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How to Enjoy Winter Sports and Help Your Skin

Winter is a wonderful time for sports that can’t be enjoyed at any other time of year – like skiing and snowboarding, outdoor ice hockey and figure skating, and even snowmobiling! But for those who tend to have a dry skin rash during the winter or flare-ups of eczema or psoriasis, the season can bring its challenges. Here’s how to keep your skin hydrated and healthy while still playing in the cold.

What to Know About Winter Sports and Skin

How Does Winter Affect the Skin?

During the winter months, outdoor air is dry and chilly, which can cause skin to become cracked and irritated. Furthermore, heating systems – especially forced air heat – can cause indoor air to be particularly dry. So many people are exposed to dry air at all times, outdoors and in.

A habit many people have during winter is increasing their shower time or turning up the water temperature to keep warm. This can further dry out the skin, especially if adequate hydration isn’t added afterward. And outdoor athletes are combining layers of potentially irritating clothing with sweat and bacteria, which can certainly irritate the skin.

What Is Eczema?

There are a multitude of different types of the red, itchy, or scaly dry skin rash known as eczema (also referred to as dermatitis). While some cases, like acute dermatitis, are typically caused by contact with an allergen, others like chronic dermatitis (or atopic eczema) can be hereditary. In any case, eczema symptoms often flare up during the winter months in response to cold, dry air. Some people are also sensitive to fabrics like wool, polyester, or nylon, so wearing these layers during the winter can cause problems.

Eczema treatment usually involves an identification of the trigger and subsequent avoidance. Dermatologists can also prescribe topical steroids or non-steroidal topical medications in the form of creams and ointments to keep winter eczema flare-ups at bay.

Tips for Healthy, Hydrated Skin

First, ensure you’re using a high-quality skin care line appropriate for your skin type. At a minimum, this should include a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. If you tend to have dry skin, be sure that your moisturizer is water-based and thick enough to fully hydrate your skin. Your face shouldn’t feel tight or itchy after using your moisturizer – those sensations are typically an indicator that it’s not the right formula.

Keep your showers and baths lukewarm rather than hot throughout the colder season, especially if you struggle with dry skin or winter eczema. Wear soft cotton clothes that are comfortable and not tight, and avoid wool or any other materials that irritate your skin. Use gentle, hypoallergenic lotions and moisturizers liberally.

You can also opt to visit your dermatologist and receive regular facial treatments throughout the winter. This can help keep your skin feeling hydrated, and your provider can also keep an eye on any existing conditions you have and make appropriate treatment recommendations.

Contact Vanguard Dermatology

Need help managing your eczema or psoriasis? Want to try a winter facial? If you’re in the greater New York City area, contact Vanguard Dermatology today for an appointment with one of our board-certified specialists.

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