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How to Clear Bumpy Congested Skin

There’s no denying it: smooth skin is beautiful skin. Blemish-free smooth skin is a signal of health, and health is attractive. So what can you do if you have bumpy congested skin on your face?

Woman with her head turned

You might not have acne or any actual pimples, just numerous bumps and blocked pores. Sometimes these are only noticeable in certain lights or after you apply foundation.

If you are dealing with bumpy congested skin, this page will show you how to unclog those pores and give you the smooth complexion you deserve.

Why Bumpy and Congested Face Skin Happens

Well duh, clogged pores right? But sometimes it isn’t that simple. You might have otherwise blemish-free skin, with no whiteheads or other types of pimples, yet it is bumpy looking.

This sort of skin condition is also tricky because it is difficult to squeeze these congested pores or blackheads. Sometimes you simply can’t get under them because they are truly under the skin, and other times because there isn’t really a “plug” to clear out. The bump really is just a bump…

And this is why the right exfoliation and cleansing is so important. Extra tips to keep your skin clear and smooth are also at the bottom of this page.

How to Properly Exfoliate Your Face

A manual face scrub two or three times a week is not enough. You must use a chemical exfoliator.

For clogged pores, salicylic acid is the best. This beta hydroxy acid has small molecules dissolve blockages on the surface of skin, which then allows it to get into the pores and clear out oil, dead skin cells, and other gunk.

Used consistently it can help rebalance your skin and keep it clear from bumps and acne.

Exfoliation Steps:

Use a chemical exfoliator several times a week (or daily). These products can be drying, so you may need to build up to daily use. Your skin will get used to the action and start to balance out.

Use a product like our Salicylic Acid Daily Exfoliator 2%, and apply to dry skin at night. Leave on for one minute then rinse off with cool water. Within a week you should notice your skin is looking less congested as the surface layer is consistently exfoliated off and the pores start to unclog.

“Triple” Cleanse at Night

Whether you wear makeup or not, at the end of the day your skin is covered in oil, grime, sunscreen, powders, products, sweat….

Your forehead might have been under a hat, your hair was probably touching your face, and hair products may have migrated down from your hairline.

So here is the right way to cleanse to truly clear up skin:

  1. First use a warm wash cloth to remove the surface layer of grime and provide a gentle exfoliation.
  2. Then, gently massage your cleanser into skin for one minute, really concentrating on congested areas like the forehead, sides of the nose and cheeks/jawline.
  3. Rinse thoroughly and cleanse a second time.
  4. This “triple” cleanse, with the addition of the washcloth at the start lets your cleanser really do its job. That is, cleansing pores, instead of just washing off the surface layer of grime.
  5. Optional: use a toner to further clean and refresh skin. A toner applied with a cotton ball/pad is a great way to make sure your skin is really clean—keep wiping until the cotton comes off clean. You might be surprised by how long this takes! Use a brand toner product, one of our daily exfoliators (glycolic acid or salicylic acid), or just use witch hazel.

Still Dealing with Bumpy Skin? Go Strong

If you have tried the steps above for at least a month without much success, consider trying retin A—prescription vitamin A (Tretinoin). This has the ability to actually get deep into skin, increase skin cell turnover, and clear up your skin.

See this article for a personal account of how retin A cleared up one readers acne. Often, with deeply congested skin you need something this strong that can really get down there and make a difference.

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