Winter sports enthusiasts rejoice! That chill in the air can only mean one thing—it's time to don your hat, gloves and goggles and put in some work. Whether you're an extreme winter sports competitor about to hit the slopes, or an athlete grinding through some outdoor workouts, it's important not to neglect your skin care needs this season. Spending hours outdoors in the winter sun and wind can expose your rugged epidermis to more wear and tear than usual, resulting in sunburn, chapped lips, or worse. Luckily, HIMistry's got your back with essential skin care tips for winter athletes that will help keep you feeling fresh even when it's frigid.
Start with Sun Safety
While this may be a no-brainer for some, we're going to say it anyway—always wear your SPF. There are plenty of misconceptions out there when it comes to this key skincare step, so let's break it down.
- Myth #1 : The sun doesn't shine as brightly in the winter, so sunscreen is not as important.
Did you know you're just as exposed to sun damage in the winter as you are in the summer? The truth is, even on cloudy winter days, harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays are always present, putting you at risk for burning, premature aging, and even skin cancer.
- Myth #2 : I've got melanin to protect me, so I don't need sunblock.
If you've got a darker skin tone, you may think you can skip the SPF, but every dermatologist knows sunblock prevents more than just burning. Men of color are more prone to developing long-term dark spots caused by the sun known as hyperpigmentation.
Finally, if you're a skier, snowboarder, or mountain thrill-seeker, remember your exposure to UV radiation increases significantly at higher elevations. Slap on an SPF of 15 or higher to keep yourself safe.
Ditch the Dirt
Here's another simple rule to follow: Keep it clean. As an athlete, washing your face (and other parts) regularly is pretty much a given if you want to avoid breakouts and clogged pores. Sweat, sebum, and other grime can accumulate on the surface of your skin and in your gear, so suds up with a gentle face wash that you feel comfortable using before and after your winter workouts. You can also kick it up a notch by choosing a multitasking cleanser that can alleviate irritating windburn with anti-inflammatory ingredients while also repairing the signs of aging with natural antioxidants. Your pores (and wrinkles) will thank you.
Moisturizer is Mandatory
If you've ever raced downhill at top speeds in the freezing air, you might already know that a gnarly windburn can strip your skin of all moisture. The holy grail of skincare products for winter athletes is 100% a good moisturizer. Freestyle skier and Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy shared his top winter weather skin care tips with Allure, naming moisturizer as his go-to skincare product.
"The cold dries out your skin," he explains, "and skiing and having windchill can even further do that, so just making sure that I'm getting moisture back into my skin is really important. I also cover my face when I ski to kind of prevent any chapping or chafing or windburn."
Better Not Pout
Oft overlooked, but crucial to your comfort is a well-hydrated set of lips. Unless you're an athlete who covers their face from the cold winter air and burning sun, it's easy to forget how important a good moisturizing lip balm can be until your mouth gets ravaged. Casey Larson, American ski jumper and 2018 Olympian, told US Magazine about how the struggle is real. He says when "it's super cold, whatever you're doing, like waxing skis outside all winter long, your hands get cracked, your lips get cracked," and recommends chap stick as his favorite cold weather skin savior.
Winter Takes All
These skin care guidelines are just the tip of iceberg when it comes to building a complete skincare routine for athletes. Most dermatologist recommended regimens are likely to include additional steps depending on your specific concerns, like a nighttime retinol product for anti-aging or a weekly mask treatment for brightening results. When you're ready to skate your way into feeling better about your winter skin, be sure to contact the skin care and shaving specialists at HIMistry Naturals for more tips and recommendations.