Rough Grainy Skin | causes and how to get rid of them

What is rough grainy skin?

Rough, grainy skin is a skin condition characterized by an uneven texture and non-smooth appearance of the skin's surface. This alteration in skin texture can appear as small protuberances, pimples, bumps or rough areas on the skin. The gritty appearance may be more pronounced to the touch and visually, giving the skin an uneven feel.


Causes of Rough Grainy Skin

  1. Showers that are too hot and harsh chemicals

Showers that are too hot can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to excessive dryness. Additionally, the use of harsh chemicals can disrupt the skin's pH balance, contributing to the skin's grainy appearance. Opt for lukewarm showers and use gentle skincare products to avoid irritating your skin.

  1. Inadequate skincare routine

An inadequate skincare routine can also be responsible for grainy skin texture. It's essential to adopt a routine tailored to your skin type, including gentle cleansers, exfoliants and moisturizers. Unsuitable products can clog pores and contribute to the appearance of small spots.

  1. Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris, also known as "chicken skin," is a common skin condition characterized by the appearance of small, rough bumps on the skin's texture , resembling red pimples or irritated hair follicles. These small bumps can have a rough texture, hence the term “granular” often associated with this condition.

The main characteristics of keratosis pilaris include:

  • Appearance: Small, rough bumps usually appear on the arms, thighs, buttocks, or sometimes the face. They may be flesh-colored, reddish, or similar to the color of the surrounding skin.
  • Texture: The lesions often have a rough texture, comparable to that of poultry skin, hence the common name “chicken skin”.

It is caused by the buildup of keratin around hair follicles. Keratin is a protein that contributes to the structure of hair, skin and nails.

Although keratosis pilaris is generally harmless, it can be perceived as aesthetically bothersome. It is not contagious and is not linked to serious health problems. Genetic factors appear to play a role in its development, and it is sometimes associated with dry skin.

  1. Excess sebum and oily skin

Excessive sebum production can make skin oily and contribute to its rough appearance . Sebaceous glands produce sebum to moisturize the skin, but too much can clog pores, leading to problems like pimples and grainy texture.

  1. Dry skin

Dry skin is often the cause of the rough appearance . Moisturizers are essential to maintain skin hydration and prevent flaking. Choose products rich in moisturizing agents such as hyaluronic acid to restore skin suppleness.

Texture and diagnosis of rough grainy skin

The rough texture of the skin can serve as a clue to identify its cause. The main factors leading to discoloration are:

Red: Red, rough patches on the skin on the inside of the elbow, behind the knees, or on other parts of the body may indicate the presence of eczema. Rough, bumpy skin on the back of the arms or thighs is often associated with keratosis pilaris.

White: White, rough skin on the knees and elbows is usually caused by severe dry skin. When it appears on the elbows, knees, face, or elsewhere, red skin covered with white scales can be a sign of psoriasis.

Brown: A dark, rough patch on the skin of the face, arms, or legs may result from actinic keratosis due to excessive sun exposure.

Any unusual areas of rough skin that do not respond to hydration should be examined by a dermatologist. This person will be able to diagnose the cause and recommend appropriate treatment.

How to regain smooth skin ?

  1. Develop an Adapted Care Routine

Identify your skin type and adapt your skincare routine accordingly. Use gentle cleansers, regular exfoliants to remove dead skin cells, and moisturizers appropriate for your skin type.

  1. Avoid Showers that are Too Hot

Opt for lukewarm showers to preserve your skin's natural oils. Limit the time spent in the shower and avoid excessive use of harsh chemicals.

  1. Use Suitable Products

Choose skincare products without harsh chemicals. Choose anti-blemish creams containing ingredients such as salicylic acid to fight against spots while preserving the skin's balance.

  1. Hydrate Regularly

Moisturizers are crucial for maintaining skin hydration. Opt for non-comedogenic formulations to avoid clogging pores.

  1. Exfoliate with Caution

Regular exfoliation can help remove dead skin cells, but too much can make roughness worse. Exfoliate once or twice a week to maintain smooth skin.

  1. Use the right ingredients

To treat grainy skin, it is essential to use skincare products with specific ingredients that target the underlying causes of this condition. Here are some beneficial ingredients for treating grainy skin:

Salicylic Acid : This ingredient is effective in deeply exfoliating, unclogging pores and treating pimples. It is particularly useful for acne-prone skin.

gentle purifying cleanser

Glycolic Acid: This alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) exfoliates the top layer of skin, promoting cell turnover and improving skin texture.

Lactic Acid: This AHA is gentle and hydrating, helping to remove dead skin cells and improve skin smoothness.

  • Intensive Moisturizers

Hyaluronic Acid: A powerful moisturizer that draws water into the skin, promoting deep hydration and reducing roughness.

Glycerin: An effective moisturizing agent that helps maintain the skin's moisture balance.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help brighten skin, reduce blemishes, and stimulate collagen production for smoother skin texture.

Allantoin: A soothing ingredient that promotes cell regeneration, helping to soften the skin.

Beta-Glucan: Known for its soothing properties, beta-glucan can help reduce inflammation and improve skin texture.

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3): This ingredient may help strengthen the skin barrier, reduce inflammation and improve skin texture.

Aloe Vera: Soothing and hydrating, Aloe Vera can help calm irritated skin and promote healing.

Gentle Physical Exfoliants: Fine particles like sugar or oatmeal can be used to gently exfoliate the skin, removing dead cells from the surface.

  1. Consult a Skin Professional

If your rough skin persists despite proper care, consult a dermatologist. They can identify the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment, such as chemical peels or specific treatments.


Rough, grainy skin can be a source of physical and emotional discomfort, but with the right skincare routine and healthy lifestyle choices, smooth, glowing skin can be achieved. Pay attention to the specific needs of your skin, avoid external aggressions, and do not hesitate to consult a skin professional for personalized advice. By caring for your skin properly, you can reveal a soft, radiant texture, contributing to renewed self-confidence.


  1. Baumann, L. (2009) Cosmetic Dermatology: Principles and Practice (pp.83-91). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical
  2. Baumann, L. (2015) Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp.77-79). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical
  3. Pathogenesis and therapy of psoriasis.
  6. Ruzicka T, Przybilla B, Ring J (2006) Handbook of Atopic Eczema; 2nd edition; Springer