Students and families in the Pikes Peak region are gearing up for spring break later this month. Whether it’s a sandy beach or the snowy slopes, there are several skin care tips to keep in mind.
The most important advice a dermatologist can give you is: no matter the season, protect your skin from solar radiation. There is nothing that will benefit your skin as much, especially if you are thinking long term.
Whether you are going to enjoy the break on the mountains or at the beach, protect your skin from ultraviolet rays by using sun protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses, as well as applying sunscreen to the exposed areas.
For skiers, although most of the skin is covered by gear, it is very easy to forget the face. Don’t make that mistake. At high altitude, you are exposed to significantly more intense ultraviolet radiation than at sea level. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen on your entire face and neck before you put on your scarf, face cover, helmet or goggles. Even though you think most of your skin is covered, it is common to have people with intense facial sunburn after a day in the mountains - the classic skier sunburn that only spares the areas around the eyes, which are covered by the goggles. A useful tip is carrying in your pocket a sunscreen in a stick, so you can apply to the face without even taking your gloves off, while waiting in lift lines. It is easy to lose track of time when we are having fun in the slopes, so make sure to reapply every few runs.
After a fun day in the mountains, most people like a hot shower or a hot tub. While this feels lovely, remember that, associated with the dry air of the mountains and of heated spaces, this will dry your skin. Apply thick moisturizing cream to your skin at the end of the day to prevent dry or itchy skin.
If you are going to be at a sunny destination to enjoy the ocean or the pool, more of your skin will be exposed to the sun. Clothes provide a physical barrier to protect your skin, and there are several brands that offer clothes with ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number, which are made for outdoor activities. They have cool breathable fabric, and some also can be used for swimming.
Regarding the sunscreen for the beach, look for one that is water resistant (stays effective for 40 minutes in the water) or very water resistant (stays effective for 80 minutes in the water). Even if your skin remains dry while using a water-resistant sunscreen, you’ll need to reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours. Also, don’t forget your feet! If you’re wearing sandals, be sure to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin.
Remember that it does not matter if it’s a cloudy day on the mountain or at the beach. Ultra-violet A rays can go through clouds and cause skin damage.
Good skin care should happen all year round, but spring break is a great time to remind us of that, as we prepare to step out of the house and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
Dr. Renata Prado is a board-certified dermatologist and board-certified Mohs Surgeon at Vanguard Skin Specialists