How to Enjoy Winter Sports and Help Your Skin

 How to Enjoy Winter Sports and Help Your Skin

Winter is here, and that means your skin might be at risk for new problems as the air gets colder and drier. Is it possible to enjoy the winter weather and the activities it brings and make sure your skin is safe and cared for?

What Winter Can Do to Your Skin

We aren’t meteorologists by any means, but there are some things you should know about the weather when it comes to taking care of your skin. Humidity is perhaps the most important environmental factor that can affect your skin. Warm air holds far more moisture. That’s why New England summers are particularly muggy—that and the gulf stream of warm ocean air that brings moisture northeast all summer long. When winter comes, the air cools and can retain far less moisture than hot air. That moisture is quickly reconstituted and carried away, meaning the air actually draws moisture from anything it comes into contact with, including your skin.

So winter air can get very dry, but what can it really do to your skin? Quite a bit, it turns out. There are numerous skin conditions that are usually at their worst in the winter. These conditions range from eczema to psoriasis, acne, and rosacea. Even skin free of any major skin conditions is more prone to drying. Chapped skin and cracked lips can impact even the healthiest skin in winter. Winter sports like skiing, snowshoeing, or even just sledding casually can all make your skin that much drier. And with winter sports comes another risk to your skin that we don’t often associate with winter: sunburn. That’s right, sun damage is possible all year round, even when days are short and the skies are cloudy. To help with that, always use sunscreen when you’re outside. Even if you’re bundled up, make sure you’re using SPF 30 or higher on any exposed skin or skin that can sometimes be exposed (the hands or ears when gloves or your hat come off).

How to Help Your Skin and Still Hit the Slopes

So what do you do with all that information? Now that you’re aware of how the winter months can impact your skin, you’re ready to explore how to prevent or treat the many issues winter can bring.

General Dryness

Skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, or generally just moving quickly in the winter air is a surefire way to dry out unprepared skin. After a day out, you come home and notice your cheeks are dry and red, your lips are cracked, and the skin on your hands is stinging. What do you do? To treat dryness, the best bet is to moisturize. Moisturizing well is also a good way to prevent the worst of winter dryness. Moisturizer can help to create a moisture barrier between your skin and the air. This makes it much harder for the dry air to sap the moisture from your skin. Additionally, it can help restore moisture if you didn’t remember to moisturize before you went out. Lip balm does exactly what moisturizer does, just for your lips. You’ll have to reapply lip balm more regularly than moisturizer, though.

Existing Conditions

There are so many different conditions that winter worsens. Psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea can all intensify in the winter for similar reasons. The dryness of winter is the main offender here. Each of these conditions is triggered by dry skin for many people. If you don’t properly moisturize, you’re going to face a flare up of one of these conditions. Acne is another condition that winter can make worse, but it’s quite different from these other conditions. Acne is caused primarily by oily skin, which you might think would go away in the winter. That’s not always true, however. Your skin can be dry and oily at the same time, and that makes moisturizing it extra difficult. Moisturizers need to be very light if you have acne-prone skin, because heavier creams can clog your pores just as easily as excess oil. So opt for very light moisturizers when you can, and you can control your dry skin without experiencing an acne flare up.


Winter dryness doesn’t have to extend to your skin and keep you from doing the winter sports you want to do. If you need more help coping with the arid winter months, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at Northeast Dermatology Associates.

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