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7 ways winter weather impacts your skin

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This story is sponsored by Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology. Learn more about Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology.

Utah is known for its incredible winter seasons and snow that makes for exceptional skiing. Utah draws winter sports enthusiasts from across the globe to savor the slopes.

In the rush to enjoy a day shredding the powder, many may forget how harsh the cold and wind can be on their skin. Especially on a sunny day, going out without UV protection can leave anyone with a raccoon-eye sunburn and a permanent squint.

Here are seven ways winter weather can wreak havoc on your skin and some suggestions for how to keep it healthy this season.


A study published by the National Institutes of Health found that at higher altitudes, there is less oxygen and more exposure to UV light. When you ski or snowboard, it increases your risk of sunburn because light is coming from two directions: Rays come down from the sun and then are reflected up from the snow. Be sure to check that your sunscreen has at least a sun protection factor of 30 and isn’t expired. Apply to your face, neck and eyelids before you ski or snowboard. Wear sunglasses or tinted goggles to protect from the glare.


Wind can quickly dry out your skin in the wintertime. And while it may feel wonderful to get a hot shower after being out in the cold, the hot water is bad for your skin, according to Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology, stripping it of its natural oils. The best solution is to spend only five to 10 minutes in a lukewarm shower or bath and to close the bathroom door to keep the steam in.


Ashy, flaky winter skin doesn't have to stick around as long as the cold and snow. According to WebMD, exfoliating old skin cells is key to achieving deep penetrating moisturizing. So get out a pumice stone and slough off those dead cells. Then be sure to moisturize. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends moisturizing immediately after drying off after a shower; use an ointment or cream with olive oil or jojoba oil.


Keep the temperature as even as possible to avoid winter eczema, according to the National Eczema Association. Sitting directly in front of a heat source can be drying to the skin, so layer up on clothing and cuddle up with blankets.

Indoor heating also dries out the air, which can cause eczema to flare up. Healthline recommends that you use a humidifier in your bedroom or living areas, which will put moisture back into the air and calm down your skin.


Chapped lips

Our lips don't have oil glands, so you need to be proactive in applying lip balm. Try to choose a balm that has sunscreen in it, plus a base of petroleum gel or mineral oil (so it will stay on the lips). Also, avoid eating too many salty snacks and be sure to drink enough water, as dehydration will contribute to chapped lips.

Irritation and redness

Another contributor to irritated skin may be your laundry detergent, says Healthline. Soaps that aren't marked as hypoallergenic may have chemicals or dyes that can spark irritation in your already dry skin.


If you've changed your detergent and still have itchy skin, it may be time to toss your bar soap too. Bubble baths and excess lathering can make your skin itch. Modern Soapmaking recommends using a soap with a base of good fatty acids, such as coconut oil or olive oil, to keep your skin smooth.

If you are concerned about your dry, itchy skin, make an appointment to see one of the board-certified dermatologists at Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology. They can help you keep your skin looking and feeling great as you hit the slopes this winter.