How To Tackle Textured Skin

If you’ve ever suffered with uneven texture in your skin, you’ll know how tricky it can be to treat – especially when it’s not clear why it’s happening in the first place. From whiteheads to stubborn under-the-skin bumps, we asked two experts to share some key advice.
By Sapna Rao

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Know What To Look Out For

“The term ‘texture’ refers to anything that makes the skin not feel or look smooth – and that includes dry patches, enlarged pores, scars, lines and also natural texture. I would say 80% of people complain or worry about some kind of textural concern. But it's totally normal, as our skin is living tissue, after all.” – Debbie Thomas, skincare specialist & founder of D. Thomas Clinic

“Skin spots, whiteheads, blackheads and dry skin are all a part of what causes skin texture. Typically, it’s under-the-skin bumps that are the most stubborn. Without regular upkeep, a dedicated routine or facials, congested skin can be really common – it’s something we see daily at the clinic.” – Teresa Tarmey, A-list facialist & founder of Teresa Tarmey Skincare

Understand The Causes

“Under 40s typically suffer more with congestion-based concerns like visible dryness, fine lines and open pores. A significant cause is sun damage. Lifestyle, diet and homecare products can also contribute, but the biggest factor is your genetics.” – Debbie

“Clogged pores are a key cause of uneven skin texture and they are more likely if you use heavy oils or overload the skin with too many different products. It works for some, but if you have reactive skin, avoid layering it up with product after product, as you’re essentially overtreating and suffocating it.” – Teresa

Consider External Factors

“Lifestyle and diet can also affect your skin – whether it's dairy making your acne flare up or the sun breaking down collagen and promoting wrinkles. This varies within individuals, but it’s worth paying attention to any changes. If certain foods cause your skin to play up, treat them fast or speak to an expert to avoid symptoms becoming more pronounced. Hormones, especially, are something that can wreak havoc with the skin, so understanding what impacts your hormones is vital; for example, stress, diet and natural shifts like your cycle or entering perimenopause.” – Debbie

Avoid Bad Habits 

“If you are being too aggressive with your skin or using the wrong skincare, this can damage it and exacerbate concerns like enlarged pores, dry patches and rashes, which will cause scarring and more texture. Also, the skin can weaken and collagen will break down if you don’t protect it from the sun. This leads to fine lines, sensitivity, enlarged pores, dry patches, lumps, bumps, skin tags and sometimes raised pigment patches.” – Debbie

“Not cleansing and exfoliating properly is another cause of excessive texture. Always do a double cleanse at night. I use my Teresa Tarmey Cleansing Gel to get rid of dirt, make-up and oils that could potentially clog my skin. Also, stay away from scrubs; most of them are far too harsh and can strip the skin of essential moisture. Instead, invest in a hardworking acid to rejuvenate dull and lacklustre skin. Lactic acid is especially effective and gentle, while retinol will speed up cell turnover.” – Teresa

CLOGGED PORES are a KEY CASUE OF UNEVEN SKIN TEXTURE and they are more likely if you use heavy oils or overload the skin with too many different products.

Know What To Avoid

“Anything that is not suited to your skin can cause a reaction and external texture. For example, you may use an acid-based exfoliator (which should smooth the skin). But, if it's not the right product for your skin type, or you're overdone it, your skin will become rough and you can damage your barrier function and hydration levels. This results in a rough, dry texture. There are topical products that can help, but there’s no ‘one size fits all’. For example, someone with dry skin will not need the same product as someone with acne-prone skin, so always seek advice from a skin expert for a more personal recommendation.” – Debbie

“If you are prone to breakouts or acne, I would recommend staying away from oil-based products. These, as mentioned, can clog pores and aggravate conditions like acne and rosacea. Take them out of your routine and incorporate cleansing balms instead.” – Teresa

Develop A Tailored Routine

“For super reactive sensitive skin, stick to a simple routine. In the morning, cleanse once and apply a good SPF. The oil-free Heliocare is great for treating textured skin. Always double cleanse at night to make sure you remove all the dirt, make-up and oils that have accumulated during the day, and apply an effective treatment such as a lactic acid or retinol, and lastly a serum.” – Teresa

“If your skin can handle a more intense routine, an antioxidant serum in the mornings will help protect the skin from daily stressors like pollution and UV rays. A good SPF will also reduce future textural changes – just use a lightweight or prescribed SPF to avoid clogging up your pores. At night, use a retinol to stimulate cellular renewal and collagen production, which will smooth and plump the skin, as well as reduce breakouts and clear out blocked pores. There are plenty of great new retinol formulas that are gentle enough no matter your skin type. Finally, ceramides protect and repair the skin barrier to retain moisture, nutrients and keep the skin healthy and plump, so finish off with a ceramide-rich moisturiser.” – Debbie

Explore Facials & Treatments

“It’s important to be consistent with your routine to see results – for example some products like retinol can take up to six months to have an effect. But if you want to take a more clinical routine, there are treatments which can tackle textural concerns. These differ depending on the specific issue, but at our clinic most clients opt for our Bespoke Laser Skin Treatment because it can tackle multiple concerns at once. Advanced skin treatments like peels, lasers and micro-needling can even out skin texture and promote healthier skin overall.” – Debbie

“I would recommend a facial that includes extractions after a gentle peel. Microneedling is great for rejuvenation and LED therapy can calm and brighten the skin. Our Ultimate Resurfacing Treatment is amazing for texture irregularities, scarring and open pores. It combines radio frequency with micro-needling for all-round skin rejuvenation.” – Teresa

Finally, Take Expert Advice

“Some texture is normal and healthy, but to get your best skin you should be using what your skin really needs. Amid the frustration of trying to improve your skin, don't get caught up in using aggressive products without fully understanding how to use them. If you can get expert advice, do. An easy place to turn to is GetHarley, which is an online consultation tool. You can have a video call with an expert (facialists and dermatologists) who will advise you on your routine, treatments and at-home products.” – Debbie

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