chance of build-up and clogged pores.
Try: Retinol Serum, a hard-working treatment to unify the skin tone, smooth texture and prevent breakouts.
Try: Retinol Oil is great for dry or depleted skin as it delivers all of the above benefits with the added nourishment of Vitamin E and Macadamia Oil.
Delete Dead Skin Cells
Exfoliation is another essential step to remove any surface cells that might have overstayed their welcome, while brightening and deep-cleaning pores.
Try: Even Blend Serum is formulated with Glycolic Acid and Wakame (Japanese seaweed extract) to fade breakout marks and increase the skin’s radiance.
Try: Glycolic Scrub 14% combines physical (Jojoba and Silica beads) and chemical (Glycolic Acid) exfoliants that polish away dull skin cells, and work hard to smooth, decongest and clarify.
Try: L-Lactic Cleanser is perfect for dry or sensitive skins as it affords a gentle means of chemical exfoliation to subtly brighten and refine.