Blocked pores, dull skin, uneven skin, blackheads and whiteheads…all signs of congested skin and often affecting not just teenagers, but adults too. Also knows as open comedomes, blackheads are literally tiny plugs in the opening of a follicle or pore on the skin. The pore plug is a combination of oils, sebum and dead skin cells. Open to the skin’s surface, the plug becomes darkened as it is exposed to oxygen. Whiteheads are closed at the skin’s surface, blocked by cellular debris but not exposed to oxygen so remain light in colour.
Blackheads, whiteheads and blocked pores are usually caused by a combination of factors. Excess skin oil, sebum and toxins that are expelled through the skin are often an underlying issue. In addition dead skin cells, pollution, occlusive make up and dirt also play SkinCell PRO a role by filling up pores already opened by sebum and oil production. Each factor will contribute to congestion in a different but significant way:
Skin Oil & Sebum: excess oil and sebum production by the skin will contribute to clogging pores and encourage the growth of skin bacteria. When combined with external factors such as dirt, blackheads easily form.
Toxic Congestion: blood and lymph supply the skin with nutrition. However, if the toxins that are produced in our bodies everyday are not eliminated properly, they are eliminated via the skin and can contribute to congestion as well as other issues such as acne and skin irritation.
Dead Skin Cells: Each 3 or 4 weeks the skin replenishes the skin cells. This natural process creates a layer of dead skin cells over the surface of the skin. If not removed, the dead skin cells create dull looking skin. The other thing that may happen is that the dead cells will plug the pores on your face and create congestion and blackheads. When combined with excessive sebum production, this can lead to the formation of white-heads and black heads.
Skin Care & Make Up: The key culprits in skin congestion are products that contain petrochemical based oils as they have an occulusive effect, stopping the skin from breathing and blocking pores. Talc, which is common in make up and finishing powder, also has this effect. Waxes and butters may also be an issue with skin prone to congestion. Make up is usually worn on a daily basis so it is essential to choose a make up that suits your skin type and doesn’t contribute to further congestion.
Pollution & Dirt: Building up on the surface of skin over the day, pollution is a factor in the formation of blackheads and blocked pores. The more polluted the area in which you live, the more skin pollution you are likely to experience. Effective skin cleansing is vital to clean the skin of daily dirt and grime…and a splash of water at the end of the day just doesn’t cut it. Dirt that is found on our face and other parts of the body can be a breeding ground for bacteria and combined with oily skin can make things even worse. Where does the dirt come from? Dirty hands are a key culprit and those already conscious of their skin tend to pick and rub their skin more than others, just making the problem worse.
Treatment of of Blackheads
So, how to get rid of blackheads and congested skin? Well squeezing them out is not the answer. This technique will just lead to further skin irritation and possibly damage and scarring to the surrounding tissue. Rather than removing blackheads by squeezing, the best way to get rid of them is by attacking the source of the problem.
1. A good cleansing routine: Cleansing the skin of daily dirt, grime and pollution is essential. A good cleansing routine is a very effective way to remove blackheads, as it will help wash away excess oil and dead skin particles. Use a gentle cleanser as harsh and overly-drying cleansers will only make the problem worse by causing an increase in sebum production. If your skin feels squeaky clean, dry and tight after washing, you are doing more harm than good and need to use a more gentle cleanser. Avoid products with Sodium laurel sulphate as this ingredient tends to disrupt the acid mantle again causing increased sebum production.
2. Regular gentle exfoliation: one way to minimise congestion and clogged pores is to ensure the top layer skin remains clear by regularly removing the dead skin cells. There are a number of very effective products you can use to remove dead skin cells.
Regular use of facial exfoliants or scrubs will help clear dead skin cells that block pores. Removing the top layer of dead cells will also allow your moisturiser or serum work more effectively as it comes into contact with live skin cells rather than dead ones.
There are a couple of things to look for in a good exfoliant. The most obvious, although it is surprising how many people ignore this, is that a body scrub is too harsh to be used as a facial scrub. Look for a very fine, soft exfoliant as your facial skin is soft and delicate. A harsh scrub may actually scour the surface of your skin much like a scrubbing brush and this can actually damage skin cells. If your skin is excessively red or inflamed after use they are far too strong. Gentle exfoliants will slough off cells without a harsh scrubbing effect and are suitable to be used 2-3 times a week.