Apres-Ski: Saving your skin on the slopes
Updated: Jan 6, 2019
Six million Brits head for the powdery slopes each year and I understand why. The adrenaline rush of going 50 mph down a mountainside, the exhilarating total body work out, the world class spas and the sophisticated european resorts all contribute to making skiing a top winter pastime.
However, skiing isn't a risk free activity, particularly so for our skin. The conditions found at altitude are extreme and can leave our skin burnt, dry and sensitive. This week I'm sharing some tips and tricks to keep your skin looking fresh while you enjoy the world's most popular winter sport.
1. Sunblock is your saviour: During a day on the slopes the risk of getting sunburnt is surprisingly high. For every 1000m in altitude the sun's UV radiation is 10 times stronger. In Courchevel, one of France's most popular ski resorts, the UV radiation can be over 25% higher than at sea level. To make matters worse, snow is highly reflective, bouncing back up to 90 % of radiation.
With that being said, it is absolutely crucial that you apply SPF 50+ to all exposed skin. I recommend using a sunscreen with a mineral blocker such as zinc oxide or titantium dioxide. And don't forget to reapply every 2 hours!
2. Get flake-free: In sub-zero temperatures with low humidity, skin tends to lose moisture to the atmosphere. This is further exacerbated by windy conditions, and zipping down a slope definitely counts as windy. This can cause skin to become particularly dry and flaky, especially skin on our face which is the most exposed.
Make sure to apply a moisturiser on top of your sunblock and at night time. Look for a product that is soothing whilst also protecting the skin's natural barriers. Aloe vera, camomile, cocoa butter, and hyaluronic acid are must haves. For more intensive hydration use a moisturising face mask before bed.
3. Protect your eyes: The skin around our eyes is the thinnest skin in the body, so it is very susceptible to moisture loss, dryness and irritation from the elements. On the slopes there is the added issue of glare, making us squint and frown. All these factors can make crow's feet and other wrinkles more obvious. In addition to using sunscreen and eye moisturisers make sure to wear a protective visor.
4. Banish chapped lips: Unlike the rest of our body, lips don't have sebacecous glands, the glands that make protective oils for our skin. Furthermore, the skin is thinner on our lips. This combination means that lips are susceptible to drying out, and dried lips crack and peel.
Whilst up on the slopes, use lip balms with sunscreen as well as those that seal in moisture. Look for shea butter and coconut oils. Remember to apply the balm to the outside of the lips as well as the middle. To further combat moisture loss, don't lick your lips as the salivary enzymes can exacerbate peeling.
5. Have a Scrub Down: Exfoliating old and dead skin cells will leave you feeling refreshed and radiant for your apres-ski activities. On the face I recommend a mild fruit acid wash, such as glycolic acid ( which does wonders for wrinkles and pigmentation as well). The body can take a little more force and a sugar based exfoliating scrub will do the trick but not leave your skin raw.
The best bit about exfoliating is that it allows your active skincare ingredients to penetrate deeper into the skin and hence be more effective. The only rule with exfoliation is not to do it if you think your skin is burnt or too dry.
In the week when most of us head off for a half term ski break, keep these tips close to make the most of the holiday. When you get back, make sure to contact us about our Ultimate Winter Facial, an 8 stage medical grade treatment designed to mitigate against the harsh effects of winter and keep you looking radiant year round. Have a blast guys!
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