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Old 03-15-2008, 10:08 PM
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Default Taking the sting out of windburn

Have you ever ended a day of skiing or other winter sports with a sunburn, despite slathering on plenty of SPF, and wondered how that was possible? Well that red, irritated skin might actually be windburn. Cold air has less humidity than warm air, which already compromises the skin barrier - that's the layer of lipids in the epidermis that holds onto moisture and keeps irritants out.
Throw wind-induced friction into the mix, during wintry activities like skiing and skating, for example, and you could end up with raw, "burned" skin. This is especially true if you flew to that ski chalet, since the air in planes is also low-humidity and particularly drying.
So what can you do to bolster your skin's defenses against gusts, big and small? The first step is to protect your skin barrier from losing any more moisture to cold, windy air. It's crucial that you use a heavy moisturizing cream like ATOPALM MLE Cream.
In fact, your best bet is the heaviest protective agent of all: good ol' petroleum jelly! Yes, I know it's greasy, but it could make your day of skiing a lot more comfortable.
And don't forget physical barriers, too. A scarf - or an appropriately named ski mask - could be the best fashion statement you'll make all winter.
Of course, sunscreen is also vital when participating in any outdoor winter sports - you wouldn't want to contend with two types of burns!
While you probably look for a light, sheer option for everyday use, you'll actually want to choose a good greasy product to wear when you're skiing. Products like Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion or Vaseline Daily Skin Shield do double-duty by locking in moisture while protecting your skin from UV rays.
Finally, the most effective measures you can take to prevent windburn actually need to happen long before you brave the great outdoors. Do not use retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, or salicylic acid for five days before your ski trip, and avoid chemical peels or microdermabrasion for seven days before you leave.
This is one of the few times you'll hear me advocating for an accumulation of dead skin cells - but in this case, you need all the protection you can get.
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