by Reece Andavolgyi 8 min read


On the surface, skin texture is a pesky problem most of us have dealt with at one point or another. It may not seem as problematic as acne but it also doesn’t have an easy, temporary fix like concealer on a dark spot. On a deeper level, skin texture is an annoying skin condition that’s hard to hide, intensified by makeup and can deeply affect someone’s confidence. Skin texture manifests itself in different ways so it can be hard to pinpoint the problem and even with a consistent routine, it still pops up seemingly out of nowhere. It’s frustrating to say the least but with the right tweaks to your skincare routine, it can be a thing of the past and your best skin days can be just around the corner.

Here’s your definitive guide to skin texture; what to look for, causes and, most important, how to fix it! 

Identifying The Problem: Do I have skin texture?

First and foremost, you’ll know if you have skin texture by the way your skin feels. Maybe it’s bumpy in certain areas, your makeup doesn’t lie as nicely or your skin looks and feels rough and congested. Some even describe the feeling as  ‘sandy’ or textured, gritty patches. Healing old acne scars can give the appearance of texture but so can something like over-exfoliating. Ultimately, uneven texture is usually the result of built up dead skin. With the right routine, products and some patience, it’s totally fixable.


Ingredient sensitivities. Being sensitive to a product or a certain ingredient can be the sneaky cause for your skin texture. Ingredient sensitivity won’t always manifest itself in an all over rash or redness that lets you know to stop using the product immediately. Sometimes it can be congestion, small bumps, dryness or acne. This is probably the easiest answer to skin texture because once you stop using the product or ingredient your skin is sensitive to, the texture will subside and likely be gone within a few days. Some common ingredient sensitivities include coconut oil, shea butter, vitamin C or more rich textured, heavy creams that can clog pores. This all depends on your skin type so if you think a product is causing you to break out, stop using it for a few days and see how your skin reacts. 

Skin issues.  Rosacea can cause redness and skin texture but it’s generally very hard to treat at home and using chemical exfoliation to treat it will make it worse. If your skin texture persists, you always want to consult a dermatologist because ultimately, they have the most knowledge to help you and they can help you find the right prescription if what you’ve tried in the past hasn’t worked. 

Clogged pores AKA Acne. Your skin texture could just be clogged pores and light acne because you need to exfoliate! Chemical exfoliation is key for clear, smooth skin and it’s much more effective than physical exfoliation, especially for acne. Unlike physical exfoliation which includes facial scrubs, brushes and exfoliating tools, chemical exfoliators use AHAs and BHA to slough off dead skin, unclog pores and unveil a brighter, smoother complexion. 

If you’re healing old acne scars this can leave behind uneven skin texture and dark spots. Unfortunately there’s no quick fix for that, just time, SPF and a consistent routine. 

Over-Exfoliating! Exfoliating is recommended to help alleviate texture and unveil brighter skin but what happens if you're doing it too much? Over-exfoliating can lead to redness, irritation, dryness, peeling, dull skin, acne and an overproduction of oil. All this irritation will give the appearance of textured skin so in your efforts to try and help your skin texture, you could be making it worse.

If you think you’ve  over-exfoliated, take acids and actives out of your routine immediately and look for products that will help to rebuild your moisture barrier. Hydrating and soothing formulas with ceramides are a good place to start. Implement a gentle and hydrating routine into your skincare regimen and once your skin starts to normalize, then you can go back to exfoliating and using actives. To ease your skin back into exfoliating, aim for  3 times a week. If you’re using chemical exfoliators, try a lower concentration of acids. 

Dryness. If your skin is dry and dehydrated, this could be the cause of your sandy and bumpy skin texture. If this applies to you, stay away from exfoliating because it will irritate and further dry out your skin. This  video by @Kryzzzie expands on her experience with fresh aloe to help combat her dry skin and expel skin texture! 

Diet. Your diet could be the driving factor in combating your skin texture. We’ve all heard the old adage that dairy or chocolate causes acne which can lead to skin texture and it's true. Dairy along with a  high glycemic load diet, think white bread, white sugar and rice can cause acne and inflammation. 

Another item to avoid? Alcoholic beverages. Alcohol causes dehydration and inflammation in the skin. Both of which will exacerbate skin texture and slow down skin healing.  

Ok, So Now What? How To Solve Skin Texture Issues.

EXFOLIATE. Exfoliation can dramatically help with skin texture because it gets rid of the layer of dead skin that is usually the culprit for clogged pores that create texture. Whether you choose a serum, an exfoliating toner, treatment mask, exfoliation is good for your skin. If you want to exfoliate to help with texture, chemical exfoliation is going to be your best bet. Physical exfoliators can create micro tears in your skin so a chemical exfoliator is a more effective option that will effectively target dead skin and texture. Look for something with  AHAs and/or BHAs. If you’re sensitive, PHAs are a really gentle option that only exfoliates the top layer of skin.

  • AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) are great if you’re trying to target fine lines, sun damage and shedding dead skin. Glycolic acid is a popular AHA.
  • BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) are oil soluble so they really help to target acne, sebum production and clogged pores. Salicylic acid is a popular BHA.
  • PHAs (polyhydroxy acids) work like an AHA or BHA but are a larger molecule and don’t penetrate the skin as deeply so they’re low irritation and great for sensitive skin or rosacea. This  video from YouTuber and Dermatologist, Dr. Andrea Dray gives a great explanation on the use of PHAs for helping skin texture! 

When introducing acids into your routine, start with a few times a week and build up your usage as your skin gets more accustomed. As mentioned above, over-exfoliation can cause texture so make sure you’re listening to your skin! Try using a low concentration of acids or keeping exfoliation to 3 times a week. 

The difference between chemical exfoliation vs physical exfoliation is that chemical exfoliation uses acids or enzymes in a low concentration to loosen up dead skin cells and unveil a brighter complexion. Physical exfoliation uses small particles or a gritty texture like beads, a scrub or a washcloth to remove away dead skin or dirt manually. Generally, chemical exfoliation tends to be more effective, especially with texture. 

Wear SPF. Uneven skin texture is often exacerbated by sun damage so wearing a good SPF will help heal your current skin texture along with protecting your skin from future sun damage. If you’re using chemical exfoliators, your skin becomes sensitized and more susceptible to sun damage so all-in-all SPF is a must. The SPF in your foundation isn’t  enough to protect your skin so look for a separate formulation with SPF 35 and higher, SPF 50 is always the best option!

Get a Facial. If the source of your skin texture is from acne or congestion, a deep cleanse of your pores and extracting any clogged pores, blackheads and lesions will really help to improve your texture and reduce future breakouts. 

Hydrate! We talked about dry skin and dehydration as a cause for rough, bumpy skin texture. To fix this, you’ll want to hydrate from within with diet and water intake but you’ll also want to find a good hydrating serum and moisturizer. Look for a good hyaluronic acid serum, it’s great for plumping up the skin and adding hydration along with a moisturizer that will lock in all the moisture you’re adding into your routine. In some cases, adding hydration and moisture into your routine will be enough to target your skin texture. If not, once you fix the dryness and dehydration, you can use a chemical exfoliant to target the remaining texture and heal your complexion.

Diet. Now that you know what foods to avoid, there are certain foods to incorporate into your diet that will help to improve the quality of your skin. Generally, if it’s good for you, it’s good for your skin but you want to aim for a diet of whole grains, lean proteins along with fruits and veggies. Nuts and fish like salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids which help to hydrate the skin and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. 

Walnutsare an excellent source of fatty acids and contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which can help to curb inflammation. Another thing to look for is foods that are high in antioxidants. Blueberries, green tea and even dark chocolate are great examples of antioxidant rich foods. A  cup of green tea daily can help to combat texture, roughness and add moisture into the skin.  Citrus fruits high in Vitamin C like oranges, lemons and grapefruits are really great for targeting overall skin texture.

Retinol. Retinol is a topical form of vitamin A and it’s exceptional for its anti-aging qualities along with its ability to help to fight hyperpigmentation, acne as well as increasing cell turnover and collagen production. Using a retinol will really help to combat skin texture and it’ll give you that covetable, baby-soft feeling and glow. Just make sure you alternate the nights you use retinol and chemical exfoliators. And if you’re a beginner to retinol, try introducing a gentle formula into your routine week and build up from there as your skin gets more used to it! Check out  Paradox’s Botanical Retinol!  

Change up your routine. Your skin texture could be a product of your skincare routine. Are you over exfoliating? Are you not hydrating enough? As we learned, over-exfoliating and dehydrated skin can both be the cause of skin texture! Is your skin breaking out due to a new product you’re using? Listen to your skin and based on how it feels decide what step to take next. If your newly textured skin is in conjunction with a new moisturizer you recently started using, take it out of your routine and see what happens.

Be patient. I know, easier said than done! At the appearance of skin texture, our first instinct can be to start using a rapid amount of new masks, serums and cleansers to try and combat the issue. Skin texture is not going to disappear completely overnight so make sure you're giving new products time to work and that you’re not overdoing it. 

If you added chemical exfoliation to your routine to help combat skin texture, don’t repeat this step twice a day to speed up the progress because you will irritate your skin and make your texture worse. At the same time, don’t remove chemical exfoliation from your routine because you tried it once and didn't notice an immediate and dramatic difference. It’s a fine line and you must listen to your skin but be patient with your new routine and try not to over do it. 

Videos for Further Learning

  • This  video breaks down chemical vs physical exfoliants and how to create your skincare routine around improving skin texture.
  • This  video talks about ‘sandy skin’ and expands on fresh aloe vera as a fix for dryness and skin texture
  • This  video includes a dermatologist’s reaction to a 21 year old’s skincare routine for dark spots and uneven texture
  • This  video from a dermatologist on what to eat for glowy, clear skin

Have you dealt with skin texture in the past? Sound off below and join the #paradoxcommunity! We would love to hear what worked for you! And for more skincare and beauty tips, follow us on Instagram  @paradox.

Reece Andavolgyi
Reece Andavolgyi

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