Falling temperatures, whipping winds, and cold precipitation can speed up the wear and tear on a runner’s face – especially during the harsher weather months. Anyone who spends considerable time outdoors from late fall through early spring can attest to this.
Runners can log tons of miles without welcoming weathered faces by taking some basic beauty, health, and skin care steps. Consider these 10 cold-weather health and beauty tips, with comments from area runners (encountered at a recent winter race).
1. Wear a brimmed cap.
Squinting at sunlight can cause wrinkles, especially around the eyes. Who wants to develop crow’s feet prematurely, simply by running outside? A hat with a brim, such as a ball cap, can help to prevent this. In really cold weather, a fuzzy or insulated hat with a brim can help. Some runners, like Pete from Minneapolis, stick a visor over a wooly winter hat to keep the sun’s glare out of their eyes.
Often, sunlight seems brightest in the winter, with the rays reflecting off white snow, icy surfaces, and frozen pavement.
Gloves or mittens guard hands against winter chill and drying. Who wants scaly hands from running in the cold with bare mitts?
2. Grab a pair of sunglasses.
Sunglasses aren’t just for summertime. The best ones offer protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays. This guards the eyes, while also helping to prevent the dreaded squinting.
“Because I have frequent migraines, I wear sunglasses on the cloudiest days,” said Betty, a Fond du Lac runner. “It’s a bonus to think my shades may help keep my eyes from getting too wrinkly.
3. Drink lots of water.
Sure, runners tend to sweat more in hot weather. We understand the importance of warm-weather hydration. But cold and windy weather can cause dehydration too. Winter hydration is essential, and fosters beautiful healthy skin.
“My general rule is to carry water with me on any run longer than two miles,” reported Fran, a marathoner from Beloit.
4. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
Protective sun-block products are critical for outdoor runners, even in colder months. For outings lasting 30 minutes or more, such skin protection is a must.
“I try to remember to cover any skin surface that sticks out,” explained Marty, who trains in the Racine area. “That includes my face, neck, hands, or whatever.”
5. Moisturize often.
Any exposed skin can quickly dry out in blustery, frigid weather conditions, which hearty runners face for several months each year. Faces and hands are at particular risk. Frequent and generous moisturizing helps a lot.
A quality lip balm is a runner’s cold-weather friend, too.
“My hands get painful cracks in the wintertime,” said Craig of La Crosse, Wisconsin. “So I can assume the cold weather affects my face too. But I gotta run all winter. I’m not an indoor treadmill kind of guy.”
Plenty of winter runners swear by in-home humidifiers. Some, like Artie from Indianapolis, have installed full house air cleaning and hydration systems on their home heating systems.
6. Wash up before bed.
Bedtime face washing is a daily ritual for many, particularly outdoor runners. Dust, debris, salt, and sweat can build up. And that’s not good for skin. Makeup, hairspray, and other stuff doesn’t help, either.
“Washing off the daily crud and slopping on tons of lotion make me feel like I am doing my face a favor each night,” recounted Angie, a 5K runner from Oshkosh.
7. Sleep well.
Beauty sleep is no secret. Sufficient rest contributes to overall health for anyone, but perhaps especially for those who put on the miles in harsh weather.
Here’s something many folks don’t realize. Plenty of skin care experts believe that sleeping on one side all the time can cause uneven wrinkling of the face. Flipping back and forth may prevent this. Sleeping on one’s back could be even better.
“Running actually helps me sleep better,” claimed Krystal, a triathlete from Black Earth. “So I cannot argue with the importance of rest.”
8. Cut stress.
Stress is pretty much universally regarded as a health buster. Unspent anxiety is blamed for aggravating all sorts of medical conditions, as well as facial deterioration. From the furrowed brow to deep-set creases, many believe such marks of aging may be accelerated by stress buildup. Many people claim to experience increased stress during the cold-weather months, when the sun tends to shine less often.
“Pounding out a few miles helps me blow off steam and stress,” said Fred, a snowshoe enthusiast from Marinette. “And it gives me time to think about stuff that bothers me, so I can come back with a calmer perspective.”
9. Skip the sugar.
Refined sugars and simple starches have been villainized – perhaps rightly so – by nutritionists, physical trainers, and all sorts of experts. After all, healthy nutrition contributes to general health, beauty, and overall condition, right?
Unfortunately, winter brings comfort food cravings, so it can be more challenging for folks to forgo such fare.
“Since dropping sugary sodas and sticky snacks, I swear my skin looks better,” Robby of West Bend asserted. “Plus, my endurance seems to have improved.”
10. Give yourself a facial.
At least once a week, a do-it-yourself facial can help alleviate some of the ill effects of winter weather exposure to the skin. The most basic procedure usually includes makeup removal (if needed), washing, rinsing, exfoliating, toning, and moisturizing.
“A few minutes of personal pampering make a nice break, while boosting my skin’s health,” explained Patty, a track runner from Wisconsin Rapids.
These basic winter health and beauty tips can help nearly anyone, but they may be particularly applicable to outdoor runners, who race against the wind and weather throughout much of the year.