After a day on the trails, your skin can feel dry, sensitive and irritated. Chapped or dry skin is typical among cross-country skiers. The cold, dry temps can take a toll on your skin, and cracking and dehydration are common. Here are some tips for how to soothe and protect your skin after a day in the snow.
Skin Prep is Key
First, prevention is key! Before you boot up and take to the trails be sure to protect any exposed skin. Apply a thick layer of sunscreen (at least SPF 30) to your face, neck and any other exposed skin. Plan on taking your gloves off? Be sure to coat the backs of your hands as well. Choose a sunscreen that is labeled “broad-spectrum” to ensure that it will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. Being out in the snow can be particularly harsh even if it’s a cloudy day. Higher elevations and snow reflection can both increase your exposure to UV rays.
Once you’re out on the trail, take breaks often to reapply sunscreen. Sunscreen should be applied every two hours. Don’t forget to apply to your lips, ears, and scalp (if exposed).
Hydrate. It can be difficult to remember to hydrate in cold temps, especially if you’re cruising down hills, but being dehydrated not only will affect your performance it’ll make way for your skin to be even more chapped at the end of the day.
After you’ve finished your ski day, take a few minutes to give your skin some love. Start by removing any sunscreen and dried sweat with a gentle cleanser. Use a clean cloth if you need a little extra help removing sunscreen. Avoid anything that will further irritate your skin. This includes harsh soaps, alcohol, and abrasive exfoliators.
Take a Warm Bath
A long, hot bath can work wonders for tired muscles – and a warm bath can help your skin. Be sure the temperature isn’t too hot as this will dry you out even more. Instead, fill the bath with warm water and add some soothing ingredients to your bathtub to help heal and nourish your skin. Try adding oatmeal or Epsom salts to your water; these ingredients have properties that can help soothe and nourish dry skin.
After your bath, apply a thick and creamy moisturizer to your skin. Choose a product that contains ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter, or avocado oil. These ingredients will help to seal in moisture and protect your skin from the elements. Body butter will provide deeply nourishing moisture for dry or chapped skin.
Apply 100% aloe if you have any areas that were particularly exposed to the sun. Aloe is a natural anti-inflammatory and will help to soothe any sunburned skin.
While in your cabin, give your skin a break from wool or any other scratchy materials. While wool is perfect for staying warm and dry, the loose fibers can scratch and irritate your skin, especially if it’s already dry or chapped. Give yourself a break when you don’t need these materials. Putting on warm but smooth socks, a cotton tee, and comfy sweats can be just what your skin needs while recovering from a long day in the elements.
If you have any modeling discoloration or other signs of frostbite, seek medical attention. Do not apply any home remedies to frostbitten skin.