I’ve never thought about my lips the way I think about my skin when it comes to protection. I learned my lesson this weekend. Like most Coloradans, I enjoying being outdoors as much as possible and last weekend was no exception. A few friends and I packed our bags and headed for the mountains with the intent on a Mt. Sherman summit on Sunday morning.
Being a part of the skincare industry, I was careful to not forget the essentials: sunscreen, a hat, long sleeves, and sun glasses. Knowing I’d be higher in altitude and closer to the suns powerful rays, protection was paramount. Not to mention, the snow still on the mountain would reflect the sun and increase the risk of sun damage even more.
The day started off great. With sunscreen applied, we started our ascent, marveling at how lucky we were to have such beautiful weather. Surrounded by snow capped peaks in every direction, I was in awe of my first winter 14er. Around 13,000ft, however, I started experiencing a few signs of altitude sickness. Rather than make the final ascent, I oped for rest and re-hydration. While I waited for my friends to summit and return, I built and subsequently huddled behind a rock wall protecting myself from the wind. What I didn’t think about, however, was the direct and very intense sun exposure that I was getting.
After arriving back at the car, I looked in the mirror and was horrified to discover how burnt the lower part of my face was despite wearing sunscreen all day. What was the most disturbing was the sunburn I had gotten on my lips. Red, irritated, and blistery from prolonged exposure to sun at high altitude.
I am NEVER forgetting my Elta MD UV Lip Balm ever again.
1. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied early and often. Zinc based sunscreens act as a physical block and can last up to 2 hours.
2. Sometimes sunscreen isn’t enough, creating a physical barrier between you and the sun can be the most effective way to protect your skin.
3. Don’t forget the LIPS! Applying SPF to the lips is JUST as important as the skin. It is a place we often forget and doing so can be very harmful (and painful might I add).