Implementing a skincare routine can reap rewards that go beyond just its positive effects to your skin. The right daily and nightly refresh can also be incredibly uplifting and, at the most basic level, super satisfying to do. Certain steps seem obvious: wash away your makeup, massage moisturizer into your face and body, stick with an SPF, and sometimes there are a few (or many) more in between.
But what happens when you notice that your skin’s texture has taken a turn? This can be caused by a range of factors and often requires calling in extra reinforcements. Read on while we talk texture and how to treat the different kinds with dermatologist Jeriel Weitz, D.O., of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City.
So, what exactly is skin texture?
Before we dive into managing the most common types of skin texture, it’s helpful to identify exactly what that means and how it’s different from skin type. “Skin type is determined by the amount of oil or sebum someone’s skin produces. Thus, skin type can be broken down into five different categories: normal, oily, dry, combination and sensitive skin,” explains Dr. Weitz. “Skin texture refers to how the surface of your skin feels to touch. Ideally, skin is soft and supple but certain conditions can cause it to feel rough and bumpy.” And while it’s unrealistic and near-impossible to achieve the hyper-smooth complexion of an Instagram filter, there are steps to help soften and smooth skin.
How to ID your skin texture
The easiest way to start the right routine for your texture is to zero in on exactly what kind of changes you’re experiencing. According to Dr. Weitz, some of her patients’ textural concerns are due to acne, rosacea, and eczema. If you’re confused with what’s transpiring and not sure how to define it, the best bet is to visit a board-certified dermatologist who can get to the bottom of what’s happening and help develop a personalized treatment plan. Often, texture issues fall into the following categories:
Small congested pores (a.k.a. blackheads or whiteheads)
What it is: You might recognize comedonal acne as the blackheads and whiteheads that pop up when pores on your face, chest, and back get clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Dr. Weitz explains that blackheads represent open comedones whose contents, when exposed to air, oxidize and turn a dark color. Whiteheads, on the other hand, are closed comedones, meaning that they’re plugged and under the surface.
How to treat it: The derm-recommended method for dealing with comedonal acne is all about promoting cell turnover, which helps smooth the texture. Dr. Weitz suggests keeping an eye out for ingredients such as retinol, azelaic acid, salicylic acid, or glycolic acid. These superstars reset your skin and clear out your pores through the processes of exfoliation and sloughing off dead skin. It’s also key to look for products that are non-comedogenic, which helps to avoid reclogging your pores.
Enter: Strawberry Smooth BHA+AHA Salicylic Serum, our most powerful (yet soothing) solution for clear, hydrated skin. It’s a daily clarifying serum that gently smooths texture, clears breakouts and refines pores… all while providing hydrating powers. Because it’s made with salicylic acid (as well as natural salicylic acid derived from strawberries), antioxidants, mandelic acid, and vitamin C, it exfoliates dead skin, minimizes breakouts, and helps even skin tone. It also goes the extra mile by leaving skin plumped and hydrated, not dry, thanks to hyaluronic acid.
Visible large pores
What it is: If your skin tends to be oily, you might be predisposed to large pores. (Why? Since the oil glands in your skin are super-productive, the pores are typically bigger to allow for the higher flow of sebum.) And if you’re prone to breakouts, it’s even more likely. “If pores are clogged enough to stretch them out, then ultimately this will lead to larger pores that will look worse as the skin ages,” NYC-based dermatologist Hadley King, MD previously shared with us.
How to treat it: You can’t actually shrink the size of your pores, but it’s entirely possible to make them less noticeable. That’s because large or sagging pores look that way when they’re stretched out, which can happen as a result of debris — think of a clogged pore that has yet to turn into a blemish. While your usual typical plan of attack for clogged pores will help, the addition of a pore-blurring product may also go a long way. Our silicone-free Strawberry BHA Pore-Smooth BHA Blur Drops, for instance, use a combo of strawberry enzymes and BHA to keep pores clear and, in turn, less visible. And, for instant smoothing, its blend of tapioca and rice blot oil and create a seamless canvas for makeup application — allowing it to work double-duty as a makeup primer, too.
Breakouts and blemishes
What it is: What sets breakouts apart from whitehead and blackheads is that they’re usually inflamed and filled with pus (contrary to popular belief, whiteheads aren’t filled with pus, but rather plugged with dead skin.). Want a full breakdown on the differences between them? We’ve got you covered.
How to treat it: Again, salicylic acid can help tackle these deeper clogs. The key is consistency, and the gentle nature of our Strawberry Smooth BHA+AHA Salicylic Serum makes it easy to apply it regularly. A word to the wise: While you may be tempted to pop it, resist the temptation — as doing so can increase your risk of scarring. Use your fingers to instead apply a hot compress, which may help draw out the infection.
Tiny, rough-to-the-touch bumps (a.k.a. Keratosis pilaris)
What it is: Keratosis pilaris, a form of eczema, can result in bumpy skin that appears red or brown and is most commonly found on the upper arms, cheeks, and thighs. It occurs when dead skin cells crowd hair follicles.
How to treat it: According to the Mayo Clinic, while some cases of keratosis pilaris clear up on their own, others require creams that contain ingredients like alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, or urea, to shed the dead skin cells while simultaneously moisturizing. It also can be beneficial to add products derived from vitamin A, also known as retinoids, to amp up cell turnover and combat the congestion of hair follicles.
Flaky or rough patches
What it is: If flakiness or rough patches are becoming a bummer in your beauty routine, you could be dealing with dry skin. Dr. Weitz says that this is often a case of lack of proper skin moisturization or related to specific skin issues which impair the skin barrier from being able to retain moisture. Dry, rough skin can be due insufficient hydration, changes in weather, or aging, which causes the skin to retain less moisture,” she says. But sometimes this type of texture can be linked to a range of dermatological conditions, such as rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, among many others, she adds.
How to treat it: The first step to solving dry or rough patches is all about moisturizing. “Use lukewarm water when bathing and try to keep baths or showers under five minutes,” says Dr. Weitz. Once out of the water, opt for a gentle cleanser and immediately apply moisturizer. Going for a thicker formula like an ointment or cream versus a thinner lotion can be effective. She also points out that ingredients such as petrolatum, mineral oil, shea butter, dimethicone, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides can help on your journey to smoothness. Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum and Plum Plump Hyaluronic Cream are a great place to start.
Fine lines and wrinkles
What it is: These literal lines in the skin result from one of two things: Either they’re been etched in from repeated facial expressions (like smiling for your nasolabial folds or laughing for your crows feet) or from sun damage, which can break down the collagen, forming forehead lines. These grooves just happen over time, and are totally normal.
How to treat it: If you so choose, you can target lines with alpha hydroxy acids. These simultaneously slough off dead skin cells while hydrating skin — as in the case with the glycolic and mandelic acids in our Strawberry Smooth BHA+AHA Salicylic Serum — to smooth the overall appearance of skin. It’s worth layering it with the Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum, as vitamin C is able to both defend against sun damage and stimulate collagen production. And don’t sleep on the Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Cream, which has retinol, an MVP skin ingredient that both boosts skin cell turnover and kickstarts the formation of brand-spanking-new collagen.
Bottom line? With skin texture, there are so many kinds you could encounter: from scars, to wrinkles, to sun damage, to big cystic bumps, and beyond. While each one requires a different approach, developing a routine and staying consistent is key.
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