Stop Making These Winter Skin Care Mistakes

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Common Winter Skin Care Missteps

close-up of woman standing in the snow
Daniel Koebe/Getty Images

Cold weather brings with it certain skin care problems, including dry, itchy skin, cracked hands, and flaky lips. When the weather outside gets chilly, the air inside has a lot less moisture which can dry out your skin. Indoor heating along with harsh winds will also dry out your skin.

How can you prevent these skin care problems in the first place? What is the best way to treat these common winter skin care issues? Keep reading to find out which common winter skin care mistakes so many people make and how to correct them.

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Not Changing Your Skincare Products

You cannot use the same skin care products year around. Your skin needs different products as the seasons change, particularly in the winter when the air around you is so dry.  

If you are using a foaming cleanser with facial acids in it now is the time to switch to a cleanser that is creamy or oil-based like Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser or Murad Resurgence Renewing Cleansing Cream.  

Think about the moisturizer you are using. Even if you have oily skin you need a moisturizer. Moisturizing helps to keep our skin in balance and healthy. Winter weather means that your skin needs extra hydration. You could switch to a creamier and heavier moisturizer or add a facial oil to your routine in order to give your skin that extra boost of hydration that it needs. Be sure to also stay well hydrated from the inside out by drinking plenty of water and caffeine free tea.

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Not Exfoliating

woman getting body scrub at spa
macniak/Getty Images

Just because your body is covered with clothes during the winter doesn't mean you can stop exfoliating your skin. If you stop exfoliating dead skin cells will build up on your skin, and your skin will be flaky and look dull. Plus, your skin care products, especially your moisturizer, will not work as well as it should.  

Since it is winter do not be very aggressive with your exfoliation. Instead look (or make your own) gentle body scrub that combines moisturizing oils with salts or grains to exfoliate your body like Baebody Coconut Milk Body Scrub. Your face needs exfoliation in the winter as well, but, once again, you don't want to use a product that is too harsh. You can try a gentle exfoliant like PCA Skin Gentle Exfoliant or use a konjac sponge with your favorite cleanser.  

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Not Using Sunscreen

Even though the days are shorter you still need sunscreen daily during the winter. You can get just as much sun damage during the winter as you can in the summer. Keep in mind that if you love winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating your skin can even get sunburned while you are outside during the winter since the sun reflects off the snow.  

Be sure to use a moisturizing sunscreen of at least SPF 30 (for your face and lips), and don't forget to apply to such spots as the tops of your ears or the back of your neck while you are outside.  This is critical especially if you are high up on a mountain because sun exposure increases the higher the altitude.

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Forgetting Your Lips and Hands

woman applying moisturizer to lips in winter
Poncho/Getty Images

Our hands and lips take a beating during the winter since we may cover up every inch of our skin except those 2 areas. For this reason, it is super important to moisturize and protect your those areas daily in the winter.  

Take a hand cream and lip balm with you wherever you go and apply those products throughout the day.  With constant reapplication, you can stop your lips and hands from cracking and even bleeding.  

Once you find a product that works for you buy a few so that you have one at home, one in your bag, and one at your office.  For your hands try O'Keeffe's Working Hands Hand Cream or Eucerin Daily Hydration Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Hand Cream and for lips try Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask or Yes to Coconut Naturally Smooth Lip Balm.

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Not Moisturizing at the Right Time

In order for your moisturizer to be most effective, you need to get it on your body at the right time. That right time to moisturize is just after showering when your skin is still damp.  That way you can seal in moisture before it evaporates. This is a crucial step in making sure your skin stays soft during the winter.

Also, don't spend too long in a hot shower during the winter. Hot water robs our skin of much-needed moisture.