Saving Winter Skin Without Petroleum


** I originally wrote this post for Grease Rag, a forum for women/trans/femme cyclists in the Twin Cities. But after waking up to a temperature of eight degrees below zero this morning, I thought it would be an appropriate post for this week. Enjoy!

As much as some of us might dislike it, winter is officially here. And, as a winter cyclist, the combination of the harsh winter weather with exposed skin during winter bike riding equals dry, scaly, winter skin.  After years of working in the health and body care section at a natural foods co-op, I’ve tried almost every natural weather resistant cream out there on the market. So in order to save you time, money, and the sampling of thousands of testers, here's my two cents on the best way to soothe and protect your skin during the winter season.

Best petroleum jelly alternative: Walexene

This product promotes itself as the natural alternative to petroleum jelly and I have to say that it’s has become my favorite go to cream for almost everything since I found it. It has a very thick texture (almost like whipped butter), smells like honey (there are only four 100% natural ingredients: soybean oil, beeswax, rosemary oil, vitamin E oil), and absorbs completely into the skin within a few minutes (avoiding the greasy feeling some oil based creams leave behind).

I primarily use this for hands, feet, elbows, knees, lips, and cuticles. This cream is great for any area of the body that needs a heavier and more protective layer during the winter months. And while you could absolutely use this on your face, I tend to break out easily so I think the heavy quality of this cream wouldn’t work well for my skin. (Exception: this is perfect for protecting the sensitive skin around the nostrils that tend to irritate easily when you’re sick and blowing your nose frequently.)

The website lists several other possible uses for this petroleum jelly alternative, including: removing make-up, hairline skin protection when dying hair, cradle cap and diaper rash treatment for babies, hair styling aid for unruly flyaway’s and split ends, and many more.

While their list is impressive as is, I'd like to add a few cycling specific uses:

They state that you can use this as a weather protector for leather work-boots or baseball gloves, so I figure why not also use it to condition and protect leather saddles? I don’t have a Brooks saddle (insert wishful thinking here), so I haven’t tried out this theory yet, but I have used Waxalene on my beloved Frye harness boots and it worked great.

So that’s my two cents, my love letter if you will, to my favorite all purpose winter skin protector: Waxelene. But you might be wondering: What about the sensitive skin on my face? That’s the only part of me that deals with weather exposure when I’m riding! I promise I have more thoughts on that topic too, but that will have to wait until a later date…

***Heads up! This post contains an affiliate link. If you buy something through this link you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life - duh!