Love or hate winter, we've got some natural skincare tips you should know about November 06 2015

Love the winter?

As Canadians head out for their favourite snow- or ice-based sports, their skin will face big challenges. Cold, dry air can cause skin to chap and crack, but there are a few simple things you can do to keep your skin healthy and to stave off looking like a wizened mountain guide (er…no offence to wizened mountain guides).

As you blast down that powder-laden slope or go for a hike on a windy day, exposed skin is subject to accelerated moisture loss. Preventing that moisture loss in the first place is key to avoiding painful chapped areas and premature aging. Before heading out, apply a vegetable oil-based lotion, preferably with a barrier component such as beeswax or carnuba wax. Hip Balm was designed specifically for this use. It comes in a stick form, so you can re-apply it without baring your fingers to the cold, and it's small enough to toss in a jacket pocket.

Hands and Feet
Your hands and feet get stuffed into gloves and boots where moisture builds up as you exert yourself. Skin gets weaker if left too long in a moist environment (think of how easy it is to damage the pruney skin you get from a bath). Hands suffer even more, being exposed to alternating moist and dry air as gloves are whipped off to tie that boot or build that anchor. These are ideal conditions for developing chapped skin, painful cracks, and eczema flare-ups. Natural products such as hemp oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, or coconut oil can help. These products tend to be fairly greasy though, so you probably want to apply them just before you go to bed. You could also consider using a non-greasy, two-part product like F-Balm. Its natural, healing oils soak into the skin quickly and beeswax forms a barrier on the surface of your skin to protect against moisture loss.

Vitamin D
Unless you are planning to escape to warmer climes for a big chunk of the winter, your natural vitamin D production will fall drastically (that strip of skin between your toque and your scarf doesn’t quite give you enough exposure to the sun, I’m afraid). Consider supplementing your diet with Vitamin D3. A number of studies have shown Vitamin D to reduce inflammation and aid in skin regeneration.  

Hate the winter?

Planning an escape from winter to enjoy a warmer brand of adventure, and want simple, natural skin care products for the voyage? Take along:
  • rosehip oil (wonderful for the face), 
  • argan oil (great for the face and hair, and a proven healer of wounds)
  • apricot kernel or grapeseed oil (use all over, easily absorbed into the skin)

If you are going to be climbing, consider throwing a small file or emery board, and a tin of F-Balm into your bag. If you keep the callouses on your hands from getting too large by filing them occasionally, and keep the skin strong and hydrated with F-Balm, you’ll be a lot less likely to experience the agony of flappers.

Also, since F-Balm and Hip Balm aren’t liquids or gels, you can take them with you in your carry-on bags.

One last little thing… If you’re at the climbing gym or sunny crag this winter and meet a hot climber girl or guy but realize that *gasp* you have stinky armpits, try dabbing a little climbing chalk into your pits. Seriously. Odour-producing armpit bacteria need moisture to thrive and climbing chalk is a desiccant. It’s a temporary measure, but hey, it might just keep your pits at bay for long enough to ask the hottie out for a drink. Stay tuned for our upcoming post containing more pit wisdom…