By Nathan, Pure Matters
Gearhead that I am, I possess an arsenal of clothing to combat the cold. What some see as a bit…excessive (i.e. owning enough jackets to wear a different one for every five-degree shift in temperature), I view as merely part of maintaining an active lifestyle through late fall and into winter. While a collection of winter gear as extensive as mine might have you covered in the warmth department, the one thing Gore-Tex, fleece, down, and windproof fabrics can’t keep at bay are the devastating impacts of the cold on bare skin.
As the days grow shorter, the dry air and cold temps wreak havoc on exposed lips, nails, and skin -- a condition that’s only exacerbated when playing in the snow since UV rays reflect back up for a one-two punch. And going from the harsh climates back into the warm indoors only further amplifies the weather’s damaging effects. Gloves, scarves, and neck gaiters help -- but the inevitable still results: cracked nails, chapped lips, and bone-dry, leathery skin.
Thankfully, I’ve learned a few tricks to help keep things comfortable, regardless of the temperatures.
Hydrate: It’s as simple as drinking water
The absence of sweat is a nice side-benefit of outdoor excursions in cold climates, but that can make us forget to stay hydrated. In truth, the body works to simply stay warm when it’s cold; we don’t even have to be exercising. Do yourself a favor and drink as often as you would during any other workout. I like to carry something like the Platypus soft water bottle in an inside jacket pocket. My body heat keeps it from freezing, it’s easy to sip on the go, and when I’m done, it rolls up and takes up far less space than a typical water bottle. CamelBak also makes some great winter hydration packs. Just be sure to blow the water back into the reservoir after taking a sip, so it doesn’t freeze in the tube.
Moisturize: Use creams and balms for on the spot skin hydration
The dry air and harsh winds of winter can make it feel as if your skin and lips are covered in ice. Sun block is a no-brainer, but go for a broad-spectrum sunblock with SPF 50 like Kiehl’s Cross-Terrain UV Face Protector–it protects against both ultraviolet A and B rays. And the same goes for lip protection. Get an all-natural chap stick or lip balm that includes SPF (and zinc), and apply liberally and often.
You should also moisturize two times a day, once after your shower when your pores are still open from the hot water and once before bedtime. Also try to use a less abrasive soap and take shorter showers during the winter months as prolonged ones can dry out your skin.
Winter can also increase the chance of chaffing caused by the seams of your clothes rubbing against dry skin, so I apply liberal doses of Body Glide in places that might be problematic. The perfect pair of summer shorts could become a literal sore point if you aren’t prepared.
Supplement: Battle dryness from the inside out
Can’t bring yourself to remember to apply all the creams and balms to protect your skin? Winterizing your skin can be as simple as popping a vitamin: a daily dose of Pure Matters® Biotin, an all-natural dietary supplement that boosts vitality and promotes healthy skin, nails, and hair.
The Last Resort: Repairing damage
If you do endure some skin damage from the harsher elements in a wicked twist of fate (like getting stuck on a ski lift for an hour), there’s a great variety of all-natural balms that can help bring you back to your old self, including Strong Skin and Badger Balm.
And if you follow all our tips and still wrestle with the damaging effects of dry air, acquire a small humidifier and use it while you sleep. It’ll help bring a touch of welcome humidity to the room and repair the day’s damage of dryness all while you sleep.