How To Get Smoother Skin
Your skincare journey is personal, whether it’s tackling acne, smoothing wrinkles, or hydrating dry patches. If you’re looking for that picture-perfect glow with effortlessly smooth skin (without photoshop), what you use on your skin matters. Irregular texture, acne scars, and pimples may be getting in the way of your skin goals!
What Causes Rough Skin?
The rough skin we see and feel is a result of damage to our largest organ, the skin barrier. This can happen for many reasons-- friction from pillowcases causing chronic rubbing, exposure to polluted water or other irritants, a lack of sun protection, lack of lipid moisture, etc. While you may have curated an easy skincare routine, the ingredients you use on your skin may be contributing to your rough skin as well. Genetics play a huge part in your skin’s health, as it works to protect your skin from outside elements. All in all, too much of anything can throw off your skin’s natural balance.
Those pesky unwanted bumps could be a sign of something more serious. There are many skin conditions that need a dermatologist’s opinion and possible prescription drug treatment-- like eczema, psoriasis, or keratosis pilaris (the itchy little bumps that occur on people’s arms and thighs), or even fungus. Once you understand what condition your skin is suffering from, it is so much easier to treat and learn what ingredients will help, or harm your skin.
Firstly, it is super important to emphasize that you should try to upkeep a skin routine to properly care for your skin barrier. Proper cleansing is the best way to start your skincare routine and changes depending on your skin type. You have dry skin if it feels tight, dehydrated, with dry patches of flaky, sometimes irritated skin. Go for more hydrating cleansers like a moisturizing cream or oil cleanser, or you can just use an oil like castor oil to help break down the oils in your makeup, and remove any dirt, grime, or grease that is on your face. If you have oilier skin, that shows in acne-prone, shiny, and clogged pores. Opt for the more traditional foam or gel cleanser to thoroughly cleanse away excess oil, like the WOW Skin Science Apple Cider Vinegar Face Wash W/ Brush. The soft silicone bristle brush is great for exfoliating and unclogging pores, which can eventually lead to acne. Properly cleansing will leave your skin ready to soak up the good ingredients in the rest of your skincare routine.
Exfoliation is Essential
Just like sanding down rough wood to make it smoother, exfoliation is a key technique to unclogging pores, and getting the smooth skin you’re looking for-- but... don’t get too crazy. Physical exfoliants can be harsh and cause microtears in your skin, so opt for a chemical exfoliator or something gentle like the WOW Skin Science Apple Cider Vinegar Face Wash W/ Brush, The brush will do a good job at exfoliating away dead skin without being too abrasive on the skin barrier since it is silicone.
You can also go for chemical exfoliants like AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids, e.g. salicylic acid) to encourage skin cell turnover and exfoliate the top layers of dead cells that are clogging your pores. The skin on the rest of your body also gets builds up and can get rough, dry, and patchy. If you suffer from body acne, chemical exfoliants are great to use for the rest of your body as well. You can also use common ingredients as physical exfoliators like coffee grounds or sugar for the body. Since your body’s skin is thicker, it can take larger physical abrasion from sugar crystals, etc.
Like with anything in life, less is more. Stick to exfoliating 1-2 times a week to start. By exfoliating constantly, we end up removing the good oils that hydrate our face naturally. Keep the balance so your skin doesn’t look even more dry, tight, sensitive, and red.
Actives that work
Using treatments with active ingredients is an effective way to target specific skin concerns and areas of your face. Look for actives that help to nourish, brighten the skin, and promote skin cell turnover, like these active ingredients:
Retinol is derived from vitamin A and converts to retinoic acid when it is absorbed into the skin. This anti-aging staple is an active ingredient that increases skin-cell turnover, collagen, and elastin production. These are the building blocks of your skin, making it firmer and more supple-looking. When including this in your skincare routine, be sure to use SPF or just wear it at night so it doesn’t make your skin extra sensitive. Start off using it once a week and build up your skin’s tolerance to 2-3 times a week! It’s strong stuff, so a little goes a long way.
Vitamin C is an essential ingredient for your skin, and general health. UV rays from the sun decrease vitamin C levels inside the skin, so using it topically will help increase your levels. Vitamin C is loved for its anti-aging benefits that help to repair existing skin damage. One cause of skin damage to avoid is from the sun-- UV rays have free radicals that launch tiny attacks on the healthy cells in our bodies, and this includes skin cells too. Vitamin C actually helps to block free radical damage before it even happens, thanks to its antioxidant properties!
Hydrating ingredients like aloe vera or cocoa butter are both high in vitamins A, B, C, etc. The additional nourishment helps seal in moisture, and improve your skin texture over time. A great hack is applying hydrating products right out of the shower, without towel drying. Instead of compensating for drying off those water droplets, you can seal them right in by applying moisturizer on damp skin. You’ll save time and be extra hydrated!
Make your skincare work harder
If we look at the layers of our skin, most skin care products do not penetrate very deep. There’s only so much change that can be made when the products stay surface level. You can use tools like a dermaroller, which pokes tiny holes in your skin with a bunch of microneedles. This signals to your skin to encourage collagen growth and lets your skincare seep even deeper and work harder. Applying a hydrating oil like castor oil on derma rolled skin, or any other kind of hydrating and skin-boosting serum like hyaluronic acid will intensively nourish your skin.
Facial massages are a tried and trendy way to improve lymphatic drainage and boost blood circulation for healthy skin repair. You can do this through a myriad of ways, but the most common one is using a face roller, like jade rollers, gua sha, or even just using your hands and fingers to perform a lymphatic massage. Because our lymphatic system is spread out all around our body, any kind of physical stimulation helps to drain out and move around the fluid that can build up in those areas. These kinds of massages help promote blood flow around the body that can help the skin appear much more youthful and glowy.
Using a dry brush on your body can be of tremendous help for smooth skin. Dry brushing has long been used to help promote blood flow and circulation, which helps boost firmness in the skin. Brush on dry skin towards your heart to help stimulate your lymphatic system. The bristles exfoliate away any flakiness and can help with ingrown hairs. Just make sure to follow up with a body oil afterward to hydrate after the exfoliation from the dry brush. Lastly, using a silk pillow while you sleep is a great option to lessen the harsh friction that can pull and cause fine lines, rough, and sagging skin.
Protect Your Skin
One of THE most important things you can do for your skin health is to apply sunscreen. Sun protection is essential to getting smooth skin because it helps prevent sunburn, sun damage by the UV rays and allows for collagen to continue to renew. Prolonged sun exposure can cause dry, rough, and worst of all, leathery-looking skin. Using a product with at least SPF30 and reapplying every 2 hours is key to staying protected. However, no sunscreen completely blocks 100% of UV rays, so dermatologists recommend you stay out of the sun from 10 AM to 4 PM as much as possible and to wear protective clothing like hats, sunglasses, long sleeves, etc. to help fight against the sun’s damaging rays. Make sure to apply SPF all over, or at least on the areas of the rest of your body that might be showing in the sun.
W A T E R
We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the most important thing you can do to feed dry, dehydrated skin-- drink water! It is so important to drink enough water, especially if you want your skin to look glowy and supple. A lack of hydration can cause the skin to also dry up and end up looking rough, scaly, dull, and sallow. Drinking at least a gallon of water a day is the ideal because then you are flushing out any toxins in the body and helping to hydrate each and every cell.
The secret to smooth skin isn’t as easy as we wish, but it can be done with changes to your routine. Proper skin care requires the constant need for updating and researching what kinds of products and ingredients are the best for our skin needs. Proper cleansing, exfoliating, hydrating, and protecting (with SPF) are key to getting smoother and younger-looking skin. Good luck!