You know you’ve had an exhilarating ski trip by the souvenirs you bring home: photos of you and your party on the slopes, muscles that ache in the best possible way, and even a gift or two from the shops around Summit County.

However, if you aren’t careful, you’ll also bring back an unwanted souvenir: dry, flaky, or irritated skin.

Ski trips can be harsh on the skin. Exposure to heavy snow, wind chill, dry air, and harmful sunlight can damage your skin fast, which is why it’s crucial to have a few winter skincare tips in your back pocket.

When it comes to caring for your skin, proper protection starts before you even hit the ski lift. Here are five key strategies you’ll need to know to keep your skin healthy on your vacation and beyond.

1. Slather On the Sunscreen

It’s easy to let the icy chill and powder snow fool you into thinking there’s no need for sun protection. After all, you’re not exactly on the beach.

However, not wearing sunscreen in the snow is a rookie mistake most people don’t make more than once, especially after a long day of skiing.

While you’re out on the slopes, your skin is more exposed to UV rays than you often are back home. This is for two key reasons.

The first is the high altitude. As the Skin Cancer Foundation notes, more radiation reaches our skin the higher we go. This is because the atmosphere thins as we move away from the center of the Earth, meaning that for every thousand feet of elevation, we get a 6-10% increase in our UV exposure.

The second is the snow itself. Because UV rays bounce off the white snow, much like a mirror, UV radiation comes at us from above and below.

As a result, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re wearing sunscreen on any exposed areas of your body, including your face, ears, lips, neck, and hands. Reapply it every two hours or so, and consider doing so more often if you’ve worked up a sweat.

2. Cover Up

Sunscreen can be a great way of protecting your skin from the sun, but a more surefire way of doing so is to cover your skin in the first place.

Goggles or sunglasses can protect your eyes and the skin around them, for example. A balaclava or face mask can cover most of the skin on your face.

Don’t forget about the skin on your scalp as well. Covering your head with a helmet or ski hat can protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Keep in mind that shielding your skin from the sun isn’t the only issue here. Cold temperatures and harsh wind can be tough on your skin, and adding another layer can prevent the redness, dryness, and damage many of us experience after a few days in the snow.

3. Hydrate

Proper hydration is crucial for healthy skin. Your skin uses the water you drink to flush toxins from your system and transport nutrients to your skin cells. In addition, hydrated skin is often less sensitive to environmental irritants like sun exposure or severe cold.

Of course, remembering to stay hydrated can be easier said than done! One classic study suggests that colder temperatures can impact our body’s thirst response and keep the brain from ordering the kidneys to retain water. As a result, it’s important to make sure you’re drinking even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Try to start drinking more water the day before you even hit the slopes. Anytime you head to the lodge for a break, make sure to hydrate as well, and consider carrying a lightweight water bottle while skiing. Don’t forget to drink a lot of water once your day is done.

A good baseline for hydration is to calculate 67% of your body’s weight and drink that number in ounces every day. If you’re enjoying the health benefits of skiing by getting a serious workout, more is better!

4. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

As we’ve discussed above, cold temperatures are rough on the skin, and it can be hard to make sure you’re getting as much water as you need to. With the lack of humidity on the slopes, this problem can get even worse.

That’s where moisturization comes in.

Before you head to the mountains, try to add some hydrating skincare essentials to your usual skincare routine. This includes lotions, hydrating serums, lip balms, face oils, night creams, and more. Keep up with this hydrating regimen during your ski trip as well.

While you’re out skiing, a good hydrating sunscreen is your best bet for damage control and moisturization. Don’t forget to bring a lip balm with a decent SPF as well!

In general, be sure to look for oil-based moisturizers for extra protection, as these can help you replenish the natural oils that act as a protective barrier on the surface of your skin.

5. Skip the Hot Shower

We know, we know: sometimes, the first thing you want after a long day out in the cold is a piping-hot shower. However, hot water temperatures can actually undo some of the efforts you’ve gone through with the tips above!

Not only can a hot shower strip your skin of its natural oils, but it can also increase moisture loss. Instead, keep the water temperature somewhere between mild and warm. Be gentle on your dry skin as you wash, refraining from scrubbing at it.

Try These Winter Skincare Tips

At the end of the day, the only thing standing between you and dry, damaged skin is your own skincare routine. Adjusting it to add a few extra steps can keep your skin looking fresh and moisturized all season long, meaning you won’t return home with dry, flaky skin as a reminder of your trip!

Ready to test these winter skincare tips for yourself? When it’s time for your next day on the slopes, don’t forget that Norski Sport Rentals is here with all of the gear you need. Visit our Keystone or Copper Mountain locations to check out what we have to offer, or contact us today for more information.