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  • Writer's pictureKayla Borgen

5 Winter Skin Care Mistakes You're Making (and how to fix them!)

1. You’re using the same facial cleanser you used during summer

Just like how you want to switch from a regular moisturizer in the summer to one that’s ultra-hydrating in the winter, the same method should apply to your facial cleanser. “Winter is a good time to switch to using more gentle cleansers that don’t strip away moisture. Avoid cleansers that have a high concentration of traditional soap solvents such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and avoid overuse of facial cleansers that have high acid content (salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acids such as glycol acid),” Dr. Akhavan says. “A better option is switching to cleansers that hydrate while they cleanse,” he recommends.

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2. Your moisturizer is not enough

When in doubt in the winter months—moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! But don’t just opt for super-hydrating formulas without putting in the time to understand the frequency and timing of using them. In fact, Dr. Akhavan says the more often you apply, the better off you’ll be at fighting against aging. “In winter months, it is important to hydrate your skin often and regularly,” he explains. “One of the best times to moisturize your face and your body is when you first come out of the shower or bath. I suggest toweling off but leaving your skin slightly wet as you apply your moisturizer. Moisturizer spreads more easily on damp skin,” explains Dr. Akhavan.

Try: Moisturize! With a good quality moisturizer. Try Thymes Olive Leaf Body Lotion, available at Weekends!

3. You’re not using a humidifier

What happens when you put together chilly temperatures outside and dry, unforgiving heat indoors? A nighttime ritual that demands a lot more attention than slapping on some night cream and heading to sleep. Jessie Cheung MD, director at The Dermatology and Laser Center in Illinois, says that a humidifier will do wonders for your winter skin. “Get a cool mist humidifier and aim it towards your face while you’re sleeping—this combats the loss of moisture from your skin as your heater runs more overnight from the drop in the temperature. As your skin gets more hydrated, it looks glow-y since it reflects more light,” she says.

4. You’re not exfoliating

While you might think exfoliating when your skin has the potential to already be dry and sensitive is a bad idea, it’s actually the opposite. The only way to get rid of dead cells is to make sure you’re deep cleansing. “Sometimes when our skin gets overly dry, it becomes less efficient at exfoliating and dead skin cells can build up on the surface causing the skin to have a dull appearance. This can be especially true in areas such as the elbows, knees, ankles and feet which can be more susceptible to buildup,” Dr. Akhavan says.

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5. You stopped applying sunscreen

You might be annoyed when your mom reminds you for the 100th time to wear sunscreen year-round, but it’s one warning you want to keep close to your heart and at the top of your priority list. Even when there’s six inches of snow on the ground, you still run the risk of sun damage on your skin, no matter your age or location. “Many people unfortunately forget to apply their sunscreen during winter months. Ultraviolet rays are still present even on the coldest and cloudiest days of winter and protecting your skin from harmful effects of the sun is important when you are spending time outdoors,” Dr. Akhavan says. “There are many products available that are great moisturizers in addition to sunscreens serving an important dual role in dry winter months.”

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