American ski racer Leanne Smith sports a goggles tanline (Wikimedia)
Even on cloudy days, the combination of reflection from the snow, the dry air and high altitude significantly increases the risk the sun poses. Twinned with the moisture stripping additions of the cold, dry air, you can get burned much quicker than you think.
We have asked SkinVision’s own Senior Dermatologist Dr. Vera Heydendael to put together her Six Top Tips to keep your skin healthy on the slopes this season:
1. Bring Stronger Sunscreen
Whilst you may not think the sun seems any stronger, the closer you get to the mountains summit, the more UV rays you become exposed to. For every 300 meters you climb it has been shown that UV intensity increased by between six to eight percent. So at the top of the mountain, the sun can be 80% stronger than back at home.
To counter this you need to be using a sun cream with an SPF of at least 50, put it on before you head out to the slopes, allowing it to fully absorb.
2. Protect your neck and chin
Snow can reflect 80% of the UV light that hits it. After applying your sunscreen make sure to add an extra layer to your neck and chin to help counteract the rays coming up from below. Even better, wrap up in a scarf for extra sun protection.
3. Sweat and Sunscreen do not mix
Far too many people start the day right but then forget that if you are outdoors, exercising and bundled up, it is going to sweat off. Make sure to re-apply throughout the day or you will end up burnt.
4. Vaseline up before you head into powder
The skin on your lips is far more sensitive than the rest of your face and the elements will crack, peel and chapp it in no time. Counter this early and often by keeping a tube of vaseline on hand at all times.
Vaseline can also act as an insulator, ensuring that you keep your body heat trapped behind the balm instead of escaping through your skin. If your riding powder this winter make sure to put a good layer of vaseline on the parts of your face most exposed.
5. Moisturize like there is no tomorrow
The sun, the wind, the cold, all will drain your skin of moisture quicker than you could expect, so you’re going to have to use a heavy duty moisturizer. Ideally at the beginning of the day before you head out, when your stop for lunch and again at the end of the day. This might seem like high-maintenance but trust me, windburn isn’t a good look for anyone. Preferably a moisturizer without perfume
6. That goes tenfold for your lips
The skin on your lips is far more sensitive than the rest of your face and the elements will crack, peel and chapp it in no time. Counter this early and often by keeping a tube of lip balm on hand at all times.
Even if the sun is hiding behind the clouds, it’s important not to underestimate the importance of skin protection. The sun’s radiation can shine through the clouds and cause just as much damage as a sunny day.
Make sure to perform regular self-checks. Start by joining the SkinVision program and download the app as a first step – which enables you to check for early skin cancer signs.