To address hydrogen embrittlement (HE), there have been tremendous efforts in exploring microstructure design and surface coatings solutions. Here, we propose a different strategy based on changing the surface characteristics for improved HE resistance. Surface processing methods can create complex effects, altering subsurface microstructure and surface roughness simultaneously. While the high defect density beneath the deformed surface can hinder H diffusion into the bulk, increased surface roughness often leads to increased corrosion rate and diminished fatigue life. Interestingly, in our investigations, rough surfaces of commercial grade 316 stainless steel and Ti-6Al-4V suffered no susceptibility, whereas polished surfaces were found to suffer from HE and hydride growth during H charging. Here, we employed commonly available surface deformation techniques (e.g. sand blasting, peening) to carry out systematic investigations of surface roughness, subsurface defect density, H content, to test the limits of the proposed technique to elude HE.