Skincare in the mountains might not be top of your list, but it’s definitely something that’s surprised us any time we’ve spent an extended amount of time in the snow.
The conditions in a ski resort, and on a ski season, are the perfect recipe to mess with your skin. This is a combination of the significant change in temperature (the cold mountain air but also intensely heated buildings), the sun/wind/snow/rain doing their thing, the surprisingly dry air at altitude, oh and a hefty amount of booze!). Your skin might flare up when you first arrive in resort - this is pretty normal - but take care of it as you go and you can easily get on top of things.
You face is going to take a heavy dose of sun, wind and cold. It’s very easy for it to get burnt, dry or chapped. In addition, pulling Buffs, balaclavas and goggles on and off your face all day can be irritating to skin that’s sensitive thanks to the elements.
What to do?
Firstly, make sure your Buffs, balaclavas etc are clean and washed regularly – with a non-biological detergent if you do have sensitive skin. Then it’s a case of looking after your face. Get hold of a really rich moisturiser (moisturiser for dry or older skin tends to be more intense) and lather it on day and night. If you really want to go for it – get a specific ‘night cream’ too and apply liberally before bed until you rival a glazed donut. This is all in prep for getting outdoors. Before you do head outside, and in all conditions (cloudy, sunny, whiteout), cover your face in sun cream. The higher the factor, the better – and do not fear you will STILL GET TANNED, just with less wrinkles. Make sure you wash your face properly at the end of the day, you’ll likely have a build-up of sweat and these products.
It’s easy to keep your body protected from the elements, but your hands will be more exposed. Doing anything with your hands in out the cold – even if it’s just texting, opening doors, smoking, or doing up your shoes – will quickly make a difference. Thanks to all the joints in our fingers, as soon as your hands get dry it’s really easy for them to start cracking. It’s probably the thing that happened the quickest for us!
Get on top of this early, and repeat these steps if they start cracking again, and you should be fine. Firstly, make sure you have a small pair of gloves for any time you’re out and about. Ski gloves are so bulky, you won’t want to wear them out, so a small pair that can be stuffed in a coat pocket are perfect. Be strict and make it a habit that you always put them on. Of course, get hold of a really thick hand cream – we rate Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula Concentrated Hand Cream or O’Keeffe’s Working Hands. Apply this all the time and by the bucket-load at night. If you end up with seriously cracked and painful hands – humour us here – before bed, apply a ridiculous amount of hand cream (so much that you could barely pick up your phone without it slithering away) and then stick a sock on each hand to lock that goodness in… we promise, the morning will bring super-soothed hands! This solution might be odd but is a preferable to the alternative: supergluing deep cracks back together (yes, we’ve tried this in desperation too!).
When your lips start to get sore in the mountains it’s a really pain in the ass. First and foremost – DO NOT lick your lips to soothe them. The relief will only last a second and the area will get redder and redder – and you’ll look like one of those nursery kids with the big red ring around their top lip. Sexy. It also goes without saying that when things start to get dry and flaky, don’t rip these bits off (with your teeth or fingers!). Wait, are we the only one that does this? Maybe…
Again, prevention is better than the cure here. Get hold of a good quality lip balm (buy two – you will lose one) and make sure it has a SPF of at least 30. Wear it every day, even when the weather looks crap. Our top tip is to actually get another lip balm, maybe a more soothing type or just good old Vaseline. This is for the evenings and bed time (continuing the glazed donut vibe). SPF lip balms can sometimes taste a bit weird and leave a bit of a chalky look – you’ll want something a bit more pleasant and low key for off snow.
The rest of your body won’t share the same exposure as your face, lips and hands, but will deserve a bit of care for other reasons. From the neck down, you’re going to be well wrapped up for over three months! There’s not too much to worry about here, but a good scrub and taking care of your feet is what you need to think about.
Making sure you stay hydrated (with water before you ask!) will be beneficial to your skin all over. The occasional shower-scrub is a good idea and can be done with a loofa/mitt type of thing, or a product with a bit of scrubby texture. When it comes to your feet – they really are locked away for months on end, often in cold/damp boots. Keep your feet scrubbed, dry them properly and try to walk around your accommodation barefoot when you can. Stay on top of toenails – an ingrown or too-long nail can ruin a day on the hill!
That concludes our slightly graphic guidance to ski season skin care. Hopefully we didn’t gross you out too much, we promise all our advice comes from a good place and lived experience. One final piece of advice is to buy these specific moisturisers and toiletries before you go – it can be really hard to get hold of certain brands in the mountains, they’re often very expensive and/or it’s not easy for deliveries/internet shopping to happen!