How to Improve Skin Texture, According to Derms

Bumpy skin and rough patches can be improved with a variety of different treatments.  

Regardless of what season it is, there are always reasons why you could be battling skin texture issues. Drier months lead to flaky patches, more humid months lead to oily breakouts, or you could just be battling a weird round of allergies that are leading to unevenness. No matter what, you should be armed with a variety of ways to improve your skin's overall texture so that you can pinpoint the issues and solve them as they arise.

We consulted three of the leading voices in dermatology to advise how they treat patients with uneven skin texture: Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Dermatology; Caroline Robinson, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Tone Dermatology; and Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist and chief medical officer and founder of the PFRANKMD Brand.

Here are their tips for helping combat uneven skin texture on both your face and body.

Incorporate an exfoliating cleanser into your routine

"Whether it is a physical or chemical exfoliator, these ingredients help remove dead cells from the surface of the skin to brighten the complexion and improve texture," says Dr. Zeichner. It is also an important first step if you're planning to use a self-tanner. He recommends Dove Exfoliating Beauty Bar because it contains ultra gentle exfoliating particles that won't disrupt the outer skin layer. Tatcha's The Deep Cleanse Exfoliating Cleanser uses fibers from the Japanese luffa fruit to gently lift impurities from the skin.

Opt for chemical exfoliation

"I prefer gentle chemical exfoliation over physical exfoliation because it creates less friction and inflammation and it has more uniform results," says Dr. Robinson. She recommends Glow Recipe's Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask to repair and exfoliate your skin while you sleep. A product that's suitable for both face and body is Paula's Choice Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA, which is a great keratosis treatment.

Don't underestimate a good moisturizer

"We know that skin hydration levels start to decline during the second half of the day, leading to dryness, flaking, and rough texture," says Dr. Zeichner. "Stick to moisturizers that contain calming ingredients like niacinamide to even tone and texture." He recommends Innbeauty Project Next Level Daily Moisturizer because it contains antioxidant-rich botanicals, in addition to niacinamide. You can also try out Paula's Choice Oil-Free Moisturizer, which is perfect for acne-prone skin.

Don't forget to moisturize your body

Similar to your face, the skin texture on your body can suffer if it isn't properly moisturized. Try Necessaire's The Body Lotion, which is a clean body lotion perfect for sensitive skin. For extra moisture that your skin will totally drink up (especially after exfoliating), Mutha Body Butter is totally worth the splurge.

Repair with retinol

"Retinol is perhaps the best-studied ingredient we have to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles," says Dr. Zeichner. "I recommend a retinol serum in the evening before bed to help stimulate cell turnover and collagen production while you sleep." He likes Neutrogena's Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum, which has a stable form of retinol that minimizes potential irritation. If you want to use retinol that's just as powerful as a serum but is better for sensitive skin, try a cream, like Drunk Elephant's A-Passioni Retinol Cream.

Be religious about your sunscreen application

"Chronic exposure to the sun can cause many issues, including dullness, uneven tone, fine lines, textural changes, and an increased risk of skin cancer, which is why sunscreen is so important." says Dr. Robinson. "I recommend sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum, and water resistant."

Her favorite is Isdin Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion SPF 50+, which has blendable broad SPF coverage in a water resistant formula and contains DNA repairsomes, naturally occurring enzymes that help to repair existing sun damage.

For a reef-safe option that layers well with makeup, try Versed's Guards Up, which is broad spectrum and suitable for all skin tones. And, of course, your body needs sunscreen too; look for one that comes in a continuous spray bottle to ensure even application, like Sun Bum's Sunscreen Spray SPF 30, which is ultra-hydrating and also contains antioxidant properties for extra protection.

Employ the help of a dermatologist

"For more powerful and long-lasting results, in-office resurfacing devices like Fraxel can target deeper textural problems, like acne scars and sun damage," says Dr. Frank. Ask your dermatologist about devices and treatments that they can administer to help improve your skin's texture, including microdermabrasion, microneedling, stronger peels, or even laser treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it normal to have textured skin?

    Many people have textured skin, and it is normal. Everyone has a unique skin texture that is based not only on their skin conditions, facial regimes, and environmental exposures but also on their genetics.

  • What causes textured skin?

    Textured skin is caused by the buildup of dead skin cells on the skin's surface. Other factors include acne, sun exposure, and skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and keratosis pilaris.

  • What are the different skin texture types?

    Skin texture types are categorized by the issues that cause the texture. These are congested pores, large pores, acne-prone skin, rough-to-the-touch bumps, flaky skin, and wrinkles.

  • What does it mean when I have a sudden change in the skin texture of my face?

    Environmental causes are usually the culprit behind sudden changes in skin texture. This includes sun exposure, breakouts, build-up, and more.

Was this page helpful?
Real Simple is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy.
  1. Kimlin MG, Guo Y. Assessing the impacts of lifetime sun exposure on skin damage and skin aging using a non-invasive method. Sci Total Environ. 2012 May 15;425:35-41. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.02.080.

Related Articles