Best ways to protect your skin from cold weather

Cold and windy weather can be cruel to your skin when you’re out hiking on your favorite trail. Wintertime hikes are usually more challenging and not always as pleasant as those undertaken in spring. Cold temperatures, harsh winds, and dry air can cause visible skin cracking and redness on your face, neck, hands and any other exposed area.

Cold weather doesn’t mean staying indoors and hiding from the snow, though. Just make sure you know how to protect your sensitive skin and keep it healthy.

Protecting yourself against the icy wind is not that hard – all you need to do is to follow these useful tips.


Keep drinking water, juices, and teas as much as you would in hot weather
Keep drinking water, juices, and teas as much as you would in hot weather

Winter air is incredibly dry and will dehydrate you quickly without you even noticing. To avoid this problem, make sure you prepare your body from inside and keep your liquid intake high. It’s a fact that we’re not as thirsty in winter as we are in summer, but this doesn’t have anything to do with what our bodies need.

Keep drinking water, juices, and teas as much as you would in hot weather if you want to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. A well-hydrated skin is less likely to crack when exposed to cold, dry weather.

Moisturize with oil based products

Water on the inside but not on the outside! Avoid using products that have water as their main ingredient because those moisturizers will dry your skin even more and make it worse when you’re out in the cold. Instead, choose a product that is oil-based as this will create a border between your skin and the cold air. Oily creams are better when it comes to dry skin protection than other products. People often make the mistake of using them after the damage is done and the skin is cracked. The idea is to prevent your face from such cold weather burns in the first place.

Avoid long and hot showers!

Avoid hot showers
Avoid hot showers

I know, there is nothing better than a long and hot shower when it’s freezing outside. But, what the hot water is doing to your skin is stripping it of its protective oils. If you didn’t know already, that’s how your skin gets to be as dry as cardboard over the winter.

When you add cold, dry air to it and many layers of clothes, what you get is a sort of abrasive surface. If you want to avoid this, at least wash your hands and face with lukewarm water. Try it, and you’ll see the results.

Say no to artificial tanning

Many people love tanning beds and think they’re providing the body with the needed vitamin D that’s lacking during the cold winter months. A tanning bed is not skin-friendly at any time of the year, so avoid it as much as you can.

Both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation cause cell damage and you don’t want to do that to yourself. Stick to a natural tanning process and use protection.

Don’t forget the sunscreen

Sunscreen – don’t forget the sunscreen
Sunscreen – don’t forget the sunscreen

Sunscreen is not only needed in the summer sun, but in winter, too. Frankly, winter sun can be even worse for your skin and damage it even more. Apply sunscreen on all the exposed parts of your body, especially your face and hands.

If you spend more time outside, then repeat the procedure every two hours. For extra hand-skin protection, you should wear gloves. Sunglasses are a must if you want to protect the sensitive skin around your eyes.

The skin is the largest organ that we have, therefore it is the most exposed to damage from different factors. Winter hiking is beautiful and cold weather shouldn’t stop you from doing it. But protect your skin and be careful! Good luck!

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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival