If you're lucky enough to be heading off for a winter ski break, you're probably looking forward to a few action-packed days of activity and sunshine. But thanks to the harsh winter climate and higher elevation in the mountains, you'll likely confront pesky skin concerns like sunburn, windburn, redness, and dryness. Protecting your skin from the elements doesn't have to be complicated—just follow this skin care checklist and you'll be set to hit the slopes.

The Ultimate Skin Care Checklist for Winter Athletes

1. Gentle Cleanser

At the end of a long day of skiing, you'll be covered with a layer of sweat and grime that can wreak havoc on your skin if you don't use a gentle cleanser to wash it away. Cleansing is important as it helps to remove makeup, pollutants, and sunscreen while keeping your pores clear and maximizing your skin's ability to perform vital functions like skin cell repair and renewal. Before bed is the perfect time to cleanse, since most of these functions take place while you sleep.

A gentle cleanser also helps all of your skin care products absorb properly so that they can work their magic. When you don't cleanse your skin, it can become congested, dull, and more prone to breakouts and flare-ups.

2. Hydrating Moisturizer

Sunshine, cold temperatures, and warm fires inside the ski lodge can all dehydrate your skin, so a moisturizer should be an essential part of your skin care checklist. By hydrating your skin every morning and evening, you'll reinforce its protective barrier, which is responsible for attracting and retaining water while keeping bacteria and irritants out. Proper hydration will lead to healthy, glowing skin that's less sensitive to the environmental aggressors—like cold winds and ultraviolet rays—that you'll face on the slopes.

EltaMD's Barrier Renewal Complex is an ideal moisturizer for your winter ski trip due to its hydrating formula packed with ceramides and essential lipids. These ingredients help to strengthen the skin barrier and restore its natural hydration system. Enzymes and vitamins also minimize the appearance of any redness in the skin and promote skin cell turnover.

3. Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen

We all know the danger that the sun's UV rays pose to the skin on a daily basis, but do you know how this risk can increase on a ski slope? According to the American Cancer Society, higher altitudes can increase your risk of skin damage. More UV rays reach the ground at higher elevations and they can bounce off surfaces like water and snow, leaving you open to exposure.

This means that applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen is vital on a ski trip, especially if you want to avoid premature aging and discoloration. EltaMD's UV Sheer Broad-Spectrum SPF 50+ is ideal for an active outdoor vacation as it's super lightweight and sweat and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Back at the lodge, reapply a tinted moisturizing formula like EltaMD's UV Glow Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 36 for a gorgeous, natural glow as you cozy up by the fire.

Enjoying the Winter Sun

From skiing and snowboarding to hiking the nearby trails, staying active in the winter is important for your overall health, and a winter break is a great opportunity to get your blood pumping and your endorphins flowing. Just don't forget to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, especially after you get particularly sweaty on a cross-country trail or towel off your face before lunch. By following these simple skin care tips, you'll hit the slopes with confidence knowing your skin is adequately hydrated and protected.


  • Catherine Hufton

    Catherine Hufton is a UK-based freelance journalist and writer who has worked for some of fashion's most iconic companies and written for the world's best known magazines and newspapers. Beginning her career at Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion over 12 years ago, she has created content for L'Oréal, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, The Telegraph and more.

    View all posts