Retexture - to sand or not to sand?

I have some walls that have a fairly thick texture, and inconsistencies in texture as a result of various repairs over the years. I'm a bit fond of the type of subtle texture that you would get from (I suppose) just smoothing out joint compound with a trowel. I obviously don't have a lot of experience with this, but I'm going to experiment on a small bathroom first. :-)
I'd like to retexture by just applying it directly over the various layers of paint, but some posts I've read imply that it must be sanded down first. Assuming that I clean the walls with detergent, would I be able to safely apply a skim coat of joint compound, then primer, and follow-up with the new paint?
TIA,
Dave
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David Graham wrote:

Yes I've done so many times with great success and - no prior sanding. May take several light coats if the divets are deep.
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