Picture the scene: a mountain covered in fresh snow, the sun at its zenith, a cold-but-not-too-cold temperature and a full day dedicated to your favorite winter sport. What's missing from this idyllic picture? Flaky, dehydrated, dry skin with sunburn, cold chapped hands and lips and dry, static-charged hair. This dream scene, without the wintery hair and skin problems, could well become reality if you follow our sound advice!
1. Apply sunscreen
Look, we know we've been telling you this over and over, but applying sunscreen every day should be a routine. And just because the hot days of summer are behind us doesn't mean we have to put our SPF back in the medicine cabinet! Nuh-uh! Did you know that UVA and UVB rays reflect off the snow1 and are amplified? Yes, that's why you look like an inverted raccoon at the end of a day of skiing with goggles! By using a good protection and moisturizer, you can avoid dry skin peeling. So go ahead and apply a zinc-based sunscreen to all areas of your body and face exposed to the sun. You'll thank us later.
Bonus tip: Get a compact sun stick that's easy to slip into your snowsuit pockets and makes touch-ups quick and effective without getting your hands dirty.
2. Wear windproof clothing that wicks moisture
You might think that retaining body moisture helps moisturize the skin, but it's the opposite. Sweat released during physical activities can accumulate on the skin and cause irritation or rashes. We therefore prefer to wear multi-layered clothing made of moisture-wicking materials, and we make sure that our coats, gloves and boots are windproof to protect ourselves from the elements.
Bonus tip: Wash your clothes with a mild, non-abrasive laundry soap that won't irritate your skin, and use unscented, reusable fabric softener that will protect you from the electric shocks of synthetic materials and soften the fabrics.
3. Drink lots of water
If you had ONE TIP to implement to improve almost every aspect of your health, it would be to make sure you drink enough water. Good internal hydration helps with external hydration and has many benefits. It's not just during summer sports that we need to drink plenty of water: our bodies sweat when we ski, snowboard or snowshoe too.
Bonus tip: Make it a habit to always have a (reusable!) water bottle on hand, whether at the gym or at home. You can also download a free application on your cell phone that will notify you when you need to remember to drink water! Say goodbye to dry skin and hello to hydration!
4. Take a cool shower
Shower as soon as you can after practicing your chosen sport. Quickly remove your wet clothes and jump under the cool spray to get rid of dirt, body oil and sweat. We know it's more than tempting to take a scalding shower when we've just spent several hours in the cold, but you must resist! Although the hot steam from the shower is soothing in the very short term, it can worsen the condition of sensitive skin.
Bonus tip: Make sure you don't get dehydrated skin by setting the water to the approximate temperature of a heated pool in summer.
5. Choose nourishing skin care products
As for your skin care products, choose a shower gel that is not astringent and pamper yourself with a moisturizing body product that cleanses deeply and prevent dry skin. The same goes for your hair care: choose products with moisturizing natural ingredients such as avocado oil, argan oil, olive oil or jojoba oil, for example. Well-nourished hair is less likely to generate static electricity.
Bonus tip: Choose shampoos and conditioners that moisturize or nourish, and look for anti-pollution ingredients like moringa seeds in their formulation to double your hair’s protection against the elements.
6. Moisturize your skin
When you get out of the shower, be sure to dry your skin thoroughly yet gently, then move on to the ULTIMATE pampering stage (*drumrolls*) MOISTURIZING! Using a moisturizing cream or lotion with healthy and natural-based ingredients such as plant-based butters and oils, take the time to moisturize your body... and take the opportunity to give yourself a good massage while you're at it! A regular body moisturizing ritual can save you from many minor ailments caused by dryness and dehydration. Avoid cracked dry skin, dry hands and knuckles, chapped lips and itchy skin by applying lotion regularly.
Now you're ready to tackle the elements for your favorite winter sport without having to suffer from dry skin, chapped lips or winter sunburn! Let this season be just cold enough, just snowy enough... and properly moisturized! Here's to you!
1 Government of Canada, ``Sun Safety throughout the seasons``, September 11th 2018, Canada.ca, https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/weather-health/uv-index-sun-safety/seasons.html