IMG_0526.jpgOh, winter. As if the ice and snow weren’t obstacles enough, winter weather is hard on your skin, especially if you’re running outside. Even inside, the air is drier and causing all sorts of problems.

You might be facing peeling, itchy skin — especially on your face, which is usually exposed to the elements. Your sinuses may be struggling, leading to bloody noses (I had three in one day recently) and sinus headaches. Or, your eyes might be so scratchy that your contacts are taking their own vacation.

Short of moving to the Caribbean for the winter (although I’m not ruling it out), there are easy strategies you can employ.

  • Get a humidifier. Or two. There’s no moisture in the air, so start by putting some back. At night, it also serves as a white noise machine! I recently bought a small one for my desk, too. Be sure to follow care instructions to prevent mold and other gross stuff.
  • Aquaphor. They told me this post couldn’t have just one tip, otherwise I would’ve just written “Aquaphor” and peaced out. Generic versions will work just as well. Slather it EVERYWHERE before you run. It will both moisturize and serve as a protectant, blocking the wind and keeping you a little warmer. I coat my face, lips and ears, plus the inside of my nose. (Not kidding.) Moisturizing inside your nostrils is a thing. Give your hands a good coating and you’ll have toasty, smooth hands post-run. You can also get this in little tubes that are perfectly purse- or pocket-sized. Apply Aquaphor to dry areas before bed to help lock in moisture overnight. (Hey, Aquaphor, do you need a brand ambassador?)
  • Saline spray. More stuff for your sinuses. A neti pot is great for flushing them out and adding some moisture, but you can also grab a plastic squirt bottle of it and spray it in your nose as needed.
  • Moisturize more. And then some more. I use a hydrating face spray from Clinique during the day; lots of others exist and are super popular for people who fly frequently or far. It’s a great time to use body lotion with SPF, since you’re probably slacking on the sunscreen front.
  • Cut the showers short. A long, hot shower is THE BEST after a freezing long run … but it’s hell on your skin. Hot water strips your skin of its moisture, so turn the temp down and hop out early — and apply lotion as soon as you’re finished!
Winter running is hard enough — with a few steps, you can keep it from wrecking havoc on your skin!

What winter skin woes do you face? What are your best tips?