5 bad skin care habits to break this winter

By: The Beauty Experts at L'Oréal Paris

As the weather continues to shift and temperatures begin to plunge, it's time to start rethinking your skin care routine. Cold air holds less moisture than warm air, while low humidity and central heating make dry air even drier. One of the biggest misconceptions about winter is that the cold weather is what's drying out your skin. But indoor heating and an increase in mercury levels because of the cold are actually the reasons why your skin may dry and crack during the winter months.

To combat these winter woes, it's important to first recognize what you're doing wrong and then learn how to fix it. We enlisted the help of L'Oréal Paris expert Dr. Gervaise Gerstner, a board-certified dermatologist and skin care guru.

Below are five bad skin care mistakes you're probably making and need to stop doing ... now!

1. Sticking with your summer skin care regimen. The change in temperature and air pressure requires a change in your cleansing routine. If you're using a gel cleanser, you may want to switch to something that's not as harsh on the skin.
  • THE SOLUTION: "Try using a mild cleanser, and make sure you don't overwash the skin," Dr. Gerstner advises. A cream cleanser will nourish skin and exfoliate dead, dry skin more gently than a gel cleanser.

2. Showering with scalding-hot water. Hot water might help wake you up in the morning, but it could be harming your sensitive skin, especially during the winter months. Extra-hot water strips away the skin's natural oils, leaving it dehydrated. That, in turn, can cause your skin to dry quickly, so it's left craving moisture.
  • THE SOLUTION: Try taking showers with warm water, lasting no longer than 10 minutes, and try using a hydrating facial oil to rehydrate the skin after a long shower.

3. Lathering petroleum jelly or Chap Stick on your cracked skin and lips. This may seem like the quickest relief for dryness, but gels can actually dry out the skin even more.
  • THE SOLUTION: A creamy moisturizer on dry skin will help defend better than your jar of petroleum jelly.

4. Drinking coffee or caffeinated beverages in excess. "Antihistamines in these drinks can be dehydrating to your skin," reveals Dr. Gerstner.
  • THE SOLUTION: Try cutting back on your intake of coffee and similar beverages. Drink decaf or decaffeinated tea instead. Also, Dr. Gerstner recommends limiting the amount of heat in your apartment, which can also dry out your precious skin.

5. Hitting the slopes without a layer of sunscreen. For all you snow bunnies out there, this bad habit is directed at you!
  • THE SOLUTION: Make sure you use either sunscreen or a cream moisturizer with SPF while skiing (or anytime you're outside). Just because the sun isn't shining brightly doesn't mean it's not damaging your skin.
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