All About Congested Skin

What is congested skin?

Congested skin is marked by clogged skin (tiny bumps), large pores and blackheads. Many do not quite "mature" to a pimple with a "head" but look uneven, bumpy and gives rise to lack-lustre skin. The main culprit for congested skin is poor cellular turnover and increased bacteria colonization. Usually more prevalent for city dwellers like us. A baby's skin cell cycle is very fast which gives rise to silky smooth, pore-less skin. Contrast this with ageing skin - marked by dryness, dehydration, wrinkles. This happens before new skin can emerge, the old skin has been there for what feels like eternity so it gets dry, dehydrated and wrinkled. By speeding up cellular turnover, we achieve a better, fresher, newer looking complexion. That's what we are trying to achieve in peels, resurfacing lasers; where we try to remove the top layer of the skin so the new layer can show through. Congested skin arises because skin has been there for so long and pores build up dead skin cells. 

What are 2 ingredients to look out in skincare products to prevent congestion?

As you age, your skin loses collagen and elastin, the building blocks necessary for tight skin and pores. That causes sagging, which scientists now believe is why pores shift from round to a droopy, teardrop shape. Ingredients like Retinoids strengthen and firm pore walls, decreasing their diameter and helping to restore them to a favorable circular appearance. In addition, by decreasing the cohesiveness of your facial skin cells and increasing their rate of turnover, this vitamin A derivative makes it harder for oils and other surface impurities to nest in your pores and can be removed much more readily.

Alpha hydroxy acid and Beta hydroxy acid are classes of organic acids that act as useful exfoliants. AHAs are derived from fruit and milk and include glycolic acid (sugar cane), lactic acid (milk), and malic acid (apples and pears) among others. In cosmetics, BHA refers exclusively to salicylic acid, which is derived from plants. These acids loosen the bonds between the complexion dulling dead skin cells that accumulate with age, so they can be shed, leading to smaller pore size and a more even skin tone. On top of all that, they also enhance the reparative mechanism of skin cells, allowing other skincare ingredients to penetrate faster and work more effectively.

Which products would help with congested skin?

    1. Lotion P50 and its variants - this mild exfoliating lotion is quipped a "facial in a bottle" and it cannot be more true. Exfoliates, hydrates, renews, balances pH + sebum content. Used over time, skin is perpetually glowy radiant from beneath.

      Choose from 5 variants:
      P50 - best for oily, thicker skins
      P50T - best for delicate, thinner Asian skins
      P50W - best for sensitive skins, although P50T and P50 pigm400 can sometimes work better for reactive / sensitive skins
      P50V - best for dry skins
      P50 Pigm400 - a great all-rounder for those of who seeking anti-pigmentation benefits

    2. Lotion MC 110 - It's my perfect antioxidant lotion that purifies, exfoliates, tones, plumps and smooths any skin irregularities, fine lines & reduce acne scarring. If you love P50, add MC110 to boost your exfoliating effects, safely yet definitively. Use this as an intense treatment for 7 or 10 days, in place of P50. Its enhanced results will give you extra glowing skin which will keep congestion at bay. Stop after 10 days and restart after a month.

    3. Serum 3R - highly recommended if you are either allergic to pure retinol products or pregnant. This Regenerating, Renewing & Repairing serum is packed with 27 potent actives to help cell turnover. Rids the epidermis of dead cells, soothes inflammation, stimulates our antioxidant defenses to fight free radicals, repairs DNA, hydrates. Restores radiance in skin.

    4. Serum Dermopore - this pore-minimising serum is great for preventing comedone formation, helps tighten dilated pores, prevents and refines irregularities of the skin grain and rebalances skin.

    5. AlphaRet Overnight Cream - this innovative breakthrough formulation will see you having minimal to no irritation while on a potent Retinol + AHA routine. AMAZING! Thank you to Cleo Singapore for featuring us here on How to achieve foundation-free skin!


    Which Facials improve congested skin?

    1. Facials like our Aqua-Boost facial (i.e Hydrafacial) uses patented technology to deeply yet gently cleanse the skin, removing excess sebum and unclogging pores to allow oxygen to flow through freely so that bacteria can’t cause problems, hence leading to smaller pores. Its unique Vortex system ensures a proper gentle suction, lubricated by a smooth continuous flow of special serums (as opposed to the much harsher mechanical microdermabrasion using aluminum hydroxide powder).

    2. Manual extraction when done by a pair of experienced hands will help in the clearance of both blackheads and whiteheads, reduce the propensity of possible acne breakout and restore or minimize pore size. However, it is not without risks. For the unitiated and poorly trained, attempting extraction with the wrong pressure or at the wrong angle can do serious damage. Infection, inflammation, pigmentation and scarring are all possible. A well trained therapist will be able to assess which blemishes are suitable for manual extraction and which are not as well as when to stop if the outcome is sub-optimal. This seemingly common procedure should not be taken lightly. While it allows deep pore purging when done correctly to restore a blemish free complexion, complications are real and serious in the wrong hands.

    3. Biologique Recherche facials can be highly customised to intensively detoxify & purify skin, leaving clean, clear pores with a radiant BR Glow.

    What if we were born with large pores?

    While our pore size is genetically determined, there is something we can do to fight our more genetic imperfections.

    The Carbon Laser Peel is the ideal way to slough off dead cells and shrink down pores without the use of harsh chemicals. It uses gentle yet deeply penetrating laser energy to exfoliate the rough and damaged outer layer of dead skin cells to reveal younger, softer, and fairer skin underneath, refining skin texture by reducing oiliness and minimizing pore size. The other clinical treatment that is good for pore minimisation is Plasma. When ultra-high frequency RF is combined with inert nitrogen gas in the hand-piece, a highly energized state known as Plasma energy is generated. Neogen Plasma Micropeel is a deeply exfoliating treatment that improves pore size, uneven skin discoloration, fine lines and wrinkles. It restores glow to tired looking complexions by allowing the younger and healthier looking skin cells beneath to come through, as controlled pulses of plasma energy actually initiates cellular renewal and self-repair from inside-out, giving you more youthful and supple looking skin that you can’t stop yourself from touching!

    What are 2 good habits to cultivate for someone with enlarged pores? 

    #1 - If this is not already part of your regular skincare regime, it’s about time to make it so! Exfoliating your skin regularly helps to remove dry skin cells that may be clogging up your pores. In addition, it will also help to make the openings of those pesky pores appear a little more shallow compared to those coated with a layer of dead skin cells.

    #2 - One of the worst things that you can do to damage your skin and make your pores look more worn than ever is to expose them to prolonged hours of unprotected UV rays. When your face is subjected to too much radiation, the top layers of the skin can thicken and become leathery in appearance, making your pores visibly bigger than what they really are. Always ensure adequate sun protection before you step out in broad daylight. A good sunscreen is a cheap and savvy investment that goes a long way to ensure better skin with smaller looking pores.

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