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But first exfoliate
"In the cold months we focus so much on keeping skin hydrated that we often forget the importance of exfoliating regularly," says Jordana Mattioli, a medical esthetician with CompleteSkinMD in New York City, who considers this act the "first and most important step" in brightening dull skin. "Getting off dead skin will instantly make your complexion smoother and refreshed—plus it will help the ingredients in your other products work better since they won't have that barrier to get through," she says. Rather than rely on grainy scrubs that can aggravate sensitive types, try leave-on toners with a mild (less than 5%) alpha or beta hydroxy acid, like glycolic acid or salicylic acid, a few times a week.