The 5-Step Guide to Your Smoothest Face Ever
No one wants to hear that they have a problem they didn’t even know existed—which I experienced firsthand a couple of weeks ago at a facial appointment. After years of familiarizing myself with my complexion, I’d really gotten into a good groove with my skincare, and knew which products to rely on when any of my usual issues arose. But I was wrong: As the esthetician pampered my face, she made an observation that threw me for a loop. “You have uneven skin texture,” she said. “Tone?” I responded, confused. “No, texture,” she repeated. “Your nose is a little bit rougher than the rest of your face. It’s normal!”
Was it, though? I had never heard of it before, and at the risk of sounding completely pompous, I consider myself pretty well versed in all manner of common skin problems—particularly my own (a hazard of the job). But it turns out that having an uneven skin surface really is run-of-the-mill—it’s just not talked about too often.
“Uneven skin texture is commonly a result of excess dead skin cells that build up on the surface of the skin,” explains cosmetic dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank. “This can make areas of the skin feel rough or bumpy to the touch, and can also give the skin a dull appearance.” As for how it happens, there are a number of potential role-players. “In addition to dead skin cell build-up, chronic sun exposure can also play a big role in uneven skin texture and pore size irregularity,” he says. “Natural aging of the skin will also make the skin look duller. Factors such as smoking may also contribute, and other skin conditions such as eczema and dry skin can severely affect skin tone and texture.”
Dr. Frank guesses that the reason uneven texture isn’t as buzzy as uneven skin tone (which deals with pigmentation, to be clear) comes down to the ability to treat it—those who deal with chronic texture issues will see the best results with laser treatments. But there are a few ways to get a more even skin surface at home. Keep reading for a five-step guide to smoothing out your face, once and for all.
Dr. Frank recommends glycolic acid peels at home, or, if you have the opportunity to try it, a chemical peel at the dermatologist’s office—it’s an acuter way to resurface skin than just exfoliating by hand. “This can remove sun-damaged skin and stimulate its healthy re-growth in a controlled fashion,” he says. “The resulting exfoliation removes dead cell layers, promotes underlying collagen regeneration to reduce fine lines, and evens out the texture and pigment of one’s skin.”
Pictured: Caudalie Glycolic Peel Mask ($39)
This piece of advice came from the facialist who pointed out the problem in the first place: In keeping with the philosophy that oil-based products are best for regulating sebum production, she guessed that my rough, blackhead-bespeckled nose would experience less buildup with a facial oil. She dabbed a bit of Herbivore Botanicals' Lapis Facial Oil ($72) on my T-zone, a practice I’ve adopted at home since that fateful appointment—and I have to admit, my nose is much smoother since doing so.
“Adding vitamin C to your skincare routine will help improve skin texture by providing a powerful antioxidant to repair and defend the skin from environmental damage and restore suppleness while reducing pigmentation, scar tissue and age spots,” says skincare guru Ling Chan. That defense is key if you want to avoid more texture problems down the line.
Pictured: Ling Skincare Hi-Vitamin C 12% Brightening Solution ($80)