Ski Season Skin Care

ski suncareIt’s the time of year for fluffy pow­der, fresh turns, brisk moun­tain air—and gog­gle tans, dry skin, and chapped lips. As you’re hit­ting the slopes this sea­son, keep these tips in mind.

Sun Pro­tec­tion Is Key
You’ve heard the warn­ings about wear­ing sun­screen before, but they’re more impor­tant than ever dur­ing the win­ter months—especially when you’re on snow or ice, which has a unique­ly high albe­do, or reflec­tive­ness. In oth­er words, while you might be used to pro­tect­ing your skin from radi­a­tion com­ing from above, when you’re on the slopes you need to con­sid­er radi­a­tion from below. Use an SPF of 45 or more on your face, neck, ears, and hands. If you’ll be in wet con­di­tions, use a water­proof sun­screen or a for­mu­la specif­i­cal­ly designed for high-alti­tude sports. On par­tic­u­lar­ly sun­ny days, con­sid­er using a buff, face mask, and/or brimmed hat to min­i­mize radi­a­tion. If you’re feel­ing zeal­ous, look into a nose cover—they attach to your gog­gles or sun­glass­es, pro­tect­ing your sen­si­tive schnoz.

Don’t For­get Your Lips
Always, always, always use a lip balm with SPF. Accord­ing to a recent study by the Amer­i­can Soci­ety for Der­ma­to­log­ic Surgery, only 6% of Amer­i­cans are aware that ultra­vi­o­let rays can cause lip can­cer. The study also revealed that men in North Amer­i­ca have 5–10 times greater inci­dence of lip can­cer than women. The take­away? Pro­tect your pout. Every. Sin­gle. Time. To remind your­self, stash tubes of lip balm in mul­ti­ple places—your jack­et pock­ets, your car, your ski bag, etc.

Stay Hydrat­ed
Healthy skin requires mois­ture, and prop­er hydra­tion comes from the inside out. Cold air can mask symp­toms of thirst, mak­ing you less like­ly to remem­ber to sip water con­sis­tent­ly through­out the day. And the air is espe­cial­ly dry at high alti­tude and in heat­ed lodges, mak­ing water con­sump­tion even more impor­tant. To stay hydrat­ed, don’t guzzle—sip water con­sis­tent­ly through­out the day, mod­er­ate your caf­feine and alco­hol con­sump­tion, and choose fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles (rather than dried or processed food) when­ev­er possible.

Lim­it Hot Showers
And hot tubs. No mat­ter how good a hot soak sounds after a long day out­doors, scald­ing water strips skin of nat­ur­al oils, leav­ing your skin dry and del­i­cate. Try to keep show­ers rel­a­tive­ly quick. Use warm water, not scalding.

If You Do Get Sunburned
If you do get too much sun, be very care­ful about re-expos­ing the dam­aged skin to the ele­ments. Mois­tur­ize, stay hydrat­ed, and use very gen­tle skin care prod­ucts until the skin is healed. Con­sid­er zinc oxide on any exposed skin on your face, and keep in mind that your tem­per­a­ture reg­u­la­tion might be com­pro­mised. And always remem­ber: pre­ven­tion is key.