The badass female athletes of the X Games Aspen are used to battling the elements whether they’re shredding snow in blustery conditions or mastering tricks at super high elevations. This Thursday, the competition kicks off, and skiers, snowboarders and more will take to the slopes of Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen Snowmass, which rises almost 8,000 feet in elevation above sea level. That’s um…high.
The conditions, as you might guess, are less than ideal for your body. Dry, cracked skin? Yep. Chapped Lips? You bet. Plus, “higher altitudes are associated with more UV-penetration,” says Joel L. Cohen, MD, director of AboutSkin Dermatology in Denver, Colo. and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology. “There is 5-6% more UV-penetration for every 1,000 feet above sea level, so people need to be aware of the dangers of unprotected sun exposure.” In addition to reapplying sunscreen every two hours, Cohen recommends using gentle cleansers instead of antibacterial soaps and applying moisturizer (look for ones with dimethicone and glycerine as ingredients) after a shower to seal in moisture.
The same goes for hands and feet. “Think of your nails and hands like your face. You wouldn’t wash your face and not apply a moisturizer, but so often we wash our hands over and over and don’t apply hand lotion,” says celebrity manicurist and founder and creative director of her namesake line, Deborah Lippmann. Lippmann’s moisture-locking picks of choice: “Cuticle Oil hydrates with jojoba and helps to push any water out, keeping the important oils in. The Cure, which contains Panthenol, forms a protective shield on your nail plate, creating a barrier and making your nails more resistant to water and harsh fluids.”
We talked to three of this year’s top competitors to find out what keeps their skin healthy in extreme conditions. So, you know, winter. Check out their tips here and watch all the athletes in action from January 28 to 31 on ESPN.