dealing with dry skin and being active outdoors
December 29, 2013 12:16 PM   Subscribe

I like running in the cold, but it’s majorly screwing up my skin and drying out my already dry skin much more than usual. Please help me!

This is my first winter as a runner, and I really need some skincare help! I much prefer running when it’s cold outside, because I overheat easily - 20-35 degrees is my optimal running temperature - it doesn’t get much colder than that here. My body likes the cold, but it’s making my skin dry and quite rough in insufferable patches, particularly on my cheeks and sides of my face.

My skin is normally on the dry but acne-prone side, but I've managed it ok thus far - until now. I run first thing in the morning, without anything on my face. I’m outside anywhere from 45-90 minutes, depending on the day. I’m also a sweaty mofo, even in the cold, and often from my face. I’m worried that putting something on my skin will make it harder for my face to cool/sweat, and also make me break out. I always drink plenty of water, so hydration is not the problem.

Is there anything I can do? I’ve given most over-the-counter heavy duty moisturizers a try, to no avail. Is there any special stuff that runners and cold-weather-active people do to protect their skin? Is there something I can do to protect the skin, but still allow it to "breathe?"
posted by raztaj to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Kiehl's cross terrain sunblock saved me from Utah's dry and cold conditions.
posted by bquarters at 12:24 PM on December 29, 2013

Hempz is the best I know, there seems to be something about hemp oil that makes it keep working after other lotions would dry out.
posted by hortense at 12:34 PM on December 29, 2013

Quite pricy but you might want to try Clarins rebalancing face oil. I have oily skin and break out on occasion and I found the one for oily skin very helpful this winter, when my skin started to decide it was going dry and flaky as well as oily…they can probably help you find the most suitable one.
posted by koahiatamadl at 5:08 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

This may sound gross, but slather some Vaseline on your face before you head out. I've been doing this ever since I started skiing, and now I use it whenever I go running or hiking in the winter. It protects exposed skin really well and doesn't cause acne. I'm not sure how it will work with a lot of sweat, but it's worth a try. You can also try using it at night, if it doesn't work well while you're running.
posted by stripesandplaid at 7:15 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Speaking as an extremely dry-skinned yet sweaty-faced person who also overheats easily:

1. Yes, moisturising will make your face feel slimy as you sweat. But it's a small price to pay.

2. Kosmea rose hip oil* is my go-to moisturiser for dry weather. It's the only thing that permanently banished the flakes from my eyebrows. In my experience, it also helps with pimples—it reduces the redness and shrinks them down overnight. (Downsides: Mr. Soong doesn't like the earthy smell; the oil is yellow and will make you look jaundiced for an hour or so after application; it's too heavy to use in warm and/or humid weather.)

* I've tried other brands of rose hip oil, as well as combination oils (e.g. rose hip oil mixed with jojoba oil), but I didn't find them as moisturising as Kosmea. YMMV.

3. This is probably overkill for 20-30ºF, but have you considered a balaclava? Get one with holes for the nose and mouth (and eyes obviously). Bonus points for moisture-wicking material. Seirus has a good reputation.

posted by River Soong at 10:23 PM on December 29, 2013

I've been running and skiing in Toronto winters for years. My go-to product has been the Kiehl's All-sport Face Protector, which has apparently been replaced by the All-terrain product mentioned above. I have rosacea and the All-sport has never irritated my skin and has done a good job of protecting it.
posted by TORunner at 7:08 AM on December 30, 2013

Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion...make sure it has dimethicone 1.25% as the active ingredient. Dimethicone creates a barrier that really lasts hours and hours. There's also an SPF version of it, too. Much less expensive than Kiehl's.
posted by honey badger at 5:19 PM on December 30, 2013

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