With winter comes chilly air, harsh wind and falling snow, but this doesn't stop some people from braving the elements to run, walk or even ski. To prepare for an outdoor sweat session this time of year, though, it’s good to keep a few things in mind — especially when it comes to your skin’s health. Here’s a guide to maintaining soft, supple skin even in the dead of winter.
While you’re getting ready for your outdoor workout, use a thick cream under your SPF to create a barrier between you and the cold. Use the cream on your cheeks, lips and cuticles — these areas are known to dry out fast from being outside in the elements. And choose a rich cream such as Nivea Creme, which Real Simple recommends for very dry skin. The glycerin will help draw moisture to the outer layer of your skin as a protectant, says WebMD.
We know it’s cold outside and carrying around a bottle of cold water seems counterintuitive, but trust us, you need to stay hydrated in cold weather, and your skin needs the hydration from the inside out, too. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should “drink water or sports drinks before, during and after your workout, even if you’re not really thirsty.” It may not be as obvious how dehydrated you are in winter months, but the heat from sweating, breathing and the winter wind can be just as drying as in hotter months.
Runner’s World suggests wearing gloves with a nylon shell, or wear mittens that create a “warm air pocket” around your hands. Watch out if your hands look pale or feel numb — this could be an early sign of frostbite, Runner’s World says.
There’s no doubt you’d like a hot shower after working out in the cold. But according to a Refinery29 article on winter skin, a lukewarm shower is best. And, to take advantage of all that moisture, make sure you use a lotion right after you dry off while your skin is still damp.
According to one of our previous articles on dry winter skin, you can prepare for your outdoor workout before lacing up your sneakers by eating foods with omega-3 fatty acids, which help retain moisture. Fish like salmon, tuna and trout contain particularly high amounts of omega-3s. Vegetarian options include flax, chia, hemp, cauliflower and tahini.
Another side effect of exercising outside is dry scalp, which can occur after sweating in the cold weather. XOJane recommends massaging your scalp with coconut oil before hopping in the shower.
If you come home from your workout a little chapped from the wind, the Mayo Clinic suggests using a thin layer of 1% hydrocortisone cream, which will help reduce inflammation.