Skiing skincare by Dr Matthew Moore

For those lucky enough to be skiing this winter, before you put your goggles in place, take a moment to protect your skin.

I frequently have patients worrying about potential damage to their skin from sun exposure while on their recent summer beach holiday, but nobody has ever shown concern regarding damage to their skin while skiing.  Historically we have been neglecting and damaging our skin for years on alpine holidays, as testament to by the notorious ski goggle marks. 

Snow has one of the highest albedo values of any natural material.  Albedo is a measure of the ability of a surface to reflect sunlight, rather than absorb it.  Fresh snow reflects 80 to 90% of the suns rays back towards us increasing our skins sun exposure.

At altitude, the sun has a higher intensity, equaling that of a beach holiday. Hopefully, you regularly apply high factor sun protector when on such a holiday, but you should be thinking similarly while on the mountains to protect your face and other exposed areas.

The pleasant sensation of heat on our body when out in the sun should be a natural alarm bell to our bodies that the sun’s rays are damaging our skin.  Worryingly when skiing the cold environment cools the skin rather than allowing it to heat up and notify us of the damage.

Our CJ Skinhealth Enhance and Protect includes SPF 30 and UVAPF 30 sunscreen, which has been specifically formulated not to run into your eyes and sting while exercising or if you sweat.

Winter climate is particularly dry, worse so at altitude where humidity is even further reduced causing drying to our skin.  This is especially prominent in exposed areas such as the face, neck and hands, which can cause a ‘weather-beaten’ look.  Make sure to use a high quality moisturiser that is enriched with ingredients that can protect and repair your skin against weathering. Using a moisturiser like Enhance & Protect will provide a protective layer against external damage as it combines several ingredients such as retinol, hyaluronic acid, DMAE, antioxidants and hydrolysed wheat proteins which help protect from free radicals and external damage.

Skin tightens when exposed to a cold environment.  This restricts the ability of the pores to breathe properly, clogging them and reducing the release of the naturally-produced protective oils, making skin susceptible to drying and infection (spots and blackheads).  Eczema sufferers will identify with their skin worsening as the weather changes. Solution: Use a cleanser that will go deep into the pores to cleanse any impurities. An exfoliator will also help remove any excess dirt. Our Active Cleanse (with exfoliating action) cleans the skin deeply into the pores to lift away ingrained impurities, pollutants, surplus oils and dead skin cells, and purifies the skin with natural antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities. The core active ingredients include Vitamin C, salicylic acid, and glycerine to leave your skin feeling fresh, clean, revitalized and soft.

Après ski - it’s important to unwind after a great days skiing, but sadly if you care about your skin you are likely to be causing additional damage long after the sun's gone down.  While comparing stories with friends, alcohol is causing changes to your skin that will be apparent (such as a red blotchy face), and may lead onto damage your skin - potentially permanently, increasing fine lines and wrinkles.

While having almost no nutritional benefit, but instead fattening due to its high sugar content, alcohol deprives your skin of vitamins, particularly vitamin A which is so crucial for skin, and dehydrates you.  Alcohol is a diuretic, removing water from the body to dehydrate us.  Imagine the extent of dehydration required to cause the hangover you suffer before heading out the next morning to a fresh crisp blank canvas. That feeling of un-quenching thirst.  Well, that is just what is happening to your skin too.  If only it could tell you!  Oh wait, it does, with dry, red, inflamed, blotchy skin.  Outbreaks of spots or even the odd broken vein thrown in for good measure.

Alcohol also lowers the antioxidants found in your skin, reducing the natural protection against environmental free radicals which cause skin damage, further increasing the signs of ageing.

As I know I won’t deter from your après ski, and I certainly don’t want to get you off the slopes, it’s all the more important to care for your skin.  That’s why I would recommend CJ Skinhealth Enhance & Protect and Active Cleanse as part of your essential travel gear for when you arrive at your chalet.

So this spring, make it obvious that you’ve been away skiing when your colleagues see your face and comment on how refreshed and healthy you look, not on your panda-eyes.  Your skin - it’s what protects you, so why not protect it?

Leave a comment