Beating the effects of cold weather

Whether you’re hitting the slopes, making snowmen with the kids or riding a bicycle in sub-freezing temperatures, those who subject themselves to harsh winter conditions will eventually start to feel its wrath.

Some of this stuff might seem girly, but all who spend time outdoors in the winter can benefit from these simple tips. As much as some of us like to think winter commuting is about showing off, I’m certain all of us can do without chapped lips, windburned cheeks, cracking skin on our hands and dry, irritated eyes.

  • Use a humidifier

Humidifiers moisturize the air, which is likely being dried out by your home’s heater. This has made the most difference so far the past few winters. My irritated eyes and chapped skin seem to get faster relief with a humidifier. I leave mine running in my bedroom at night.   It’s not an expensive one, it just pulls air through a wet air filter. I’ve had better luck with these than with some of the ultrasonic ones, which seemingly just leave a dew-like residue all over the place.

  • Keep skin exposure to a minimum

Even if it’s not terribly cold outside, a thin pair of gloves helps keep the wind away and the moisture in. The same goes for your ears and face. Earmuffs, a headband, scarf, or balaclava not only keeps the warmth close, it keeps things mosturized.

  • Use sunscreen, lip-balm and eyewear

Even in the dead of winter, UVA and UVB rays can cause harm. Bonus: UV-Blocking lip-balm and eyewear also keep your eyes and lips from getting irritated as quickly due to wind and snow.

  • Vaseline prevents windburned cheeks

This is one I picked up on various discussion boards. A thin layer of vaseline or other petroleum jelly on the face will lock in moisture and prevent some of the effects of wind-chill. If you aren’t one to rock a balaclava, face mask or scarf, this can help a bit.

  • Use a moisturizing lotion

When things get really bad with your hands, use some moisturizing lotion. Use it often, especially after washing your hands. Avoid alcohol-based hand sanitizers like Purell if you’re having trouble keeping your hands from drying out.

  • Use non-medicated eye-drops

If your eyes are swollen and burning after a particularly brutal session in the cold, some non-medicated saline eye-drops should bring quick relief to those peepers.

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