Skin care tips for winter outdoor activities
- Posted on: Jan 31 2023
Here in Colorado, we have gorgeous mountains and more outdoor activities than you can imagine. We also have cold, dry air and winter weather that lasts from November to April – nearly half the year.
All those winter months can be hard on your skin if you don’t take precautions. The combination of cold air and low humidity strips moisture from your skin’s surface, leading to dry, chapped, and even painful skin. Thankfully, the skin care experts at Asarch Dermatology are here to help!
From skiing to snowshoeing, ice skating to ice fishing, follow these skin care tips for winter outdoor activities and keep your skin protected as you enjoy all Colorado has to offer.
Protect your head, hands, feet, and ears
When it’s cold, your blood flow concentrates in your body’s core, leaving your head, hands, feet, and ears more vulnerable. Protective winter gear helps trap in warmth and humidity, both of which benefit your skin.
Every time you go outdoors, cover as much of your skin as possible with gloves, scarves, mufflers, ski masks, and/or goggles. You should also wear a hat or headband to cover your head and ears.
This is especially true if you’re participating in an activity like snowmobiling where you’ll be traveling at a high rate of speed. Speed creates more wind, and wind creates even harsher conditions for your skin.
Layer, layer, layer
You want to be warm when you’re outside, but not too warm – excess sweating causes your body to lose even more heat. That’s why layering is such a great solution.
For example, wear a thin pair of glove liners made from a wicking material (such as polypropylene) under heavy fleece-lined gloves, then remove the outer pair if your hands get sweaty. Want to keep your toes warm? Buy winter boots or shoes a half size larger to allow room for thick thermal socks or an extra pair of regular socks.
As for clothing, fabrics like wool, fleece, and polypropylene trap air closer to your body and hold more body heat than cotton. Wet clothing chills the body quickly – so if you take a tumble in the ice or snow, wearing layers can also help you stay dry.
Moisturize with deeply-hydrating skin creams
Even if you don’t care for the feeling of moisturizer on your skin, winter is the time to make an exception.
Look for ingredients like shea butter, botanical oils, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or even lanolin (as long as you’re not allergic to wool). A thick, high-quality product will help trap much-needed moisture in your skin. Your Asarch dermatologist can provide you with suggestions.
Apply moisturizer every time you wash or shower your skin and throughout the day as needed. Moisturizers work best if they’re applied within three minutes after toweling yourself dry, so you’ll want to move quickly. You can use moisturizer from head to toe, but avoid getting it near your eyes.
Don’t forget sunscreen
It’s just as easy to get sunburned in the winter as in the summer, and Colorado’s high altitude puts us even closer to the sun’s harmful rays. On a sunny day, fresh snow can reflect up to 90% of UV radiation.
Wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on any area not covered by clothing, such as your face, neck, and hands. Your sunscreen should offer broad-spectrum protection and block both UVA and UVB rays. Certain sunscreen products, such as creams or lotions, are usually more moisturizing than sprays.
Lastly, take care of your lips – a lip balm that contains sunscreen can prevent chapped lips and sunburn at the same time.
Avoid hot water and harsh soaps
A hot shower probably sounds ideal after spending time outside in the cold. However, hot water causes your skin to lose more natural skin oils and dry out even faster. Resist the urge to take a steamy, piping-hot shower and use warm water instead.
You should limit each shower to just 5-10 minutes. Do you shower every day? As long as you aren’t breaking a sweat, it’s probably not necessary.
Like showers, harsh soaps also strip your skin of the natural oils that keep it hydrated. Gentle, hypoallergenic, and/or fragrance-free products can help reduce this damage. Ask your Asarch dermatologist for recommendations.
Drink plenty of fluids
Hydration is just as important in cold weather as it is during the hot summer months. You can become dehydrated in the cold from things like sweating, breathing harder, and the drying power of winter wind – but it may be harder to notice that it’s happening.
Drink water or sports beverages with electrolytes before, during, and after exerting yourself in the cold, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Your skin will thank you.
Contact us today for cold-weather skin care
Of course, skin care tips for winter outdoor activities are just the beginning. With three office locations in the Denver area, the skin care experts at Asarch Dermatology know how to help your skin thrive in this climate. We’re here to keep your skin healthy and glowing all year long.
Asarch Dermatology treats patients of all ages and provides a wide range of dermatology services, cosmetic treatments, and more. Schedule an appointment to get started today!