"Uneven skin texture is commonly a result of excess dead skin cells that build up on the surface of the skin. This can make areas of the skin feel rough or bumpy to the touch and can also give the skin a dull appearance," explains board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank, MD. "In addition to dead-skin-cell buildup, chronic sun exposure can also play a big role in uneven skin texture and pore-size irregularity. 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."
Meet the Expert
Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, is a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist based in New York City. He is the author of The Pro-Aging Playbook and creator of the Pro-Aging Podcast.
Get to the Source
No remedy can be truly effective if the problem persists. Treating uneven skin texture can become an exhausting (and expensive) cycle if you're only addressing the symptoms of a larger culprit. Assess your current skin concerns and try to find the underlying cause. If acne scarring and hyperpigmentation are your main distress, perhaps it's time to seek professional help in ameliorating the source of the acne itself. If eczema or dry, irritated skin are creating texture, there could be a microbiome disruption, sensitizing ingredients in household products, or even an environmental imbalance that's causing the flareups.
Exfoliate to Smooth
If skin-cell buildup is the issue, remedying the situation could be as simple as sloughing those dead cells away. Make sure you're exfoliating twice a week with a dedicated scrub, sonic cleaning brush, or chemical exfoliant, and target the areas that feel uneven.
All that being said, it's worth noting that physical exfoliation products that are too abrasive—or using them too often, for that matter—can cause oil overproduction and skin damage, which will only exacerbate your texture issues. Stick with formulas that use spherical particles (no jagged edges), and make sure you abide by that twice-a-week rule. The alternative is to ditch scrubs altogether in favor of chemical exfoliants, a gentler option that allows for more consistent results.
Try a Chemical Peel
As you get older, your body has a harder time than it once did shedding dead skin cells. When your skin hangs onto those dead skin cells, you're left with a dull, uneven tone and, yep, uneven texture, too. One easy and effective way to quickly shed the top layer of skin is with a chemical peel. There are many different types and strengths depending on the results you want and your skin type, so when it comes to a chemical peel, schedule an in-office treatment and leave it in the hands of a professional to prevent any mishaps or accidental chemical burns.
If you don't have the time (or the funds) to get a peel at your dermatologist's office, use an at-home mask to do the trick. Look for an option that is gentle and nonabrasive to prevent the chance of damaging your skin (we're personally big fans of Drunk Elephant's Babyfacial).
Use a Vitamin C Serum
One key ingredient for evening out skin tone also works to smooth out uneven texture. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that delivers a double whammy of repair and defense against environmental damage. That defense is key if you want to avoid more texture problems down the line and the restorative properties can return suppleness to the skin while reducing pigmentation, scar tissue, and age spots.
Always Wear SPF
As Frank explained, sun exposure can cause uneven skin texture and pore size, so taking the proper precautions to protect your skin with a minimum of SPF 30 will prevent further damage. Add this to the endless laundry list of reasons that protecting your skin from the sun should always be your first priority.
Address Your Existing Scars
Part of tackling uneven skin texture is maintenance. Whether you have a new or existing scar, it's important to diminish its appearance—especially those pesky ones that have a raised, discolored texture. Patience is key here, and you have to be diligent to see results. Use a product that is geared toward scar treatment, follow the directions carefully, and you'll likely notice an improvement over the next few months.
Add a Retinoid to Your Skincare Routine
Many dermatologists agree that topical retinoids and retinols may be the best treatment option for uneven skin texture. The vitamin A derivatives are skincare powerhouses for promoting collagen and increasing epidermal turnover, meaning they can improve the skin's texture and tone as well as lighten leftover hyperpigmentation. Retinols are easily found in most over-the-counter products, but retinoids, which pack more of a punch, will require a prescription.
Get a Microneedling Treatment
Microneedling is a favorite among beauty editors because of its quick and noticeable results for scarring and general uneven texture. Just like the name says, the process requires the use of small needles to create tiny punctures in the skin. These micro-injuries cause your skin to go into repair mode, which increases its collagen production and reduces the appearance of pores, acne scars, and fine lines for a smoother texture overall.
Consider Laser Resurfacing
Frank notes that those who deal with chronic texture issues will see the best results with laser treatments—but these tend to be the most aggressive and expensive. Similar to microneedling, laser treatments produce results by creating tiny wounds to the skin in order to activate wound-healing pathways. Once activated, the body's natural healing process will repair not only the new wounds but can minimize the appearance of scars, lighten hyperpigmentation, remove sun damage, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and tighten loose skin
How can I tell if my skin texture is uneven?
Gently run your finger across your skin. If it's rough or bumpy to the touch, that indicates your skin has an uneven texture.
What determines skin texture?
Anything that can impact your skin's surface condition is what will determine the texture. For example, dry skin from winter months or sun-damaged skin in the summer.
Can my skin's texture change as I get older?
As we age, the epidermis starts to thin. This makes it easier for the layer to become damaged and more textured.
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