10 Common Winter Skincare Mistakes & How to Avoid Them (PHOTOS)

The most wonderful time of the year! And also ... not. Right? At least when it comes to your skin: between the harsh weather outside and the dry heat inside, this season's conditions can be really hard on a pretty face. The good news is it's totally possible to keep your skin healthy and gorgeous all winter long -- so long as you avoid making these common winter skin mistakes! 

Click through the slideshow to see what the most common skincare blunders are this time of year, and what you can do instead. 

I confess to being guilty of #3 most of all! How about you?

woman in hat and braids in winter

Images ©iStock.com/Georgijevi; ©iStock.com/Plougmann

  • Waiting Until Your Skin Gets Really Dry & Itchy to Start Treating It


    Image ©iStock.com/PeopleImages

    Every winter I get really dry, super itchy skin SOMEWHERE on my body -- usually my lower legs and/or chest. I finally got smart last winter and started babying my skin BEFORE the height of winter dryness set in. Genius! I like to take baths with a product that contains colloidal oatmeal and slather on an extra heavy-duty moisturizer every day that's more like an ointment. Get started on your regime before it's already itchy torture time!

  • Using the Same Beauty & Skin Care Products as All Summer


    Image via Love Meagan/Flickr

    What worked for your skin all summer isn't necessarily going to work for you during ski season. Consider switching to a balm-style cleanser that won't dry out your skin; ponder an oil-based moisturizer (or one that contains petroleum, which will seal in moisture); think about a foundation that's a combo of moisturizer + foundation for a more nourishing coverage.

  • Skipping the Sunblock


    Image ©iStock.com/Stock Shop Photography LLC

    It may be cold outside, but your skin can still get cooked by the sun! A moisturizer with SPF makes staying protected from harmful rays a no-brainer, or just make layering a non-greasy face SPF over your moisturizer part of your routine.

  • Not Hydrating -- Your Body, That Is


    Image ©iStock.com/PeopleImages

    Winter can be deceptive: we're often not as hot and sweaty, so we don't necessarily feel as thirsty as in the summer. But not drinking enough water, paired with all the extra holiday party libations (cheers!), can really do a number on your skin. Keep a big container of lemon- or cucumber-flavored water or herbal tea with you at your desk or at home to remind yourself to drink up.

  • Going to Bed With Naked Lips


    Image ©iStock.com/millann

    Our poor, sensitive lip skin often bears the worst brunt of cold winds and drying indoor heat. Slather on some lip balm before you hit the hay to help repair and protect your kissers all night long.

  • Taking Long, Hot Showers


    Image ©iStock.com/ariwasabi

    Hot showers can feel sooooooo good on a cold, dark day ... but they can really be drying to your skin. Keep the water closer to warm than steaming hot, and when you get out, slather on a layer of body oil or even almond or coconut oil from your pantry!

  • Forgoing the Exfoliation


    Image ©iStock.com/djma

    If your skin is dry and/or chapped, you may be afraid to exfoliate, but (gently) doing so can actually help your skin absorb moisture -- and look brighter and more radiant. You can use a gentle scrub or, for really sensitive skin, a skin care product with a mild exfoliating agent, like "microbeads" and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs).

  • Forgetting About Fresh Fruits & Veggies


    Image via Stacy Spensley/Flickr

    In the summer, fresh fruits and vegetables are everywhere, but if you're like me, in wintertime, your thoughts turn to comfort food. (GIVE ME CARBS!) It's so important to your overall health AND to your complexion to make sure you keep up with your dark leafy greens and your vitamin-packed fruits. Pomegranates are chock-full of antioxidants!

  • Using Harsh Tissues


    Image ©iStock.com/Squaredpixels

    All it takes is ONE day of using regular tissues or even TP for a runny nose, and my poor face is soooo red and raw. It's worth splurging a few extra cents on super soft tissues with lotion, and keeping the skin around your nose covered with a heavy ointment or balm. Bless you!

  • Neglecting Your Feet


    Image via littlemiss_sarila/Instagram

    They may be covered up all day with socks and UGGs, but your feet still need TLC! An at-home pedicure or visit to the spa once a month will keep your skin feeling soft and pretty, so your toes don't scare you once things thaw out.


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