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Active Winter Skin Care

10 tips to soothe and soften


Active Winter Skin Care

Winter's frigid temperatures and harsh winds can play havoc on our skin. Our tips will keep you glowing all season long.

The winter months are ideal for skiing, snowshoeing, and skating—but cool air and whipping winds can also dry out our bodies from head to toe. Here are some tips to help you sport soft, glowing skin while enjoying your favourite cold weather activities.


Be sun savvy

Closeup face of a young happy woman enjoying winter wearing scarf and cap. Smiling girl in a colorful shawl looking at camera. Latin woman with knitted bordeaux hat and woolen scarf.

Sunscreen isn’t just for balmy beach days. “People often aren’t aware that, ideally, you’d be wearing a sunscreen during winter days when it’s a little bit bright outside,” says Frances Jang, MD, the founder of Skinworks dermatology clinic.

Thanks to factors such as sweating and UV-reflecting snow, alpine athletes need to be especially sun smart. In fact, our skin may be more susceptible to sunburns on the mountain than on the beach. If a slope is 10,000 feet (3,048 m) above sea level, for example, skin-damaging UV radiation can be up to 45 percent stronger.

Before heading outdoors, slather on a broad-spectrum, mineral-based sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. If possible, use a winter-specific sunscreen with moisturizing ingredients such as lanolin or glycerin.


Use a humidifier

Modern air humidifier and houseplant on table in living room. Space for text

Cracked lips, scaly skin, itchy scalps—ah, the joys of winter skin! To make matters worse, these conditions are often aggravated by the drying effects of central heating. Hooking up your humidifier is a simple solution that

can add much-needed moisture to the air in your home or office.


Ditch wet socks and gloves

Feet in woollen socks by the Alps mountains view. Woman relaxes by mountain view with a cup of hot drink. Close up on feet. Winter and Christmas holidays concept.

Whether we’re hitting the slopes or shovelling snow, soggy socks and mitts are a no-no. Cold, wet clothes can irritate sensitive skin and may lead to eczema flare-ups.

Keep spare mitts on hand in case the ones you’re wearing get wet. Alternatively, wear a pair of breathable cotton gloves beneath a pair of waterproof gloves for added warmth and protection.


Take shorter showers

mom and son sitting by the window on a wide windowsill in a bathrobe after a bath

Nothing beats a long, steamy bath on a chilly day—right? Unfortunately, hot water can further dry out our skin by sapping its natural oils. For a healthy, hydrated glow, shower or bathe once per day for no more than 10 minutes, and use lukewarm water. If skin is itchy or irritated, consider adding finely ground oats—a natural cleanser, moisturizer, and buffer—to your bathwater.


Be gentle

pink rose petals in a round tub with legs girls

“Sensitive or dry skin conditions tend to be exaggerated in the colder months,” says Jang. “So people have to be a little more cautious about the products they’re using.”

To avoid aggravating winter woes, kick harsh soaps, toners, and exfoliators to the curb. Simplify your skin care routine and opt for a mild, fragrance-free cleanser or soap such as castile. Some soothing ingredients to look for in a natural cleanser include

  • almond flour
  • borax
  • ground oats
  • cucumber
  • calendula
  • aloe
  • glycerin


Ward off windburn

Winter portrait of young beautiful woman covering face with woolen scarf. Closeup of happy girl feeling cold outdoor in the city. Young woman holding scarf and looking at camera.

A winter breeze may feel wonderful when we’re flying down a slope … but no one wants peeling, wind-roughened skin. Outdoor sports enthusiasts need to bundle up with protective clothing such as hats, scarves, and gloves.

“When we’re outdoors, we have to be careful about the dangers of frostbite and windburn,” says Jang. “If you’re skiing, for example, you need to protect your nose and cheeks.”

When windburn does occur, peeling is an unpleasant but natural part of the healing process; however, you can ease irritation by applying cooling aloe vera liberally and frequently.


Drink up

Young woman jogging outside cloudy winter day - drink water

Healthy hydration is a no-brainer when we’re exercising in summer, but ice-cold water may be less appealing at this time of year. Nevertheless, it’s important to drink plenty of water year-round to nourish our skin—especially when exercising. Any activity that causes sweating, such as skiing or snowboarding, will require us to rehydrate often. Skip the post-ski beer, though, as drinking alcohol can lead to dehydration.


Help your hands

Beauty Body Skin Care and Cosmetic Apply Concept, Close-Up of Woman Hands is Applying Moisturizing Serum for Healthy Skin. Beautiful Woman is Using Moisturizer Aging Serum Treatment on Her Hands.

Perhaps no body part shows the wear and tear of winter activities more than our hands. In an attempt to steer clear of colds and flu, we may also wash our hands frequently with harsh soaps and hot water.

Be gentle on dry, hurting hands, and wash with warm—not scalding—water. Consider scrubbing only the palms and between the fingers if your knuckles appear red and chapped. For extra softening, apply an oil-based moisturizer throughout the day.


Love your lips

Lips Skin Care. Beautiful Woman With Beauty Face Applying Lip Balsam, Lipbalm On Full Sexy Lips. Portrait Of Smiling Female Model With Soft Skin And Natural Nude Makeup Touching Lips. High Resolution

Our hands aren’t the only area that can benefit from some cold-weather TLC. A nourishing lip balm is essential to ward off windburn and sun damage, which can also trigger cold sores in outdoor athletes.

Look for natural, sun-protective products to pamper your pucker. Softening ingredients that can help to banish chapped lips include

  • honey
  • almond butter
  • cocoa butter
  • shea butter
  • avocado oil
  • coconut oil
  • jojoba oil
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • sweet almond oil
  • vitamin E


Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

Attractive young adult woman apply facial cream look in mirror, beautiful healthy lady wrapped in towels put moisturizing lifting nourishing day creme on soft hydrated moisturized skin in bathroom

It can’t be repeated enough—moisturizer is a must during winter. “The most effective time to moisturize is after you take a shower or bath,” says Jang. “Apply a layer of moisturizer over towel-dried skin that’s still a bit damp to really seal in moisture.”

For soft skin on and off the slopes, moisturize dry areas such as the face and hands two to three times a day. Choose an oil-based ointment without alcohol, fragrances, dyes, or other chemicals for the safest, gentlest care.



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