Uneven Skin: How To Improve Your Skin Texture

Written by Emily Wood, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist on January 25, 2022 No Comments

woman skin texture

Skin texture refers to the surface condition of your skin. We’d all like our skin to be smooth, supple and soft, but patches of rough skin, flakiness, acne and acne scars, wrinkles, fine lines and bumps all contribute to uneven skin texture. Skin texture issues are extremely common and can occur on nearly every area of the body. Fortunately, even the most severe forms of skin texture issues can be improved through lifestyle changes, skin care products and professional in-office treatments.

Common Skin Texture Issues

Healthy skin is balanced skin. It’s perfectly hydrated, not too oily, and not too dry. When skin is too oily or too dry, textural issues are common.

Common Skin Texture Issues for Oily Skin

Oily skin may be genetic, or could be the result of hormones, diet or over-exfoliation. Wherever you have oily skin, you’re vulnerable to the following skin texture issues:

Common Skin Texture Issues for Dry Skin

Dry skin is not to be confused with dehydrated skin, which is a temporary condition. Dry skin is unable to retain water, causing the following perpetual texture issues:

  • Flaking or peeling
  • Tight or leathery skin
  • Cracking or split skin
  • Bumpy or ‘sandpaper’ skin
  • Dull or ‘dusty’ skin

What is Uneven Skin Texture?

You may experience patches of dry skin only, patches of oily skin only, or a mix of oily and dry patches. In some areas, skin may be healthy and smooth.

Although textural issues can also cause changes to skin pigmentation, uneven skin texture is a separate issue from uneven skin tone. Most of the time, however, correcting skin texture can also improve skin tone.

What Causes Skin Texture Issues?

Uneven skin texture is the result of imbalanced skin that’s either too oily, too dry or both. It also occurs with aging when skin begins to lose collagen and elastin, the proteins that give skin its structure and stretch.

Often, uneven skin texture is the result of excess dead skin cells, which pile up on the surface of the skin if not properly shed. This can make skin feel bumpy or rough, and might even lead to changes in skin tone.

Too much sun exposure can damage skin cells, causing roughness, large or irregular pores. Sometimes, uneven skin texture is the result of a skin condition, such as eczema or allergies. Any of the following can contribute to changes in skin texture.

  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Dehydration
  • Inflammation
  • Free Radical Damage
  • Sun Exposure
  • Poor Diet
  • Hormones
  • Medications
  • Climate
  • Allergies
  • Stress
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Improper Skincare

While textural issues can occur anywhere on the body, increased UV exposure to the face can often lead to frequent textural issues on the most visible part of one’s body.

Tips: How to Improve Skin Texture

Skin texture is best improved by treating the causes as well as the symptoms. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep, practicing stress-reduction and making healthy food choices. In addition, the following methods are recommended for preventing and treating uneven skin texture.

  • Stay Hydrated & Moisturize

It’s important to hydrate skin from the inside and the outside. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid too much caffeine and alcohol, which can be dehydrating.

Moisturize day and night, even if you have oily skin. Choose a moisturizer with niacinamide to reduce inflammation, and hyaluronic acid which acts as a humectant to draw water into the skin. Skin care products containing a special blend of growth factors can boost collagen production.

  • Use Sunscreen Daily

Protecting the skin from harmful UV light prevents early skin cell death or damage, and minimizes the production of damaging free radicals. Using a high-quality broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF every day is the best way to protect the skin. It also protects against textural issues that arise with early onset aging.

  • Exfoliate Weekly

Uneven skin texture is frequently the result of built-up dead skin cells. Proper exfoliation can help smooth skin. Chemical exfoliation tends to be less abrasive than physical exfoliation methods.

If you have oily skin, exfoliate no more than once or twice a week. Too much exfoliation can lead to increased oil production.

  • Use a Retinol Product

Using a retinol product at night helps exfoliate and smooth skin and will stimulate skin cell turnover. For a more potent formula, speak with your dermatologist about a retinoid, such as Retin-A.

  • Microneedling

If your skin texture issues are the result of collagen loss, microneedling can help. The in-office treatment uses tiny needles to create small punctures on the skin’s surface. This triggers collagen production and as skin heals, it heals smoother.

  • Neurotoxins

If fine lines and wrinkles are causing an uneven texture, a neurotoxin, such as Botox, can help soften wrinkles to give your skin a smooth supple appearance.

  • Chemical Peels

If your textural issues are the result of dead cell build-up, a chemical peel can be useful. There are at-home varieties and stronger, in-office treatments which smooth skin to a greater degree.

  • Intense Pulsed Light

Also known as a photofacial, an IPL treatment can help improve textural issues related to sun damage as well as aid in shrinking pores.

  • Laser Resurfacing Treatments

Laser treatments can address both uneven texture and tone. Fractional laser resurfacing, such as Fraxel, can address deeper textural issues such as acne scars.

If uneven skin texture is a common, consistent issue for you, speaking with a dermatologist can help you a develop a treatment plan best suited for your skin type. Understanding the underlying cause behind your skin concerns can help you choose the most effective course of treatment and prevention.

Emily Wood, MD

Emily Wood, MD is a board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained cosmetic dermatologic surgeon specializing in the practice of both cosmetic and medical dermatology. Dr. Wood is an expert in the use of lasers to improve a variety of medical and cosmetic conditions including acne, rosacea, scars, acne scars, birthmarks and wrinkles. She specializes in skin rejuvenation therapies, including neuromodulators (such as Botox and Dysport), fillers, liposuction, sclerotherapy, skin tightening, treatment of cellulite and rejuvenation of the aging chest, neck and hands.

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