Dry, chapped skin is so common in the colder months that it has its own nickname: Winter Itch. Skin care professionals debate causes that lead to flaky, scratchy patches, which are often prominent on exposed skin, like your hands and lips. Heavier winds, less humidity, dry indoor air, winter sunburn and a natural lack of moisture in the epidermis are all culprits that make our bodies uncomfortable and itchy in the cold.

Does this mean you should hibernate inside and lather on lotion in the winter months? Of course not!

Ask your health care professional or dermatologist for specific remedies and recommendations for your unique skin. Then, invest in portable hydrating products for your next outdoor adventure.

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

I was gearing up for a 10-kilometre trek around Stanley Park in late October. To battle the cold wind on my exposed skin, I slipped two Duckish products—a lotion stick and a lip balm—into my pocket. Here’s what happened.

Cold Ocean Breezes and West Coast Views

Stanley Park amazes me. The expanse of greenery is approximately the same size as the downtown core. When viewed from an airplane or the top of a nearby mountain at night, its utter darkness makes the lit-up Lion’s Gate look like a bridge to nowhere.

The seawall that stretches around the park is flat and paved, ideal for bicyclers, trail runners and walkers. While it’s not a technical hike, it is exposed to the elements: the brilliant Pacific stretches into the horizon; leafy trees stretch towards the sky on the other side.

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

My skin had already been acting out. To combat the drop in temperature, I soothed my face with moisturizer and sunscreen before heading out. I stuffed a pair of thin gloves into my pockets, but I knew I’d remove them to snap photos and check my phone. My lips were another bare, defenseless layer.

Within two steps of my front door, my hands already felt dry, perhaps reacting to the distinct chill that hung in the motionless air. I uncapped the lotion stick and spread it on the back of my hands, rubbing my palms over and together. Such a small thing gave me instant relief.

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

My lips, however, stayed moist from my breath until I reached English Bay. There, I swiped on the minty lip balm, which tingled ever so slightly. It felt delightful.

The seawall curved around Stanley Park, as though the grey rocks were giving the foliage a hug. Auburn, carroty and speckled taupe leaves reached to the milky sky. The smell of freshly cut cedar permeated the air. 

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

I passed runners, bicyclers blasting tunes and scruffy-faced men eating picnics on benches. To my left, the ocean glistened in silver and gold stripes. I plugged in my headphones and stepped to the beat.

By the time I reached third beach, my body was damp and warm beneath my jacket. But I felt cozy, not gross—akin to wrapping up in a fuzzy blanket with a steaming cup of tea that emits aromas of nutmeg and cinnamon, basking in the soft glow of blinking lights that ring an evergreen tree at Christmas. 

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

So I kept walking, enjoying the peaceful, mostly empty path. No, I decided. You definitely shouldn't hibernate inside this winter.



This article was sponsored by Duckish