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02-21-12 | Posted by

Fun on the slopes can do the mind and body wonders, but for our skin, not so much.  The high altitude, sub-zero temps, harmful UV rays and heat indoors can all take its toll on our skin.

“During harsh weather our skin requires much more moisture to maintain the skins protective barrier,” says New York City-based dermatologist Cheryl Karcher.  “The humidity is lower, the cold wind is harsher and sun exposure is more than one thinks.”

Dry, cold climates can do damage to all skin types.  Karcher explains that when in cool harsh weather conditions, it’s vital to maintain the skin’s natural moisture protective barrier.  “That means protection during the day from the elements and repairing the skin at night.”

The first steps are to make some adjustments to the products we use every day.   That means swapping out lightweight moisturizers and facial cleansers for richer ones that contain humectants—glycerin, sorbitol, AHAs, niancinamide and hyaluronic acid—which attract water into the cells and plump the skin.  It’s best to steer clear of products with harsh detergents and fragrances, which can only exacerbate dry, itchy skin and fuel conditions such as eczema and dermatitis.  For the body, hands and feet, moisture quenchers with emollients—lanolin, petrolatum, shea butter and mineral oil—fill in spaces between cells and smooth and lubricate the skin.

Lincolnshire, Illinois-based dermatologist Amy Forman Taub says, “hot showers and baths during cooler temperatures is not good for skin, even though it can be tempting to warm up during the cold season.”  Keep showers short, the water tepid, and apply moisturizer when skin is slightly wet for better absorption.

Even though the temperature has dropped, it’s imperative to slather on sunscreen and reapply throughout the day.  “Many of us think that we do not need to wear sunscreen when in fact sunscreen should be worn year round,” adds Taub.  “The reflection of the rays from the snow can be more damaging than the reflection of rays from water during the summer months.”

Look gorgeous and youthful when off the slopes with these après-ski skin and hair savers:

Olay Total Effects 7-IN-1 Anti-Aging Nourishing Cream Cleanser ($9) won’t dry out skin, yet effectively removes dirt and makeup while skin stays nourished and smooth.

Slather on CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM with SPF 30 ($13.99) before and after hitting the slopes.  This non-comodogenic day cream maintains the skin’s protective barrier with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, dimethicone and ceramides as well as SPF 30 to protect from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Joanna Vargas Rejuvenating Serum ($100) quenches parched aging skin with a blend of five oils—argan, neroli, olive, rosehips and jojoba—all rich in antioxidants and fatty acids.  Apply under moisturizer during the day and after cleansing before bed for plumped, dewy skin.

Repair weather-damaged skin while you sleep with ZO Skin Health Ommerse Overnight Recovery Crème ($95).  This rich cream works to rebuild the skin’s barrier function containing ceramides to nourish, calming agents to reduce inflammation and retinol to help minimize fine lines and wrinkles and even skin tone.

Avene Cold Cream Hand Cream ($15) provides long-lasting relief to dry cracked hands with a blend of 63 percent thermal spring water to calm irritation, sucralfate to heal and glycerin and mineral oil to soften and hydrate.

Heal and protect dry cracked lips with Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15  ($22.50).  Real sugar, a natural humectant, and moisturizing oils help to zap dryness while grapeseed polyphenols and Vitamins A, C and E fight free radicals.

Apply a rich body moisturizer like Kiehl’s Crème de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter ($36) right after the shower for smooth, supple skin.  Moisturizing squalane and shea butter restore skin while beta carotene and Vitamin E fight free radical damage.


The dry air and cold weather can also wreak havoc on our hair.  Apply a few drops of KeratinPerfect PerfectShine Keratin Oil ($40), a concentrated conditioning oil that gives great shine and repairs hair against breakage, flyaways and frizz, before and after the slopes.

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