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Want Smooth, Glowy Skin? Here Are 12 Easy, Expert-Approved Steps to Get You There

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If you’re wondering how to get smooth skin naturally, it might be time to reexamine your routine. From the environment to stress and your diet, there are a variety of factors that can leave your complexion looking rough and dull. If you have a fair skin tone, frequent blackheads, or your skin suffers from psoriasis or other skin health concerns, you have to take even greater precautions. Whatever the case, it’s worth it because healthy skin = smoother skin. Don’t want to book an appointment for the dermatologist? Read on for at-home expert tips from AMEON founder Alina Mehrle and licensed esthetician Josie Holmes that will help your skin feel and look baby-soft.

About the Experts:

Josie Holmes is an esthetician at SKINNEY Medspa in NYC. She is passionate about the intersection of natural beauty and innovative skincare.
Alina Mehrle is the New York City-based founder of luxury skincare brand AMEON—something she developed after chemotherapy affected her skin.

But first: What causes rough skin?

Wondering why your skin’s been feeling rough? “Most rough skin can be a result of dryness, dehydration, and a buildup of dead skin cells,” says Holmes. If your skin’s texture has just recently started feeling rough, the climate you live in may contribute to the change in your skin’s texture. “Our skin has a natural balance between natural oils and water, and when these are out of balance, you can tell by your skin,” says Holmes. If you vacation in a warmer, more humid climate for example, your skin’s levels may get thrown off course, causing your complexion to feel rough.

Not only can the weather and your surrounding environment contribute to your skin's texture, but your lifestyle also plays a part. If you’re a night owl who runs on very little sleep, you may be able to make it through the day, but it may eventually start to show—on your face. “Life choices, such as drinking and smoking can also play a role in being prone to having rough skin,” says Holmes. While there are a variety of factors you can control, unfortunately some of us are prone to rough skin conditions regardless of how strictly you follow your skincare routine—it’s just in your genes. “There are certain rough skin disorders, such as eczema and keratosis pilaris, that can be influenced by genetics,” says Holmes.

Ready to see softer skin? These tips can help.

12 Ways to Get Smoother Skin

1. Chemically Exfoliate

The number one method to get you baby-soft skin is exfoliation. “Exfoliation removes oils and impurities from the skin, assists in product penetration, and increases cellular turnover and circulation,” says Holmes. By exfoliating, you slough off dead skin cells and clear out dirt, bacteria, grime, and buildup that accumulates on the surface of your skin. If you’re unsure how to exfoliate your face, you have a variety of choices: chemical exfoliants, mechanical exfoliants, or exfoliators that incorporate a mix of both. You can pick an exfoliation method based on your skin type.

Types of chemical exfoliants

“If you have dry, rough skin, I would recommend utilizing an exfoliant that contains alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, or enzymes,” says Holmes.

These can come in the form of thin liquids, serums, or lotions, like cult favorite, BIOLOGIQUE RECHERCHE Lotion P50, which exfoliates, cleanses, and purifies. They can also come in the form of over-the-counter non-abrasive peels like SKIN INC.’s Pure Revival Peel. We use these products because they prep the skin for maximum absorption of skincare treatments that follow.

How to cleanse and exfoliate at the same time

While chemical exfoliation may sound intense, it’s actually not abrasive, making it a safe choice for sensitive skin and anyone who frequently deals with bad breakouts. Look for cleansers or nightly treatments that incorporate glycolic acid or lactic acid. If you’re prone to blemishes, salicylic acid can work wonders on acne-causing bacteria to unveil smooth skin underneath.

How often you should chemically exfoliate

Depending on your skin type, you can perform this process a few times a week to get glowing skin. “Oily skin can be actually exfoliated three to five times a week,” says Holmes. If you don’t exfoliate regularly, you’ll be left with a dull-looking, rough complexion.

2. Physically Exfoliate

Dermaplane tools

There are several ways to physically exfoliate, but if you don’t have sensitive or acne-prone skin, we personally recommend dermaplaning your face (yes, shaving). Dermaplaning is using a straight-edge razor to remove dead skin, pore-clogging debris, and facial hair (aka peach fuzz) from the surface of your skin. But it also provides long-term benefits like anti-aging, decongestion, and better absorption of skincare. It’s not something you’re going to do anywhere near as frequently as chemical exfoliation, but two to four times a month is recommended.

While you’ll maximize your results by going to a professional, you can easily tackle the process from home. We opt for the DERMAFLASH Luxe Anti-Aging Dermaplaning Exfoliation Device or the STACKED SKINCARE Dermaplaning Tool.

Face scrubs

If you’re hesitant to shave your face, other forms of physical exfoliation include using a granular scrub. The AHAVA Facial Mud Exfoliator is packed with actual minerals from the Dead Sea, which is known for its skin-healing properties. We love how the tiny granules exfoliate, soften, and smooth the skin’s surface.

Exfoliating cloths

With just a hint of water, something like the MAXINE WARSH The Warsh Cloth can gently exfoliate without any additional products necessary.

3. Drink Plenty of Water

The secret to healthy skin isn’t just about what we put on our face, but what we put in our bodies. “Our body is made up of about 80% water, and our cells need water to function properly,” says Holmes. The more water you drink, the more it plumps up your cells, (which includes your skin cells), allowing them to work efficiently and remove toxins. “Drinking water will help your skin look nourished, hydrated, and healthy,” says Holmes. Try to drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day to keep your complexion smooth.

4. Try a Honey Face Mask

You can reap all the benefits of exfoliation by reaching for a kitchen staple that works wonders on your skin: honey. “Honey contains levels of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and enzymes that help to exfoliate the skin by sloughing away dead skin cells, removing dirt and grime, reducing excess oils, and clearing out pores all without damaging the skin's acid mantle,” says Holmes. Learn more about the benefits of honey for your skin, and use the natural exfoliant to make your own face mask. Mix one tablespoon of raw honey or Manuka honey with two tablespoons of whole-fat Greek yogurt for a hydrating complexion booster. Apply to your face for 15 to 20 minutes, wet a washcloth with lukewarm water, and use the warm washcloth to remove.

5. Use the Right Moisturizer

Identify your skin type

Moisturizing is key to keeping your complexion soft and smooth, but in order to get the most out of your face lotion, it’s best to find the right moisturizer for your skin type. Holmes says the most potent ingredients for correcting rough, dry skin include enzymes, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and ceramides. Ceramides in particular “restore moisture to your skin cells,” says Holmes. Check out our list of best moisturizers for dry, sensitive skin.

The best moisturizers for combination skin are made of lightweight, non-comedogenic, mattifying formulas that can significantly improve your skin’s texture. Even if you have oily skin, you still need to incorporate moisturizer in your routine. If you don’t, your oil glands will get kicked into overdrive and will produce even more oil, which can lead to clogged pores and bad breakouts. The best moisturizers for oily skin serve up moisture without excess oil, thanks to a combination of oil-free formulas and nourishing ingredients.

Implement hyaluronic acid into your moisturizing routine

Another powerful ingredient that helps smooth skin is hyaluronic acid, which your skin soaks up like a tall drink of water. “HA helps to restore hydration to your skin,” says Holmes. If you’re looking for a quick way to achieve smooth skin, your best bet is incorporating HA into your skincare routine. Thanks to its humectant properties, it acts like a sponge to draw water to your skin and boost your hydration levels. While a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid is ideal for anyone with dry skin, most formulas are lightweight, so they also work well on oily and combination skin, too.

6. Slather on SPF

Why it’s important

When we think of smooth skin, the first image that comes to mind is that of a newborn baby—and one of the reasons why a baby’s skin is so soft is because they haven’t been exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Wearing SPF every single day is the key to keeping your skin healthy and smooth—and that includes during the winter (and on cloudy days!). Up to 80 percent of UV rays can pass through clouds and they can even penetrate your car window.

Harmful effects of UV rays

“UV rays cause your body to release oils and water, leaving your skin feeling dry and dehydrated after direct exposure,” says Holmes. It may take years to see the visible effects of fun in the sun. That’s because over time, prolonged exposure breaks down the collagen fibers and elastin in your skin, which can leave you with a rougher, leathery-looking complexion.

If you’re going to be outside, bring along your best hat and slather on sunscreen (opt for SPF 30 or higher), and be sure to reapply every two hours. For added sun protection, you can also wear UPF clothing to keep the rest of your body safe from the sun.

7. Get Your Vitamin C Intake

While you can’t completely reverse years of sun damage, you can repair your skin’s barrier and prevent further damage with a healthy dose of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps fade sun spots and can brighten and smooth your complexion overall. “Vitamin C applied to the skin acts as a superficial exfoliant and antioxidant, reducing hyperpigmentation, improving signs of fine lines and wrinkles, and prevents damage from free radicals,” says Holmes.

If you aren’t already incorporating vitamin C into your skincare routine, you can start using it daily in the morning to prep your skin and improve its tone. As you go about your day, it’ll work to keep harmful free radicals at bay from environmental stressors which include the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays and pollution. We especially love SUNDAY RILEY C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum, which is suitable for all skin types and works to reinforce your skin’s moisture barrier, all while reducing fine lines, dark spots, and pores to leave you with a luminous glow.

8. Sleep With a Humidifier

Air conditioning and heating can cause your skin to lose moisture, so use a humidifier while you sleep. “One of my favorite tricks for dry and dull skin is to use a humidifier and implement oils into your skin care routine,” says Holmes. Central air, a powerful fan, or heating system can also severely dry out skin. Seal in your skincare products during your evening routine with a face oil and then use a humidifier while you snooze to maximize results. “A humidifier will add moisture back into the area and oils will signal your skin to not over-produce sebum,” says Holmes.

9. Reach for Retinol

If you want to improve the way your skin looks and feels, it might be time to incorporate the powerful anti-aging properties of retinol in your routine. Retinol, a vitamin A derivative and resurfacing ingredient, works to stimulate collagen production, which helps improve fine lines and wrinkles. As a result, you’re left with younger-looking and softer-feeling skin.

Achieving smooth skin doesn’t require a shopping spree for a completely new line of products. Instead, small changes to your daily routine can make a major difference in how your skin looks and feels.

10. Incorporate Superfoods Into Your Daily Diet

Mehrle jokes that if you didn’t win the genetic lottery, superfoods are almost always a must. “The right diet is necessary for smooth skin,” she says. “I try to eat a superfood-packed diet, which includes good fats such as fish and berries, at least three to four days a week.”

As we all know, sugar is good for no one—and if your skin is suffering, you just might have to swap out the sweet stuff for something nutritious. “Instead of dessert and sugar, I eat berries,” Mehrle says. “Berries are really important and can transform your skin because of the amount of antioxidants.”

11. Ice Your Skin

Another tip Mehrle enforces to keep the skin shining bright? “I recommend doing skin icing before applying serum at least two to three times a week,” she says. “When you ice your skin, it causes blood vessels to constrict and then dilate, pulsing oxygen and nutrients deep into the skin cells. Your skin may get a bit rosy immediately after skin icing, but it will return to normal in a few minutes. After completing the ritual, your skin will be smooth and beautiful, ready for serum and moisturizer, which will also penetrate deeper after skin icing.”

If you’re new to icing, Mehrle recommends using AMEON’s Glow Manifesto Frozen Essences with abyssine plant extracts for morning—and AMEON Supreme Energy Frozen Essences with a multimineral complex and fruit acids for evening.

12. Use an LED Light

At-home LED lights have grown in popularity over the last few years, thanks to their ability to promote anti-aging effects and reduce inflammation. While they’re beneficial for everyone, they’re especially recommended for people with acne scars and psoriasis. The SKIN INC. Tri-Light + SABI AI LED device is a next-level tool that serves as a virtual wellness and skin coach, while implementing five targeted LED lights that you use to customize your own specialized routine. If you’re new to LED lights and you’re after something a little simpler, the DANIELLE CREATIONS 3in1 LED Light Therapy Treatment Mask will help stimulate collagen, promote an even complexion, and shrink the appearance of pores.

Want in on all the skin-smoothing fun? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own IPSY beauty subscription that includes skincare, makeup and more. Already an IPSY member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and TikTok @IPSY.

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Want to swoop up the right serums and moisturizers to give you the smooth skin you crave? Get in on the IPSY Glam Bag fun by taking our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Dahvi Shira
Dahvi Shira
Dahvi Shira is a Los Angeles-based beauty writer, who has a passion for hair, makeup, and skincare. She contributes regularly to Mane Addicts and her blog, Skyelyfe. Her work has also appeared on Glossy, People, E!, Sweety High and more.
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Article Last Updated August 15, 2023 12:00 AM