No matter what skin type you have, dealing with rough skin on your face is certainly no fun. The uneven texture can leave you looking older than you really are and make it difficult to get a flawless finish for your makeup. Softening facial skin usually requires effective hydration and exfoliation so you aren't stuck with rough, flaky patches, so you may need to use multiple products to get your skin as soft and smooth as you want it.
If your face is rough and flaky, your skin may actually be dehydrated. Using products that are too potent or harsh can easily strip it of moisture, and it can start with your cleanser. Facial cleansers that contain soap are often drying and may make skin feel rough and uneven. Using water to rinse off your cleanser twice a day can also make dehydrated skin feel even drier. If your skin is dehydrated and you want softer skin, Health Magazine recommends opting for a soap-free cleanser that doesn't require water to rinse away – apply the cleanser in gentle circular motions and then use a clean, soft wash cloth or tissue to wipe it away.
Even if you use a gentle cleanser, your face can feel rough if you don't hydrate properly. Finding the right moisturizer depends on skin type. If your skin is naturally dry, Real Simple suggests a cream formula that contains water-binding ingredients like niacinimide and hyaluronic acid. Other ingredients to look for include dimethicone and glycerin. For sensitive skin, choose a moisturizer that doesn't contain any artificial colors or fragrances that may irritate your face and make it rough. If you have oily skin, you still need a moisturizer to hydrate and soften your skin, particularly if you're using acne treatment products. Go with a lightweight gel moisturizer that's oil-free so it won't clog pores.
If your face still feels rough after proper cleansing and moisturizing, you may need to exfoliate for softer skin. Using a facial scrub one to three times a week can remove the dead skin cells that sit on the surface of your face and make it dull and rough. However, choose a gentle scrub, because a formula with large, rough particles can actually damage skin. Look for a scrub with jojoba beads, which are gentler. If you have dry skin, use the scrub once a week. If you have normal to oily skin, you can use it two to three times a week. Start by moistening your face with warm water; massage a small amount of the scrub into your skin in a circular, upward motion. After working the scrub in for 30 to 60 seconds, rinse it off with warm water and apply moisturizer for softer, brighter skin.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Manual exfoliation with a scrub isn’t the only way to soften skin. Chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids can make your face feel softer and smoother. These acids, derived from food products like fruit and dairy, loosen dead skin on the surface of your face to reveal fresh, new skin below. Glycolic acid is usually the most effective alpha hydroxy acid, but if you have sensitive skin, you may be better off using lactic acid. For the best results, look for an AHA product that contains a concentration of 10 percent or less and has a pH of 3.0 to 3.2. You can use your AHA product daily to keep your skin soft unless you have sensitive skin -- in that case, an every other day application may be better to keep your skin from getting red and flaky. AHAs also increase sun sensitivity, so remember to wear sunscreen daily when using them.