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Expert Advice

How To Manage Rough, Bumpy Skin

Rough, bumpy-looking skin can be exceedingly frustrating. Here, learn what causes rough skin and how to manage it for a smoother, healthier appearance.

One of the defining characteristics of healthy-looking skin is an even, smooth skin texture. Smooth skin can reflect light well, which gives it a radiant, naturally glowing appearance. But sometimes, skin concerns like excessive dryness or blemishes can affect the appearance of skin’s texture, resulting in a rough, bumpy look. In addition to being frustrating, rough skin can be challenging to manage, especially if you’re not sure of the cause.

To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to rough, uneven-looking skin. Ahead, you’ll discover what causes rough and bumpy skin—and, more importantly, how to manage it at home with Kiehl’s products. Read on to learn our top five tips for managing rough skin for a smoother, healthier appearance.

What Causes Rough Skin Texture?

Before we discuss the best ways to manage rough skin, it’s important you understand what causes bumpy skin in the first place. Like most skin concerns, several factors can trigger changes in your skin texture, but overall, rough and bumpy skin has two primary causes: dryness and an over-accumulation of dead skin cells.

Dryness results from a lack of natural moisture in the skin. If you have a dry skin type, your body doesn’t produce enough sebum to keep your skin smooth and adequately moisturized. Your skin may feel rough or develop visible symptoms of dryness, like dullness. Dry skin can also result from damage to the skin’s natural moisture barrier—your body’s first line of defense between your skin and the outside world. Damage to this barrier leaves you more vulnerable to environmental aggressors like pollution and sun exposure, which can take a toll on your skin’s texture and appearance.

Now, back to the second main cause of bumpy skin, which is the buildup of dead skin cells. Your skin constantly turns over to make room for new skin cells, and usually, skin does this on its own. Sometimes, however, dead skin cells can get stuck on your skin’s surface. This buildup can result in dull-looking skin, clogged pores, and a rough, uneven skin texture. In extreme cases, not shedding dead skin cells can result in keratosis pilaris, a skin condition characterized by small red bumps on the arms, thighs, or cheeks.

How To Manage Rough, Bumpy Skin: 5 Tips

Once you have a better grasp of what may be causing your rough, bumpy skin, you can begin taking steps to address it. Ahead, we’ve compiled a series of tips for managing rough skin at home. Keep reading to discover five tips for smoother skin.

Tip #1: Exfoliate Regularly

As we mentioned previously, bumpy or rough skin on the face and body often results from a buildup of dead skin cells. Exfoliating can help slough off dead skin and stimulate skin turnover to promote a more even appearance.

To help eliminate skin cell buildup, swap out your go-to face wash for an exfoliating cleanser, such as Clearly Corrective Brightening & Exfoliating Daily Cleanser. This gentle yet effective cleanser contains pearlstone, a physical exfoliant derived from volcanic ash. Our unique formula removes dirt, oil, and other buildup while exfoliating the skin to promote a smoother, more refined appearance. It is mild enough for all skin types and can be used twice daily to reveal brighter, more radiant-looking skin.

For men, we recommend Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub, which is made with an invigorating blend of caffeine, menthol, and crushed apricot kernels. The efficient scrub cleanses skin and helps slough off dead skin cells to alleviate roughness. If used before shaving, it also helps soften tough facial hair for a closer, more comfortable shave.

If you need more intensive exfoliation, try Epidermal Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion. Our effective formula with ultra-fine powdered seashells instantly smooths rough, uneven skin while helping to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and fine lines with continued use. We recommend using this powerful scrub on your face, neck, and chest three times per week to refine the skin and promote a clearer, more even appearance.

Tip #2: Prioritize Hydration

Studies show that damage to your skin’s natural moisture barrier can leave your skin vulnerable to dehydration, which can result in chapped, rough, or even flaky skin.I One of the most effective ways to keep your skin moisture barrier healthy is by ensuring it’s well-hydrated. While drinking plenty of water can help keep your skin hydrated, it’s also important to use topical moisturizers to deliver moisture directly to your skin.

Look for products with humectant moisturizers, like Hydro-Plumping Hydrating Serum, which contains glycerin and a unique epidermal hydration filler. The lightweight formula deeply hydrates dry skin while encouraging the skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid, one of the key components responsible for maintaining skin hydration. It’s suitable for all skin types and can be used daily to promote smoother, plumper-looking skin.

We also recommend adding a hydrating mask into your regular skincare routine. Try Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask, which stars avocado oil and evening primrose oil. The rich, creamy face mask nourishes the skin and helps seal in moisture to prevent water loss. Within just one use, the replenishing formula leaves skin feeling hydrated and softer.* Use this moisturizing mask up to three times per week for supple, conditioned skin.

*Consumer perception study, US: 55 subjects, all skin types, immediate time point.

Tip #3: Add In Emollients

Emollients are moisturizers that work by filling in the spaces between dry skin cells to give the skin a softer, smoother texture. For this reason, they’re beneficial for those who suffer from excessive dryness and subsequent rough patches of skin. Emollients also help improve skin flexibility and promote proper skin barrier function.

If you have rough or bumpy-feeling skin, try adding emollient moisturizers to your regular skincare routine. Our iconic best-selling Ultra Facial Cream (Kiehl’s number one product worldwide) is formulated with olive-derived squalane, a skin-friendly emollient known for its ability to moisturize the skin without leaving behind a heavy or greasy feel. This cult-classic face cream provides 24-hour lasting hydration to balance even skin’s driest areas with 2.3 times more moisture. The lightweight formula absorbs easily and is clinically-demonstrated to improve the skin’s texture and appearance within just one week of consistent use.*

*Results based on a four-week clinical test.

Pair your moisturizer with a face oil, such as Midnight Recovery Concentrate, for added benefits. Our luxurious nighttime face oil contains olive-derived squalane, evening primrose oil, and fragrant lavender essential oil. The nourishing formula boosts essential moisture to help restore and refine skin’s texture overnight. Apply a few drops to clean, dry skin before bed for smoother, more radiant-looking skin come sunrise.

Tip #4: Target Blemishes and Breakouts

Sometimes, rough, bumpy skin is a side effect of clogged pores. Often, clogged pores result from a buildup of dead skin, which regular exfoliation can help address. However, an overproduction of sebum—your skin’s natural oil—can have the same effect. In either case, the end result is the same: the formation of breakouts, such as blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. Following a skincare routine for acne-prone skin is key to manage these breakouts and clogged pores. It’s also essential to ensure your skin is adequately hydrated, as excessive dryness can trigger your body to produce more oil, ultimately resulting in more congestion.

If you have blemish-prone skin, look for gentle skincare products that won’t strip your skin’s natural moisture barrier, like Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner. This mild, alcohol-free toner for normal and oily skin is formulated with soothing calendula extract and allantoin. Our cult-classic formula helps cleanse skin without over-drying for a soothed, refreshed feel.

After toning, restore your skin’s balance with a lightweight, non-comedogenic face oil, such as Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate. This face oil for problem skin is formulated with 100% naturally-derived ingredients, including Cannabis sativa seed oil and green oregano oil.* The calming formula helps restore hydration and strengthens the skin’s natural moisture barrier. It also helps calm the feeling of stressed skin for a more balanced appearance. Use two to three drops daily to help relieve stressed, blemish-prone skin.

*We consider ingredients to be naturally-derived if they retain more than 50% of their molecular structure after processing from a natural source.

Tip #5: Address Age-Related Concerns

As you age, your skin undergoes several notable changes. Collagen production slows, which can result in the development of fine lines and an uneven skin texture. Additionally, skin becomes drier and less elastic, and cell turnover slows—which, as we explained earlier, can result in rough, bumpy-feeling skin.

To help mitigate the effects of skin aging and limit the associated roughness, we recommend adding an anti-aging cream, like Super Multi-Corrective Anti-Aging Face and Neck Cream, to your regular skincare routine. This potent moisturizer is formulated with phytomimetic vitamin A, chaga mushroom, and hydrating hyaluronic acid. It’s clinically-demonstrated to reduce wrinkles and improve skin’s texture within just four weeks.* With continued use, it helps address additional signs of aging, including roughness, dullness, and skin discolorations. This effective formula is suitable for all skin types and can be used daily to promote smoother, more radiant-looking skin.

*Results based on a 12-week consumer study of 53 panelists in the US.

Next: How To Even Skin Tone: 7 Easy Steps

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