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5 Winter Skincare Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Winter weather can take a serious toll on your body, especially your skin! When it comes to skincare, you should be changing up your routine with the seasons to make sure that your skin has everything it needs to be healthy and radiant. Winter skincare is notoriously tricky, and there is a lot of conflicting information out there about what you should and shouldn't be doing during the colder months. Well, Her Campus is here to set the record straight and shed some light on some of the most common winter skincare mistakes you're probably making.

1. Going overboard with exfoliants

Winter skin tends to get flaky and dry, so the natural solution would be to use an exfoliant to slough away that dead skin, right? Wrong! Overexfoliating can leave your skin even more dry and irritated, not to mention patchy and itchy. Aim to exfoliate the skin on your face and body once or twice a week to keep dead skin at bay and reveal radiant new skin. Use a grittier exfoliant, like the St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub ($4.29 at Walgreens), on your body and a gentler scrub, like the Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Scrub ($5.29 at Target) on your face to avoid overstripping your skin.

2. Not using moisturizer (or using too much!)

For oily-skinned girls, winter can seem like a welcome break from worrying about T-zone shine, but even oily skins need added moisture in the winter. Though you may feel like reaching for toner over moisturizer, a lack of moisture will actually tell your body to produce more oil to compensate, leading to shinier skin that causes your face to be both oily and dehydrated at the same time! Even if you have oily to combination skin, it's important to use a lightweight moisturizer, like the Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer for Combination/Oily Skin ($8.94 at Walmart), throughout winter.

For girls with drier skin, while it can be tempting to combat dry winter skin by piling on the moisturizer, overmoisturizing can actually lead to breakouts and blemishes. Think of your skin like a sponge that can only absorb so much moisture; if you apply too much moisturizer, the excess that can't be absorbed will just sit on your skin, clogging pores and leading to breakouts. You know you're using the right amount of moisturizer if it absorbs within five minutes and doesn't leave behind a residue on the skin.

3. Taking steaming hot showers

We know—nothing feels better after a long day of classes than a hot shower, but cranking up the heat too much can strip your skin of its natural moisture and cause irritation, redness and itchiness. Keep the water warm but not hot and try to limit your time in the shower, for the environment's sake as well as your skin's! Use a moisturizing body wash, like the Nivea Touch of Smoothness Moisturizing Body Wash ($6.49 at CVS) in the shower and be sure to follow up with a rich lotion or body butter, like the Warm Vanilla Sugar Body Butter ($16.50 at Bath & Body Works) as soon as you hop out (bonus points if your skin is still damp!), as this will help lock in moisture and soften your skin.

4. Neglecting delicate areas

While most collegiettes use a facial moisturizer in the winter, it's important to pay attention to the more delicate areas of your face, like your lips and eyes. Resist the temptation to lick your lips when they're feeling dry and opt for a hydrating lip balm, like the Nivea A Kiss of Milk & Honey Soothing Lip Care ($3.19 at Walgreens) instead. If you're not already using an eye cream, pick one up from Sephora or even your local drugstore and apply it morning and night around your orbital bone to keep the delicate skin around your eyes hydrated. Just make sure it's rich and thick, like the Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado ($28.50 at Nordstrom), so it packs a punch of moisture.

5. Slacking on sunscreen

When we think of sunscreen we tend to think of sunning ourselves on the beach mid-summer, but protecting your skin from the sun is just as important in January as it is in July! To protect your skin from sunburn and sun damage, you should wear a daily moisturizer or face makeup product with a minimum of SPF 30, like the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer with SPF 30 ($33 at Sephora) and an actual sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher if you're going to be outside for a long period of time, such as when you're skiing or ice skating.

Make these little adjustments to your skincare routine and you'll have radiant, healthy and happy skin all winter long!

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Sophie Dodd


Sophie is currently a senior at Middlebury College in (very) rural Vermont and loves it. In addition to majoring in English and double minoring in Classics and Film, Sophie loves watching makeup tutorials, buying magazines in bulk, obsessively repainting her nails and catching up on The Vampire Diaries. Oh, and she's completely obsessed with Christmas, coffee, and her two kittens, Luna and Zuzu.
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