Ski holidays are amazing — there are no two ways about it. Nothing quite beats swooshing down sparkling mountainsides through fresh snow on a clear, sunny day, squinting at the stunning scenery around you. Or sharing a well-earned mountain-top beer with your friends after a challenging run, and then relaxing in the evening in your wood chalet — feet up by the fire, glass of wine in your hand, and alpine food on the table.
Unfortunately, one of the (few) downsides of going on a skiing holiday is that your skin can take a real hit. The crisp, mountain air might be great for your lungs, but it is not kind to your skin.
Luckily, we’ve come up with six simple ways you can look after your skin on a skiing holiday. Read on for an easy guide for skincare on the slopes:
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1. Apply lots of sunscreen
If you’ve been skiing before, you’ll know the importance of protecting your skin from the sun. If you’re a skiing newbie, heed our words of warning! Don’t be an idiot and assume that you won’t burn because it’s cold.
Burning is way worse when you’re skiing: the atmosphere is thinner the higher up you go, providing less protection from harmful UV rays. This can result in sunburn, premature skin aging, and more severe skin damage.
The white snow also makes this much worse, reflecting the sun’s rays back unto your face so you get hit from two angles (which means double the damage). Basically, it is so easy to get burnt when you’re out on the slopes.
If you don’t want a burnt forehead or a shocking goggle tan (something to aspire to in certain circles), then apply a high-factor sunscreen regularly throughout the day, paying special attention to your nose, ears and forehead. We’d honestly recommend SPF 50 for ski trips — that mountain sun on bluebird days is hot.
Remember, you’ll be sweating and face-planting into snow too, so get a water-resistant suncream.
2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
Next up: the importance of moisturizing.
The hot sun, dry air, and harsh temperatures are all going to stress your skin out on a ski trip. We’re talking dryness, irritation, flaky skin, and even painful cracking.
Moisturizing regularly will help to keep your skin healthy and happy, and prevent winter skin problems like extreme dryness.
Use an oil-based moisturizer for extra hydration during your skiing holiday — and remember to moisturize in the morning, before you go to bed, and straight after you shower.
If you seem to notice dry, itchy skin regularly — and it is also red, scaly or resembles a rash — you may suffer from eczema. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can tackle eczema; this guide from The Independent Pharmacy will tell you more about this common skin condition, prevention, and treatment options.
3. Protect your hands
When you’re enjoying your skiing holiday, you need to remember to protect your hands. The skin on your hands is thinner than the rest of your body, which means it’s more prone to getting chapped and dry — particularly in the cold, dry mountain air.
Making sure you wear thick gloves as much as possible when you’re outside will keep your hands warm and protect them from extreme weather conditions.
It’s easy to remember this when you’re getting ready to go out skiing for the day — after all, bare hands when you’re sat freezing on a slow-moving chairlift or straight-lining down a mountainside are not fun — but you may forget when you’re heading out for dinner or going to a bar. The temperature really drops when the sun goes down, so be sure to wear gloves and your hands will be well-protected.
It’s also vital to moisturize your fragile hand skin regularly when you’re on a skiing trip. Ideally, you should take hand cream out on the mountain with you; there are plenty of pocket-size tubes that can easily fit in your ski jacket or salopettes.
4. Try to avoid really hot baths and showers
This tip may sound strange, but trust us on this: avoid taking super hot baths and showers to protect your skin.
Slipping into a steaming bath or standing under the hot, massaging jets of a shower may seem like the obvious way to end a long, cold day on the slopes. And while you might find a bath relaxing, your skin definitely doesn’t.
Hot water can disrupt the skin’s natural balance of moisture, stripping away natural oils and fats that keep skin healthy. Without these natural oils, your skin can be left dry, itchy and inflamed. In fact, hot showers/baths can even make conditions like eczema worse.
Turning down the temperature of your shower just a little bit means you’re protecting your skin and keeping it happy. A warm bath will better hydrate your skin, as well as help to heal dry and irritated skin.
5. Don’t neglect your lips
All too often, we forget about protecting our lips when we’re skiing — until it’s too late.
The cold, harsh weather in the mountains plays havoc with our lips, leaving them dry, chapped and cracked. Not to mention that our lips are also more prone to sun damage than any other part of our body. Lips contain no melanin (natural pigment) to protect from harmful UV rays.
This means that when your unprotected lips are exposed to the harsh sun on the mountain, they will very easily burn.
To keep your lips protected, hydrated and smooth, you should apply a high SPF/UVA lip balm regularly while skiing. A thick layer of this will stop those pesky UV rays causing any damage, and keep your lips soft and supple.
When you’re off enjoying your skiing holiday, it’s important to look after your skin; the strong sun and cold, dry air can leave your skin dry, damaged and dull. Follow these top tips for healthy skincare on the slope, and keep your face glowing with happiness rather than sunburn this winter.