Winter Athlete Skincare Tips

If you live in a cold climate like I do, continuing your sport of choice (in my case, that’s running), in the winter may mean moving it indoors – spending time on the stationary bike or treadmill, or taking classes at the gym. For many though (me included), well, we’d rather just stay outside.

Which means our skin can, and often does, take a beating.

Here are a few things I swear by to keep my skin looking healthy all winter long.

A good lip balm – outdoor activities mean you’ll inevitably end up breathing through your mouth. Since your breath is warmer than the air, the condensation, and the fact you’ll likely lick your lips, dries them out even more. I love a few products: Original Carmax is my go-to, but Smith’s Rosebud Salve works wonders, too.

A gentle face cleanser – even in winter, you still sweat. And that sweat can lead to clogged pores. To ensure that skin that’s been punished by cold and wind stays clean and fresh, using a gentle non-drying cleanser is a good start. Cetaphil is one of my favourites, but have been enjoying Deciem’s The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser lately.

An excellent facial moisturizer – that weather isn’t doing your skin any favours. Keeping it moisturized will be more comfortable, and you won’t start seeing flakiness often associated with dry skin. I’ve been loving the combo of Deciem’s The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 with Deciem’s The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors. It makes my skin feel smooth and nourished while also providing a non-greasy base for my makeup.

A barrier between your skin and the elements – sometimes, before a run, it makes sense to put down some added protection. Some people use Vaseline, but that’s messy, clogs pores, and is generally not fun. I’ll use my hyaluronic acid (mentioned above), but any formula called “barrier repair cream” or packed with ceramides will work. Another option? Pull on a buff, or, on really cold days, wear a balaclava that covers the exposed skin. You’ll have an extra layer, and you’ll stay warm, too!

A Good Body Moisturizer – even if it’s not exposed to the air, the rest of your skin also suffers the effects of winter weather. Dryness, flaking, and sometimes redness. I love the thick, ointment-like texture of Eucerin creams (they are messy, so I only use them on areas like my elbows, knees, and feet. And only at bedtime). My dad, who gets dry, cracked hands in winter swears by O’Keefe’s Working Hands. If I’m using hand or body cream daily, I tend towards The Body Shop’s body lotions. Lately, the rose scent has been my jam, but there are so many different scent options for everyone. If my skin is really awful, I’ll put my cream on, and cover my hands and feet to really let the product soak in overnight.

Sunscreen! Just because its winter doesn’t mean that you can skip the sun protection. If your skin isn’t covered by clothing, then you need to cover it with sunscreen. I don’t have a particular favourite, but sport-based formulas are meant to not sting if they run into your eyes.

Moisturizing body washes or soaps, but avoid anti-bacterial soaps and washes. Moisturizing body washes and soaps help keep your skin clean while also allowing you to keep that moisture skin needs in winter. I’m a Dove girl, but I also quite like Body Shop shower gels for fun and to get an aromatherapy boost in the morning. Anti-bacterial products, because they contain drying alcohols work against keeping that protective moisture in your skin by stripping it away. Not a good look.

Hot water is also a culprit in the winter. While it does feel great to hop into a hot shower post-workout, it’s terrible for your skin as it strips moisture. A warm, not hot, shower or bath is best.

Another thing to keep in mind? Indoor air is often dry as well. Consider getting a humidifier to help manage that dry indoor air. Keeping the temperature of your home comfortable, but perhaps not tropical, will also help. Put on a sweater before deciding the heat needs to be cranked up.

Between this, and dressing appropriately for those cold weather activities, your skin will thank you this winter.

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