Beautiful skin at altitude


Dr Priska McDonald, Dr Alice Rudd and Dr Dr Felicity Gould treating at Le Skin Chalet in early August, 2022.

We all like our powder nice and dry, with big fat flakes…. but the same can’t be said about our skin. Keeping skin moist and healthy at altitude takes some work. Le Skin Chalet are three like-minded friends, doctors and snow-tragics who share a passion for skin and snow. These are their tips for keeping your skin well hydrated and protected in the Alps.

Why does my skin feel drier at the snow?

The low humidity, temperature and windy mountains cause significant reduction in the water content of the skin.  When the skin is dry it can look unsightly but it can also be itchy and cause cracks in the skin which can lead to bigger problems!

Keeping our skin moist and healthy at altitude takes some work. Here are our tips…

How do I avoid dry skin?

It is very important to avoid soaps. Soaps strip your skin of its natural oils and dry the skin further. Try a non-soap wash instead. After you have cleansed with your soap free wash, you need put the water back in with a moisturiser. The best time to do this is after your shower, when your skin is already moist. For best results apply the moisturiser twice a day if your skin is very dry especially when exposed to the elements!

When choosing a non-soap wash or moisturiser, keep it simple and avoid anything with botanicals or fragrances.  Although these additives can smell nice, they can sometimes cause irritation or allergy.

My lips are so dry and cracked. Help!

This is a common problem at in the alpine environment. The cold temperatures, windy conditions and high UV radiation all contribute. It is important to use a lip balm before during and after activities in the elements! Slip on the balm even before your lips start to feel dry to keep those smootchers luscious. Don’t forget to choose a lip balm with a very high SPF with that reflective snowy surface we all love.

Do I need sunscreen at the snow?

The short answer? YES!
Mt Buller is 1600m = 16-19% more UV radiation than in Melbourne
Falls Creek 1780m = 17-21% more UV radiation than in Melbourne

Yes! The ultraviolet (UV) radiation is significant greater than at sea level – this is because the atmosphere is thinner and absorbs less UV radiation from the sun. Did you know there is a 10-12% increase in UV radiation for every 1000m increase in altitude? Such that Falls Creek at 1780m has 17-21% more UV radiation than in Melbourne. On top of that, snow is highly reflective and can reflect up to 90% of UV radiation –  Combined this almost doubles your exposure to UV compared with downtown Melbourne.

But what happens if it is not sunny, do I still need sunscreen?

Yes! UV radiation can penetrate cloud and may even be more intense due to refection off the clouds. 

Ok, so I need to wear sunscreen. How do I apply?

Get into a routine. Regardless of the weather outside, apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going out to the slopes. Don’t forget under your chin, nose and behind your ears due to the reflection. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every 2 hours. So, carry a small one in your jacket pocket to reapply.

Which sunscreen is best?

A sunscreen that is 50+ and broad spectrum (covers UVA and UVB) is best.

But I didn’t get sunburnt, just windburnt!

You’re dreaming…. this is not a thing! Sure, the wind can dry out and irritate your skin. But if your face is red and stinging you are sunburnt.

What about my google tan? I can’t go home without it!

There is nothing healthy about a tan. A tan is the result from pigment being released from your skin cells when they are DAMAGED from the sun. Damage to the DNA in those skin cells is what causes skin cancers. If skin cancer is not enough to have you protecting your skin… then remember, tanning leads to premature ageing of the skin and no one wants to look like dried up leather ski boot from the 1940’s no matter how good the skiing was.

OK, so How do I meet Le Skin Chalet and get some help?

Le Skin Chalet are visiting Falls Creek with their bespoke skin service for one weekend only this winter - August 13 & 14.

Visit their website or insta page for details about bespoke peels, rejuvenating heallite, acne treatments and of course a sprinkling of anti-wrinkle magic for those who desire. 


Because everyone deserves good skin no matter the altitude.


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