5 Things Athletes Can Do to Keep Skin Supple This Winter

How to protect your game face

When you're flying down the slopes, you probably aren’t thinking about whether or not you remembered to apply lip balm. In reality, you should be. Winter elements can be extremely damaging to skin and sports enthusiasts need to take extra care to protect theirs.

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Nick LeBlanc, avid snowboarder, always covers up on the slopes. “I wear a bandana to protect my face against the sun and wind,” he said. “I wear Chapstick to keep my lips from getting dry. Almost all snowboarders wear lip balm and a lot of them use one that contains sun protection.”

The editors at YourSkin101 has put together some winter skin care tips so that dehydrated, chapped skin will not get in your way when you go out to enjoy your favorite winter sport.


  • The first step any sports enthusiast should take before heading to the ski slopes, skating rink or trails is moisturize. Lubricating the skin will help to lock in moisture and replenish moisture that has been lost. Athletes who participate in winter sports require heavier formulas with ingredients like glycerin and vitamin E to make up for the lack of humidity in the air.
  • It is important to use a moisturizer with sunscreen or apply sunscreen overtop of your moisturizer to protect against sun damage. Winter athletes are especially susceptible to the sun’s rays because it reflects off the snow on the ground. Dr. Erin M. Welch, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, recommends that her patients wear sunscreen everyday, especially those who participate in outdoor sports. “Athletes should reapply sunscreen every two hours,” she said, noting that athletes should pay particular attention to areas like the tips of their ears or under their chin, which can be easily missed.
  • When taking part in outdoor sports, cover as much of your skin as possible. The best way to stay comfortable and remain protected from the elements is to wear layers. This will help prevent your body from overheating and sweating, which can dry out the skin. Be sure to wear soft fabrics, such as cotton or acrylic, to prevent chafing or friction. It is especially important to wear gloves to keep your hands from becoming chapped and cracked. To reduce the risk of frost bite, always wear a hat that covers your ears.
  • The cold wind, combined with a lack of moisture can cause lips to become cracked and irritated. Many people don’t realize that sun damage can lead to lip cancer. Before heading outdoors apply a lip balm that contains a minimum SPF 15 sunscreen.
  • Swimmers may not be exercising outdoors during the winter, but their skin can become extremely vulnerable to damage. Swimmers face exposure to chlorine, a chemical that dehydrates the skin, then more often than not they hop in a hot shower before heading out into the cold. This kind of abuse is bound to take a toll on the skin. Athletes, swimmers in particular, should use shielding lotions. These lotions are lightweight, non-greasy formulas that bond to the skin and form a barrier over surface skin, protecting it while preserving natural oils in the skin.

Taking a few extra minutes to protect your skin before facing the elements is vital because it will not only keep your skin feeling soft and hydrated, it could also prevent skin cancer and premature aging.

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