Smooth, blemish-free skin. We all want it but between stress, weather change, humidity, and the constant wearing of masks, we can conclude that our skin doesnt have it easy. Some days it feels like youre doing everything right but your pores just wont stick with the plan. Double cleansing? Check. Never sleeping with the tiniest smidge of makeup on? Check. Cleaning your face tools and make-up brushes? Check. Despite doing all of this, a pesky pimple often appears to remind us that maybe its time to switch things up. Not your (good) habits but the products youre using. Yes, sometimes when nothing seems to be working, taking a good long look at the products in your vanity might do the trick.My skin is normal to oily but recently, it seemed like it was under attack. Think whiteheads, red and white bumpsthe whole shebang. After sending frantic close-ups of my face to my dermatologist, she concluded that my routine needed an overhaul. The main culprit? My unsuspecting cleanser. I switched up my routine after consulting my dermatologist. Had I not, I would have applied on every pimple patch I could find and slather on any acne treatment I could get my hands on. So before we get into the difference between skin congestion and acne, make sure you keep in mind that consulting a medical professional is always a good idea.What causes clogged pores?Theyre caused by a combination of oil, dead skin cells, tiny hair, and dirt clogging the pores. These congestions usually show up in the form of blackheads and whiteheads. This could be because of improper cleansing, oily skin, unhealthy eating habits, incorrect skincare products and an irregular skincare routine.How is congestion different from acne?The difference between congested skin and acne is simple: clogged pores often feel bumpy and rough to touch and can set the stage for breakouts. When excessive oil and grime clog the pores, they become breeding grounds for acne-causing bacteria. Your body will try to fight them and this can lead to redness and inflammation.If your pores are cloggedSkin congestion is a lot easier to manage and treat than acne. There are several things you can consider doing including adding a salicylic acid-based face wash to your routine. Try exfoliating your skin once or twice a week as that will help prevent any build-up of dead skin. Make sure all the products youre using are lightweight and non-comedogenic to avoid blocking your pores.If acne has made an appearanceDespite the most careful cleansing routines, pores do get inflamed. If such a situation does arise, its best to not pick on your breakouts at all. Consider adding acne-fighting benzoyl peroxide or retinoid creams to your routine as these may help to unclog pores and heal acne.