How to treat skin congestion and breakouts

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It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager or an adult, flawless skin is something everyone craves. However, it is often deemed unattainable by those who suffer from clogged pores, breakouts and acne. If this sounds like you, don’t despair — you too can obtain a clear complexion. Promise.

The key to gaining — and maintaining — flawlessly clear skin is by understanding your skin. When you know what is causing your breakouts and clogged pores, you can finally start the process of treating your skin with the right products and healing it.

RELATED: 5 of the best cleansers with oily skin and large pores

SKIN CONGESTION AND BREAKOUTS 101

What is skin congestion, and what causes it? 

The term skin congestion is typically a reference to clogged pores,” says Judy Cheung, SkinB5 Managing Director, and this often leads to the formation of blackheads, whiteheads and acne.

“Many people think dirt is the cause of clogged pores, because blackheads are dark in colour, but the main cause of congested skin is excess oil and sebum production,” says Judy. A build-up of dead skin cells, skin care and make-up products, toxins and environmental pollution can also contribute to congestion. 

RELATED: Everything you need to know about clogged pores

What are breakouts, and what causes them?

“Breakouts or acne is a disorder resulting from the action of hormones and other substances in the skin’s oil glands (sebaceous glands) and hair follicles,” explains Judy. This can then lead to clogged pores, which creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, as they can multiply very quickly in this environment.

“When there are loads of bacteria inside, the pore becomes inflamed (read: red and swollen). If the inflammation goes deep into the skin, an acne lesion, cyst or nodule appears, which is commonly called a breakout, pimple or zit.”

Acne lesions are usually found on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders, but the causes vary from person to person. Judy says: “There are several interconnected factors to consider including hormonal fluctuations, stress levels, immune response, lifestyle, genetics, diet and even the weather. Any of these factors alone or combined can have an effect on your skin health and this is when breakouts can occur.”

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Do teenage breakouts differ to adult breakouts?

Teenage acne is different to adult breakouts, mostly because of what triggers the breakout and where they are located on the face. “Teenage breakouts can often be attributed to hormonal spikes throughout puberty, and are typically characterised by breakouts over the whole face and even the neck and chest,” says Judy. 

Adult acne is mainly caused by hormonal fluctuations because of age and conditions such as pregnancy and menopause, and is usually found around the mouth, on the jaw line, and on the chin.

“Adult acne can be more persistent than teenage acne, and is often paired with skin sensitivity or dehydration, making treatment that much more difficult.”

RELATED: How to treat dry skin and acne

What is the best way to treat and prevent congestion and breakouts?

The best way to clear skin congestion and breakouts is to correct the root causes — internal body imbalances — by feeding your body with powerful nutrients that promote clear skin and good health. Judy recommends vitamin Bs (B5, B3, folic acid, biotin in particular), vitamin A, zinc and copper. Alongside eating well, drinking lots of water and lowering your stress levels are also important.

Judy explains: “Externally, it is important to use soothing, gentle, exfoliating skin care products with high quality skin-clearing ingredients such as vitamin B5, salicylic acid, aloe vera, bergamot oil and French green clay.” Tea tree oil is an excellent spot treatment, too, as it helps to control bacteria growth that can worsen breakouts. “Another good tip is to double cleanse at the end of the day,” adds Judy. Cleanse once to melt away make-up; cleanse a second time to flush out the residue that has settled into your pores. Judy also suggests avoiding skin care products and make-up that clog pores and irritate the skin, as well as harsh drying agents such as Benzoyl Peroxide, which can irritate your complexion.

RELATED: 7 products for blemish-prone skin 

4 OF THE BEST PIMPLE-CLEARING PRODUCTS TO TRY

  1. SkinB5 Acne Control Extra Strength Tablets
  2. Mary Kay Spot Solution for Acne-Prone Skin
  3. Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Power-Cream Wash
  4. Thursday Plantation 100% Pure Tea Tree Oil

Do you suffer from congestion and breakouts? Have you tried to heal your acneic skin from the inside out? What skin-clearing tips do you have for those who suffer from pimples?

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