Why is skin care in winter sports, like skiing and running, important?

Winter sports skin care tips from Derm of CT

Skin care is important when participating in winter sports like skiing and running for a few key reasons:

  1. Cold, dry air – The cold, dry conditions you face when skiing or running outside in the winter can cause the moisture to be drawn out of your skin, leading to dryness, cracking, and irritation. Using moisturizers helps counteract this drying effect.
  2. Sun and wind exposure – The increased sun exposure and wind chill at high altitudes and colder temps can damage skin even more than usual. Sunscreen and protective gear helps minimize this damage.
  3. Frostnip and frostbite risk – Exposed skin in very cold, windy weather is at risk for frostnip or even frostbite. Keeping skin protected and well-moisturized reduces this risk.
  4. Chapping – Areas like the lips and face are very vulnerable to chapping and chafing in cold, dry weather. Using lip balm and lotion prevents painful cracking of the skin.
  5. Gear irritation – Tight ski goggles, chin straps, face masks, and other gear can cause irritation or rubbing during winter activities. Applying creams/balms creates a protective moisture barrier.

Here are some tips to help protect your skin while participating in outdoor winter sports:

  1. Moisturize – Apply a thick, creamy moisturizer to your face and all exposed skin before heading out.
  2. Protect with sunscreen – Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Reapply every 2 hours. The sun’s rays reflect off snow and can still damage skin on cloudy days.
  3. Cover up – Wear lightweight, moisture-wicking base layers to protect skin from the elements. A thin balaclava or face mask shields the sensitive facial skin.
  4. Shield skin preemptively – Apply petroleum jelly or thick creams preemptively anywhere gear rubs against the skin such as goggle lines. This prevents irritation and chafing.
  5. Hydrate by drinking lots of water – Stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of extra water combats moisture loss in dry winter air.
  6. Take breaks out of the cold – Get out of the wind and cold regularly to give your skin a break and chance to recover. Head inside to warm up when needed.
  7. Gentle skincare at day’s end – Avoid abrasive scrubs. Gently wash skin with warm water and pat dry. Apply soothing creams and hydrating masks for recovery.

So while out doing winter sports, be sure to load up on the moisturizing skin products! Protecting and hydrating the skin provides comfort and reduces risk of damage.

For help with all your skin care needs, schedule an appointment on our website or give our office a call at 203-538-5682