There is always a lot to enjoy on the icy mountain slopes: fresh, crisp mountain air and gorgeous chalets; not forgetting the thrill of skiing down the mountain slopes. No matter how harsh the weather gets during winter, and especially on ski conditions, you won’t miss ski bunnies with their friends booking for ski trips. One thing you should never forget is that, just like the tropical weather, winter conditions can subject your skin to adverse weather effects such as sunburns, frostbite and dehydration.
HOW COLD WEATHER AFFECTS YOUR SKIN
What really happens is that when the temperatures get very cold outside, coupled with windy conditions, moisture gets blown away from your skin. This has a drying effect as the skin cells lose water and the resulting effect is a sore, dry and flaky skin. You probably don’t want to come back from your trip with such a skin and that’s why you want to take extra precautions before hitting the slopes when the weather is worryingly cold.
On top of the cold dry air, there is also the issue of increased ultraviolet (UV) light, almost by 40%. This is due to the increased height above the sea level and the bouncing of the UV light off the shiny snow.
KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER
Here is what Dr. Darrell S. Rigel, a dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology Group, offered as precautionary measures for your complexion when taking a trip to the icy slopes.
- CARRY A MORE POTENT SUNSCREEN -It’s no rocket science that the higher you go the higher the amount of UV light you expose yourself to. This calls then that, when going for your trip, you bring along a stronger sunscreen capable of combating the increased amount of UV light hitting your skin. “You get six to eight percent extra UV intensity per every thousand feet, so it’s important to use an SPF of at least 50,” said Dr. Rigel.
- PACK EVERYTHING WELL – It happens that in high altitudes, packaged items tend to pop open. This is why you need to be extra cautious when packing; ensure that all lids and ointment caps are tightly screwed before leaving.
- APPLY PETROLEUM JELLY ON EXPOSED SKIN – You can use petroleum jelly on exposed skin to protect against frostbite. How this works, according to Dr. Rigel, is that you get an insulating layer that protects your skin against heat loss thus reducing your skin’s chances of drying.
- TAKE EXTRA CARE OF YOUR NECK AND CHIN – Many people will cover the rest of their bodies and forget the neck and chin, at least most of the time. Just to ensure that you protect yourself from the extra amount of UV light, it’s important that as you cover the rest of your body, you also remember to cover your neck and chin. You can apply an extra amount of sunscreen on these areas and/or wrap up a scarf.
- HOT SHOWERS ARE A BIG NO – No matter how much you might be tempted to take that hot shower after a chilly day outdoors, it’s not the best of the ideas under the circumstances. This is because hot water erodes the protective sebum on your skin and exacerbates the effect of the dry air.
- CUT BACK ON YOUR ALCOHOL INTAKE – Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on your skin and will only synergize the drying effects and thus should be controlled.
- USE A HUMIDIFIER – The central heating system used for hotel rooms has the effect of removing more moisture from the air and consequently your skin. Always ask your hotel to provide you with a humidifier. The humidifier will add moisture back to the air and will ensure your skin remains moistened.
- DRINK LOTS OF WATER – Most of the moisturizers you use will work either by preventing loss of water from your skin or by drawing water from cells to the outer skin cells on the surface: both methods rely on water that’s already in your system. From this, it goes without saying that drinking lots of water remains the single most important way of keeping your skin hydrolyzed and moistened.