When you Travel, Keep in Mind...High Altitude Skin Care

on 12/30/2014 - 12:10 am

What you don't know can hurt you! Did you know...

  • That for every 1,000 foot increase in elevation, UV radiation levels increase by 10-20%? 
  • Or that high-altitude climates often have low humidity levels at around 18%-20%, lower than a desert climate? 
  • And… skin begins to lose moisture when humidity drops below 60% (anywhere)? 

To make skin matters worse, high-alpine weather is also typically cold -even more so in winter- and your body further dehydrates when it struggles to stay warm.  The loss of moisture can quickly lead to inflammation and irritation, while intense levels of radiation can lead to premature aging of the skin, and skin cancer.

We sat down with Christina Komeshian, high-altitude skin care expert and aesthetician at Devil’s Thumb Ranch and Spa in Tabernash, Colorado to find out what steps you can take to protect your skin from the elements —so that all you have to worry about outside is having fun!


Keep your skin hydrated to counter the effects of moisture loss. Do this by applying both a cream AND a facial oil to seal in moisture and protect your skin's lipid barrier.  Lunaria's Hydrate Facial Oil is made with rich base oils and a special blend of hydrating essential oils.  Linden Calendula Treatment by Eminence is also excellent.  Eminence's Linden Calendula Treatment is rich in bioflavonoids as well as moisturizing linden and soothing calendula extracts.  It can be used as a rinse-off masque or as a night cream for intense hydration.


We are two miles closer to the sun at 10,000 feet so sunscreen is a must if you are outdoors. Reflection from the snow can be just as damaging as direct sunlight--snow reflection increases UV Intensity by 85%!  I recommend wearing sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher and reapplying it every hour.  A good way to do this without having to take your gloves off and touch your face directly is by toting a suncare stick with Zinc Oxide in your pocket and swiping it over your skin, focusing on ears, nose and cheeks.


Antioxidants help sunscreen by warding off free-radical damage that sunscreen itself can't block completely so use products that contains Vitamins A, C and E like Lunaria's Replenish A-C-E Cream which contains all three antioxidants in one formula. 


Exfoliation effectively removes dry, dead skin cells that would otherwise build up on skin, trapping dirt and oil underneath.  Fruit peels such as Lunaria's Renew Enzyme Peel allow for effective yet gentle exfoliation without abrasive granules.  The fruit acids work by dissolving the "glue" that holds dead skin cells together.  For those who prefer a manual exfoliant that they can feel, Lunaria's Polish Oat Scrub contains circular Jojoba Wax Beads that slough off dry skin and refresh the complexion without disrupting or harming the skin.


In addition to drinking water, a diet rich in Omegas, good fats (olive oil, nuts, avocado) and protein boosts the health of skin.


What steps can women take to protect these target areas : eyes, cheeks, and lips?

CK: [These areas] are especially vulnerable to damage. Your lips don’t produce oil like the rest of the skin, which makes them more susceptible to dryness so a rich, hydrating lip balm with SPF is paramount.  If lips get chapped, exfoliate them.  You can use a homemade scrub made with olive oil and brown sugar to do this.  Sunscreen can cause eyes to water so use a formula developed specifically for the eye area and wear protective sunglasses or goggles when outside.  Apply hydrating, collagen-boosting products with peptides, hyaluronic acid and antioxidants at night to help restore youthful appearance (and ward off Crow's feet).  Cheeks often get red and irritated because they're unprotected.  Facials oils are popular these days for good reason--they add a layer of protection that maintains the lipid barrier of the skin.  Sunscreen formulas usually contain water which can freeze on the skin or evaporate in dry conditions so it's best to use an oil-based product layered underneath when exposed to sun and wind.

What ingredients do you select in your products to counter the damaging effects?

CK: We use ingredients that have a proven track record of helping to revitalize, hydrate and heal skin in harsh climates: Anti-inflammatory Aloe Vera, skin-quenching Shea Butter, soothing Calendula Oil, Antioxidant-rich vitamins A, C and E to deflect free radical damage and boost the performance of sunscreen and humectants, including Hyaluronic Acid and Oat Beta Glucan to draw moisture into the skin.


Lunaria products are all high-altitude and cold-weather tested at 10,000 feet plus.  They are made with organic ingredients wherever possible,  have a shelf life of 1-2 years, and are eco-packed in glass, aluminum, and recycled paperboard.  

You can find out more and order products from www.lunariaskincare.com

 All Eminence products are organic and free of parabens, animal by-products, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfates, harmful colorants and fragrances, mineral oils, petroleum, and other harsh cosmetic chemicals.   For more information visit www.eminenceorganics.com/us


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