As the temps continue to dip, dry, flaky skin becomes more and more of an issue. It’s crucial to properly treat the typical rough patches and dullness of winter complexions so we can put our best face forward — literally. Read on to learn about five common mistakes you might be making so you can tackle your seasonal skin head-on.

1. You’re focused on treatment instead of prevention. It’s easy to notice a dry patch, slather on lotion, and then repeat the process as needed. This “treat-and-go” method won’t actually solve your skin problems though, according to Newport Beach-based dermatologist Zena Gabriel. “If you’re prone to dry skin or eczema, starting to use lotion every single day after the shower is key,” Gabriel tells us. “If you use on a one-off basis, you end up chasing your dry skin problems instead of preventing and properly treating them.”

2. A sleep mask isn’t part of your routine. If nothing seems to help re-balance your winter skin, an overnight treatment could do the trick. They’re a step up from a typical moisturizer and work when your epidermis repairs itself. “Look for a leave-on mask like Skinfix Calm & Repair Sleeping Mask ($65) that delivers optimal hydration and also tackles redness to help combat red noses or chapped cheeks,” recommends New York-based dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla.

3. You use an oil-based lotion. Understanding your skin type, its specific needs, and which ingredients work best is key to quenching a parched complexion. “Ingredients matter most, and people commonly think the oilier something is, the better it will moisturize, but they just float on top of the skin,” says Gabriel. “Instead, look for lotions with lactic acid because the acid sloughs down the dead skin layer better than an oily, rich moisturizer.”

4. Washcloths are your go-to tool. Even though it’s natural to want to scrub off layers of dead skin, you could be doing more harm than good. “The last thing you want to do with dry, chapped facial skin is over-exfoliate,” Mariwalla warns. “Instead of using an abrasive washcloth, use a gentle cleanser and rub in circular motions using your hands.”

5. You don’t moisturize on damp skin. Your hydrator-of-choice will glide on easily and penetrate the skin more deeply if you don’t waste any time after showering. “In the morning, timing is everything, and the best time to moisturize is within seconds of getting out of the shower,” explains Mariwalla. “If you have dry skin, make sure you put on a good moisturizer immediately afterward.”

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