What Is Congested Skin, and How Can You Treat It?

Congested skin is a way of describing skin that feels rough and bumpy. The term isn’t used to make a clinical assessment, so it can mean several different things and be used in different ways.

While not everyone will agree on the exact definition, dermatologists and skin care professionals will generally know what you’re talking about when you say you have “congested” skin.

Congested skin is often more prone to acne and clogged pores. It can be caused by dead skin cell build-up, exposure to irritants, or even an allergic reaction to makeup.

Let’s take a look at some of the more common causes of congested skin, as well as ways you can treat it.

Congested skin symptoms

Congested skin is frequently associated with oily build-up on your skin, so it’s no surprise that it typically affects areas on your face where oil tends to collect. Your chin, nose, cheeks, and forehead are places you might experience it.

Congested skin causes your skin to look visibly distressed. Symptoms can include:


What causes congested skin?

The causes of congested skin are similar to the causes of acne and skin irritation. The cause can vary, depending on your skin type.


Hormones play a role in the day-to-day appearance of your skin, and acne that’s caused by hormonal imbalances tends to congregate around your jawline and the bottom of your cheeks. This can make your skin look congested, with visible pores and pimples.

Oil production

Some people have naturally oily skin. This doesn’t always cause acne or blackheads, but it can be a contributing factor. Skin that produces excess sebum (oil) can also be more prone to large, open pores.

Skin elasticity

As you age, your skin’s natural elasticity declines. This can contribute to enlarged facial pores. Once pores are open and visible, they can be magnets for dirt and oil that result in blackheads and whiteheads.


The best ways to treat congested skin

Ensuring that you’re cleansing and exfoliating your skin properly (and with the right products) is by far the best way to tackle congested skin concerns.

  1. Cleansing – This is an important step in every skin routine, and especially for those with congested skin. Using the correct cleanser can help to unclog the pores, refine the skin and clear up any blemishes. A foaming wash rather than a cream cleanser will give you better results. We love Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Wash as it cleanses the skin, refines pores and leaves the skin feeling nourished.
  2. Exfoliation – Exfoliating in the right way is another important step for anyone with congested skin. While a grain exfoliator can help to remove the dirt from pores, it can also spread bacteria, causing further breakouts. Try a mild chemical exfoliator, such as the Dynamic Resurfacing pads from Elemis on your skin, these contain AHA’s and BHA’s that will gently exfoliate the skin, leaving it feeling soft and looking more radiant.
  3. SPF – It is vital that no matter the skin type you are protecting your skin from the sun and harmful UV rays. Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Day cream SPF 30 is the perfect multi-use product as it acts as your moisturizer and SPF all in one.