Winter Cycling Skin Care

Gone are the long summer days of cycling. While many of us are ditching our summer gear for fall and winter gear, many of us can also benefit from a skin-care upgrade to combat the blustery months ahead. As women who spend a lot of time outdoors, our skin may be in danger of drying and premature aging: sun spots and wrinkles. As active women, experts say we should focus on our skin care on cleansing, protecting against sun and wind burn, and repairing damage via antioxidant vitamins C, D, and E. As you gear up to do battle with the elements and other forms of fall and winter warfare, here’s how to keep your skin glowing — even in the shortest and darkest of days.
Hydrate
Refilling your bidons all summer is easy to remember because we’re usually hot and thirsty on our bikes, but keeping up your water intake is just as important in the colder months. Even when we don’t feel ourselves sweating, our body is losing water. Can you see your breath when you’re outside in the cold? That’s respiratory fluid loss and it’s one of the major ways our bodies dehydrate in the cold. We know that dehydrated skin can look scaly and dull but you can help combat your skin’s water withdrawals by refilling that bidon and finding a humidifier to add to your nightstand. Humidifiers keep moisture in the air, helping ensure you wake up with soft and supple skin.

Diet
As we dive deeper into winter, look at your diet and how it might be affecting your skin. Diet (especially if it’s high in sodium, caffeine, sugar, and alcohol) can play a huge role in what’s going on with your skin. To combat dry, flaky skin in the winter, reach for foods or a supplement rich in omegas 3’s and GLAs to replenish lost lipids in your skin — walnuts, salmon, sardines, flax seeds, and evening primrose oil all nourish skin from within. Taking a tip from Nordic countries with long winters, a typical winter diet is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, omega's, antioxidants found in a range of winter leafy and root vegetables like carrots, beets, turnips, and artichokes.

Moisturize
You need to cram as much moisture into your skin as possible. “The most hydrating formulas have ingredients like glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, that pull water into your skin,” says Jeannette Graf, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. This is not going to be the lightweight lotion that knocked around in your beach bag either, it needs to be the Incredible Hulk of that formula. This isn't just for your face, though — your entire body needs more hydration. Look for oil-free moisturizers for the face, and something greasier, and more glycerine-based for the body. Moisturizer can be complimented with a recovery serum to assist repairing facial skin at night, leaving you with soothed skin the next day after a cold ride.
Cleanser
If you suddenly notice your skin has dry, scaly patches, it’s peeling in places, or stings or bites when exposed to the cold, then it’s time to switch your cleanser. Anything highly foaming, artificially fragranced, with scrubbing beads, glycolic acid, or high levels of acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide may over-strip natural oils, remove too many cells, and compromise the skin’s barrier. Switch to a creamy, fragrance-free gentle cleanser for the winter months. Your skin should not feel tight, look red, or sting once you’ve toweled off. And, if it is, consult with a skin care professional on finding a more suitable option.
Exfoliate
You want to slough away the dead cells so your skin doesn’t look dull and your turbo-charged moisturizer absorbs. But overdo it in cold weather and skin gets dry, red, and flaky. Dr. Graf suggests exfoliating once or twice a week with a gentle scrub or a peel. And when your skin starts to feel a little tight, double-down with a hydrating serum underneath your moisturizer so you get ahead of dry patches.

SPF
Finally, an effort to hyper-hydrate and soothe the skin should never come at the cost of ditching daily sun protection. Sure, you may not see as much of the sun during the next few months, but UVA rays — the aging and cancer-causing rays that penetrate through windows and clouds, and into the deepest layer of skin — are still kicking, all day, every day. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, engaging in winter sports increases your risk of overexposure to dangerous UV rays. To protect skin year round, find a product you can work into your beauty routine without having to think too hard about it.

If you're planning on cycling through the winter months, I hope this guides you into having a glowing winter season. I know winter can be rough for some of us but in regions where the winters are tough and long, there is a balance between comfort and discomfort with the primary focus on getting out and getting on with things by embracing nature and integrating it into our lives. 

While I know winter care is one thing, I also know that winter cycling kit is another so I'll be covering winter season kit and gear in a post soon so you can be prepared for the cold season ahead. For now, here are some suggestions on skin care products that work for me in the winter season in the North East.

Images @CafeduCycliste

2 comments

Mary Crosland said...

Mary Crosland Natural ingredients means things like coconut, jojoba or olive oil; seaweed and algae extracts; vitamin C, vitamin E, butter like shea butter and cocoa butter, green tea and more. If you recognize the ingredient as something you would eat, you're probably on the right track. Ingredients to avoid include synthetic ingredients like mineral oil, synthetic preservatives like parabens and synthetic fragrances

Bob Nelson said...

I really like your blog. Thanks for sharing, Keep it up.

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