The temperatures are dropping, and in many areas of the country the snow has started falling. We know that it’s important for physical and mental health to keep active outdoors during the winter, but doing so can make you even more susceptible to winter skin trouble. And whether you hit the ski slopes regularly or you try to spend as much time as possible out of the cold, winter is hard on your skin no matter what. Fortunately, most winter skin ailments can be prevented. Here are three of the most common winter skin woes and how to keep them from ruining your winter fun.
When you think sunburn you probably think about lying on a warm beach, but sunburn is just as much of a risk during the winter as it is during the summer. Because of that, you’ll want to have a diligent routine that keeps your skin safe from burning even during the winter months. Many people assume that because the sun’s heat feels weaker during the winter that it can’t do as much damage as it does during the summer, but this simply isn’t the case. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, which contribute to skin cancer and premature aging when they permeate the skin, are equally intense all year long, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. In addition they can damage your skin even if it’s a cloudy day. Sunburn is common for people who ski or snowboard. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that snow can reflect up to 80 percent of light, nearly doubling your exposure to harmful UV rays. In addition, there are more UV rays at higher altitudes, so if you’re heading to the mountains you increase your risk. The best way to avoid sunburn during the winter is the same as during the summer—using sunscreen. Choose a daily moisturizer that contains at least SPF 30, and if you’re headed to the slopes, cover as much of your face as possible (including using protective eye goggles).
Rosy cheeks are adorable during the winter…until they start stinging or burning. That’s because if your cheeks are rosy, chances are that you have windburn, a condition that happens when the harsh winter wind robs your skin of the oil that normally protects your skin (alarmingly, losing that oil also puts you at increased risk of sunburn). The best way to prevent and treat windburn is to keep your skin well moisturized. Chose an oil-based moisturizer and apply it frequently, up to four times a day. The best prevention for windburn is petroleum jelly or other barrier ointments or creams. Although you might not want to put that on your face, it can be a good option for kids who will be outside for long periods. Also, don’t forget the lip balm, since your lips can get windburned too!
When it comes to winter ailments, dry skin is certainly among the most common. This might be because dry skin is exacerbated by conditions indoors and outdoors. Outside, the cold, dry air takes away your skin’s moisture, whereas inside, the dry air from your heating system does the same. To keep dry skin under control, apply an oil-based moisturizer regularly. Inside the house you can also run a humidifier to make the air more moist. If your skin becomes chapped or cracked, it’s probably time to visit the doctor. Don’t let skin ailments derail your winter fun!