Winter has arrived, bringing its cruel temperatures, low humidity, ravaging winds, and depending where you live, heavy rainstorms and/or pelting snow that batter our bodies. For those of us who continue to train and adventure outside during this season, how can we keep that healthy, sun-kissed summer glow?
Apply an antioxidant Vitamin C serum, emphasizes Dr. Susan Poelman, co-director of Beacon Dermatology, a team of board-certified medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatologists. Dab a couple of drops to your face every morning under your SPF 30 (minimum) moisturizer to clear away free oxygen radicals, which, in addition to skin cancer, can cause fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. “It acts like a Swiffer, it mops up cellular damage,” says Poelman, also a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Calgary.
Alberta Mogul Team member Clare Stoddart says she always applies a sunscreen of SPF 50 or higher for her six-hour training sessions on the ski hill. The serum coupled with the SPF moisturizer are especially critical when the UV exposure in the mountains increases four to five times for every 1,000 feet of elevation. The Rockies are about 7,000 feet at the top, meaning 30 per cent more UV at the summit. And that doesn’t include the doubling of UV exposure from the snow’s reflection. “I’ve had my fair share of bad goggle burn,” says 19-year-old Stoddart, who competed for the first time in 2020 in the full NorAm tour in Utah, Vermont, Quebec, and Alberta.
To further protect your skin from the wind and cold, Poelman recommends a thick layer of zinc cream or a zinc-based sunscreen. Not only does zinc have a barrier function, it also possesses wound-healing properties for chafing, perhaps from ski goggles, or fissuring from wind or frostbite.
Making good lifestyle choices as an athlete go hand in hand with skincare, says Stoddart, one of three girls on the team of 10. She lists managing stress, getting a good sleep, eating a healthy diet, and staying hydrated. Poelman recommends drinking six to eight glasses of water a day.
Dial down the temperature of your shower. Hot water dries out the skin, making it itchy. As well, many soaps change the pH of the skin and dry it out, so choose ones that do not break down the natural lipids. Recommended brands are Dove Sensitive, Cetaphil, CeraVe, and Lipikar. Post-shower rituals are equally if not more important – pat yourself dry and then immediately smear on body cream to seal in the moisture.
IMPACT Magazine’s December 2020 Edition
Read about our top Canadian Olympic snowboarder who returned from injury and is chasing that elusive Olympic Gold! Learn how not to lose your momentum running through the cold and snow, work out with Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers, avoid back pain with one of the world’s most renowned experts and try out our delicious Holiday-themed recipes.