Healthy Skin at Altitude |

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Lake Tahoe is at high altitude and has a harsh climate.  Does this affect how people should be taking care of their skin?  

Higher mountain altitudes can damage the skin. However, with some useful tips and preventative steps, you should be able to help safeguard and help manage your skin health in the harsh conditions of Lake Tahoe’s arid climate. 

Most people know it is easier to get sunburned at higher elevations. The American Academy of Dermatology specifies that the sun’s UV rays increase by 8-10% for every 1,000 feet higher in altitude, meaning that at the Tahoe’s elevation of 6,200 ft, UV radiation is much more intense than at sea level. 

Your skin can also respond adversely to the dry, mountain environment. In addition to dry and uneven skin tone, you may experience cracked skin and chapped lips as well as general skin discomfort because of not being accustomed to the climate. 

To protect your skin from the harsh elements of Lake Tahoe, daily application of moisturizers is crucial. Be sure to test and find a moisturizer that work for you, then use it daily. Along with daily use of moisturizer and sunscreen, hydration is the major thing you can do for yourself and your skin. Put in place steps to ensure you are drinking plenty of water. And know that frequent ,hot showers can dry out your skin even more. With a few preventative steps, most people will maintain healthy vibrant skin, even in the harsh climate of Lake Tahoe. 

What does a healthy skincare regimen look like, and does it vary depending on age or other factors?

Skin varies from person to person and how it is managed should vary too. While a healthy skincare regimen should always consider moisturizing and SPF protection, at the end of the day, a routine for your skin is basically personal. The fundamental structure of an effective skincare regimen includes three major steps: cleansing, toning, and hydrating.  

However, the goal of any skincare regimen is to condition your individual complexion, so it works normally, and also resolves any problems such as dryness, discoloration, or aging. Developing a routine, including how and what order products are applied, is an opportunity to observe which products give your skin the desired changes and improvements. As you develop and evolve your skincare routine, it is important to remember that noticeable changes aren’t really seen until after consistent use for at least six weeks.

While washing your face, normalizing/toning the skin, and hydrating with a moisturizer are basic functions of a healthy skincare routine that a person of any age should embrace, as you age, you should adjust your routine to the changing needs of your skin. 

What are the active ingredients in high quality skincare products that consumers should look for and what do they do?

High quality skincare products may contain some of the same ingredients to that of low-cost products sold on a shelf to the mass market. The big difference has everything to do with the quality, type, and concentration of those ingredients used. For example, vitamin C used in one product at a lower price range likely has the ingredient formulated into the product simply as ascorbic acid. A carefully formulated high-end product may contain different derivatives of vitamin C, such as L-ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. These are all absorbed differently by the epidermis and therefore increase efficacy. 

Hyaluronic acid is another common and effective ingredient in skincare products, and is used to boost hydration, seal in moisture, and plump skin to treat fine lines. But again, different versions of the ingredient have varying effects. For example, sodium hyaluronate can instantly smooth and hydrate the surface of the skin. Hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid penetrates deeper into the skin to help plump fine lines and work below the surface. There are also botanical extracts known to stimulate natural hyaluronic acid production within the skin.

A third ingredient that should be mentioned is niacinamide.  It is known to decrease inflammation which in turn calms redness and irritation. Also known as vitamin B3, this ingredient can help your skin produce and maintain a ceramide barrier, which helps retain moisture. Niacinamide’s oil-regulating ability also helps to normalize the skin’s condition. An important thing to remember is that an effective product is about balance. There is a saying, “too much of a good thing is not necessarily good for us.” Even an amazing natural ingredient such as niacinamide can cause skin irritation when the concentration is too high. However, high quality products using concentrations between 4- 5% have been shown to stimulate blood vessels, thus increasing blood flow to the face and bringing more nutrients for cell repair and renewal. 

Keep in mind, when comparing products, the quality and type of those ingredients used. And most of all, consider that the cost of a product almost always matches the amount of time and money spent to perform studies and conduct research on the quality and efficacy of the product.