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What causes textured skin and how can I improve it?

Read on to learn 6 causes, 6 prevention tips, and 7 improvement options for textured skin.


Although many desire smooth skin it is completely normal to have uneven skin texture. While ageing plays a role in changing the surface of the skin, there are a range of other factors - but what even is textured skin?
woman touching her face


Textured skin is the term given to skin that appears raised or uneven in certain areas. Textured skin can appear anywhere on the body, but you’re more likely to notice it on your face where it may feel bumpy and dry to the touch. It’s often the result of enlarged pores, acne, or acne scarring.

It’s impossible to achieve completely flat, smooth skin because to do so would mean having no pores - and pores play a vital role in keeping skin healthy.


However, there are ways to prevent and minimise the appearance of textured skin. These include at-home solutions such as using an exfoliation scrub, retinol serum and products containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs).


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Rough, textured skin can appear on different parts of the body and for various reasons. Common areas include:

1. Back: since this area has a large surface area and is difficult to reach, dead skin cells can build up and give the appearance of textured skin. Additionally, any pimples or acne scarring may be more difficult to resolve in this area and also contribute to uneven texture.

2. Face: milia and clogged pores on the face can become enlarged over time, leading to an uneven texture. Sun damage also contributes by breaking down the skin’s collagen, leading to a lack of elasticity and an uneven appearance.

3. Neck: similarly, since this area is likely to be exposed to the sun, UV radiation will break down the skin’s collagen production over time.

4. Legs: rough or bumpy skin on the legs may be caused by general dryness or, in some cases, a condition called keratosis pilaris (KP), which is a build-up of a protein called keratin.

5. Arms: your arms may also experience KP and have small bumps as a result.


There are a number of possible causes for textured skin and these may differ depending on where it appears on your body. Common causes include:

1. Ageing: as we age, the skin naturally loses its ability to readily produce elastin and consequently loses firmness, leading to an uneven texture

2. Dryness: dry skin, which may be the result of psoriasis or KP, can feel rough to the touch and may appear flaky, contributing to an overall textured appearance

3. Acne: persistent and severe acne can leave the skin with pitted scars that leave the skin looking uneven

4. Sun exposure: as we’ve covered, excess exposure to UV radiation can break down the skin’s collagen causing it to lose elasticity. The sun  can also cause the skin to become dry or rough, especially if you experience sunburn

5. Genetics: genetics play a large role in your overall appearance and skin texture. If a parent and grandparent struggled with uneven skin texture or enlarged pores, then you’re more susceptible to experiencing it too

6. Skin conditions: conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea can cause rough, uneven skin texture and dryness.

a woman holding a rose

Identifying the underlying cause is the first and most crucial step in getting rid of textured skin since it’ll give you guidance on which solutions to pursue. If you’re still unsure, consult your dermatologist for a professional diagnosis and solution recommendation.


While not necessarily a medical concern, textured skin can be a cosmetic concern for many people - which is why there are many solutions available depending on the underlying condition and the location of the texture. However, it’s important to remember that although these options can help improve the appearance of textured skin over time, they may not be 100% effective.

Determining the most suitable solution will depend on the severity and cause of skin texture. In addition to the preventative tips mentioned earlier, here are some potential options:
woman using NIVEA Derma Skin Clear Chemical Exfoliator

- Vitamin C: this particularly effective skincare ingredient is widely regarded for having multiple benefits. Vitamin C helps to control excess sebum production with its anti-inflammatory properties, reducing the possibility of pimples and clogged pores

- AHAs: Glycolic Acid is a popular example of an AHA, a chemical that’s suitable for sensitive skin types. This ingredient works by removing the top layers of skin to reveal fresher skin beneath and also stimulates collagen and elastin production. You can find this in the NIVEA Derma Skin Clear Chemical Exfoliator, which also contains Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide to deeply clean and refine skin pores.

- Retinol: can help to stimulate cell turnover and control sebum overproduction by regulating the sebaceous glands. Retinol can also help to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, skin tone and overall texture.

- Anti-inflammatory topical ingredients: textured skin may be the result of inflammation, so to mitigate this you can use soothing topical ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Niacinamide and Turmeric.

- Collagen support: using skincare containing collagen peptides (a topical form of collagen that can be absorbed by the skin) can help to plump skin and lips. It can also help to ease inflammation and improve the skin barrier, which may have become damaged from over-exfoliation.

- Hydrating ingredients: seeking out humectant ingredients is a great idea since they retain lots of moisture. Hyaluronic Acid is an example of this, which you can find in a number of NIVEA products.

- Professional options: laser therapy, chemical peels, micro-needling, and microdermabrasion are examples of clinical procedures available through professional providers. Speak to your dermatologist if your condition doesn’t improve after trying conventional, at-home options.


Remember, some options may not be suitable for everyone, so we recommend consulting a dermatologist before making any drastic lifestyle changes or adopting a new skincare product.

application of Cellular Expert Lift cream


When it comes to getting rid of textured skin, prevention is the best cure. There is no one way to prevent textured skin altogether, but by following the tips below you can certainly help to minimise its occurrence:


This will prevent your skin from drying out, which in itself would otherwise create a rough texture, but it will also prevent your pores from overproducing sebum and developing pimples


Apply a layer of factor 30 (if not higher) SPF before leaving the house and avoid long periods of sun exposure. This will help to avoid the breakdown of collagen by UV radiation. Opting for a face sunscreen can be a convenient way of remembering this step. For an ultra-light solution, try the NIVEA SUN UV Face Specialist Triple Protect Sun Fluid SPF 50+, which provides effective, sweat-resistant protection while providing a smooth and visibly healthy-looking skin


Regular cleansing, avoiding touching any pimples, and consulting a dermatologist are all ways of soothing acne - ultimately, try to address acne before it turns into scarring and uneven skin texture


Regular exfoliation has many benefits when it comes to skin texture. Gentle exfoliation can scrub away dead skin cells and promote new growth, helping to unclog pores and reduce the appearance of acne scars. Use a gentle scrub or a chemical exfoliant, such as an AHA or BHA.

AHA examples include: Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid, which can improve skin texture and tone

     An example of BHA: Salicylic Acid, is great for clearing dirt and oil from deep within pores


Including too many in your skincare routine may strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation


As with many skin-related issues, your first port of call should be a healthy lifestyle. Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, eat a balanced and varied diet full of fruit and vegetables, and exercise regularly.