As any snow sports fan knows – the most impactful loss to you on the mountain isn’t your mobile ‘phone. It is your gloves. The sudden shock of exposing your hands for any length of time to high altitude cold and ice forces you to retreat to the nearest warm haven. Gloves protect you from nature’s extremes.
But only recently has the same level of consideration been given to the sun and its impact on our skin. Tanned faces and goggle shaped tan lines have always been the status mark of a recent trip to the mountains. But many new modern travellers know different. Alongside skiing off piste with absolutely no ski experience, unprotected exposure to high altitude sun is possibly one of the most dangerous things to do on your winter holiday.
Why? Well in basic terms, the sun’s rays are both life giving and really, really harmful. Premature ageing is one direct result of over the top skin exposure but the biggest and deadliest impact is skin cancer.
Governments in Australia and New Zealand, where sun exposure is more or less consistent have completely changed their approach to skin protection in recent years. These countries have some of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world and their advice is to apply SPF on a daily basis – just like you would with any morning routine – like brushing your teeth!
Sunshine is made up of UVB and UVA rays. As this article shares, UVB is the chief culprit against sunburn but it is now understood that both UVB and UVA rays contribute to premature ageing and can lead to skin cancer (sun protection explained) And this doesn’t just apply to people who work outside. Repeated sun exposure even in small doses over time has a cumulative effect which is just as dangerous.
In the mountains, even more caution and skin protection needs to be applied. Because you are so much higher, the atmosphere is thinner so there is less of a filter from UV radiation, before it hits your skin.
Sunscreens that contact SPF help protect against UVB rays. But what type of sunscreen to buy? The general consensus is that products with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting us againstUVB. The higher the SPF, the longer the protection. On average, an SPF 15 lasts approximately 5 hours. That’s a big consideration when it comes to long days in the mountain air.
But there is another factor you may want to consider – we certainly did! And that’s the difference between mineral sunscreen and chemical sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens are generally better for sensitive skin because their ingredients are not absorbed directly into the skin. Also mineral sunscreens are better for the environment unlike chemical sunscreens that have been proven to adversely affect marine life.
Whatever you do on your ski holiday, ensure you apply your sunscreen product at least 20 minutes before venturing outdoors so it has time to be absorbed. Mineral sunscreens by the way go to work much more quickly.
And why not use this new found knowledge to maintaining a skin protection regime once you have left the mountains behind? Our Resurrection Cream not only give your skin long term hydration it also contains a mineral SPF 20 so you can continue that good care practice at home.
From the team at Vitruvian Man – enjoy your winter holiday but stay skin safe!