At last, there is snow coating our favourite mountains and now all there is left to do is grab the crew, load up the car, and road trip!
Because it’s winter and sunshine is not on our mind, it’s easy to forget one essential: sunscreen. While you should wear some SPF broad spectrum on the daily, it’s time to turn up the dial on protection in the snow.
High altitude equals more sun damage
Mountains are high and so are ski fields. Mt Ruapehu’s Turoa ski fields start at 1,600m above sea level, and Whakapapa at 1,630m, with the Southern Alps ski fields sitting between 1,260m to 1,860m high.
And that’s a lot closer to the sun than most of us experience normally. It makes sense then that those UV rays hit us harder.
When we are on high-altitude ski slopes, the much thinner atmosphere means UV rays are not filtered as much as they are down at sea level. Added to that, we experience double the exposure when the sun hits the bright white, crystalline snow and directs it straight back up onto our face. And yep, that means the underside of chins and noses can get burnt!
Plus, a day on the mountain is pretty much an all-day affair with no escape from the sun.
Both UVA and UVB rays can be problematic - with UVA going deeper into the dermal layer of the skin which is the layer known for causing wrinkles and associated with cancer, and UVB is the cause of red or brown skin. And while you might want to return to work with that tell-tale goggle tan, long-term, the impact of UV damage can be irreversible.
To make your face maintain its healthy glow, look for high value SPF (sun protection factor) which protects against UVB rays - the higher the SPF, the longer wearing it is before you need to re-apply.
Our Top 10 sunscreens for fun in the snow and sun
Because being in the sun is unavoidable, here are our 10 top sunscreen faves for the ultimate mountain protection.
- Oasis Sun SPF30 Family Sunscreen Family Size is ideal for all the family and suits everyone, including toddlers, pregnant women, vegans, and people with sensitive skin and prone to eczema. Natural ingredients jojoba oil, organic shea butter, rosemary and vitamin E hydrate and moisturise skin making it the perfect sunscreen for blustery mountain days. SPF 30 broad spectrum protection with a grease-free, non-staining, invisible finish that can even be worn under makeup if you’re feelin’ fancy!
- Sunsense Junior Broad Spectrum SPF50+ Lotion Roll On is not only great for kids and delicate skin, but perfect for the whole family. With 2-hour water resistance it’s ideal for taking onto the snow. The roll-on makes it easy to apply on the mountain, and the inclusion of ingredient nicotinamide means it won’t compromise normal moisture barriers in the skin, so skin maintains its natural balance.
- Invisible Zinc Face & Body Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF50 contains mirco-fine zinc oxide nature’s own mineral reflector, and is water resistant for 2 hours. Zinc creates a physical barrier between you and the sun - needed even more on the mountain than anywhere else. This product is invisible on the skin and as well as the mountain, is ideal for everyday wear.
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-light Tinted Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ offers super high UVA broad spectrum protection and is ultra-resistant to water and sweat. It doesn’t sting on contact with the eyes (which can happen when wearing goggles!), and creates a lightweight, sheer and tinted finish, so no need for a foundation - score!
- Elizabeth Arden Great 8 Eight Hour Daily Defense Moisturiser Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF35 promises on 8 amazing benefits. Great 8 protects against damage from sunlight, blue light, infrared and pollution while hydrating, purifying, brightening and fighting against excess oil. This translucent gel formula ensures no residue and avoids that icky white sunscreen mask!
- Clinique Super City Block Broad Spectrum SPF40 protects against UVA and UVB rays while healing the skin and protecting against environmental factors with powerful antioxidants. This sheer, lightweight cream works as an invisible primer with or without makeup.
- Dermalogica Prisma Protect Broad Spectrum Defence SPF30 is the new star in the Dermalogica family with its light-activated formulation providing broad spectrum protection. This standout product contains breakthrough antioxidant technology that protects against environmental stressors. Secret ingredient sage maintains even skin tone.
- Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Targeted Sun Defense Stick High Protection SPF50 is another Elizabeth Arden product with Eight Hour Cream for intense sun protection. This defense stick is designed for action, and perfect to target exposed places such as ears and lips to shield against burning.
Lips: Save or Splurge!
- QV Face and Lip Balm with Broad Spectrum Protection SPF 30+ is ideal for protecting against UVA rays. This balm is a mountain must-have to keep lips nourished and supple in extreme environments.
- Shiseido UV Lip Color Splash SPF42 slips easily into jacket pockets and packs a moisturising punch while protecting against UVA and UVB rays with its SuperVeil-UV 230TM technology, adding a clear dewy finish. It’s water resistant, gentle on lips, and includes luxurious safflower oil.