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Colorado Skin Care

Colorado Skin CareAltitude greatly impacts your skin for several reasons. The lower atmospheric layer of the earth consists of gases and immense quantities of water and dust. These elements protect your skin from the sun’s radiation. The higher the elevation, the less dense the air and the less protection you have – about 4% for every 1,000 feet in altitude. Though it takes 25 minutes to sunburn in New York, it can take as little as 6 minutes at 11,000 feet in Grand Junction. You can even sunburn when the weather is cloudy. Humidity drops with the temperatures at high altitudes. In addition to forced air heat, dry, cracked and flaky skin is almost certain.

High altitude can cause harm even the healthiest skin. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people develop a skin cancer in their lifetime. The following guidelines and tips can help you cope with the changes high altitude can bring.

Frostbite and Pernio

Cold temperatures and wind can lead to frost bite, which is similar to a burn. Frost bite can be superficial or deep. You can prevent frost bite by wearing a face protector. Types of face protectors include neck gators and nose protectors. Applying a heavy coating of Vaseline to the cheeks and nose can help protect delicate skin. Hand and boot warmers and boot gloves are also beneficial.

Early signs of frostbite include whiteness of the skin, stinging or numbness. If you or any person you know is experiencing these symptoms, rapid and moist re-warming in a tub or steam room is the best method for preventing permanent damage. If the skin is injured, do not go back outside on the same day.

Over-the-counter cortisone or a prescription cream can effectively treat frostbite. Keeping the injured area moist using Vaseline can speed healing.

Pernio, or chilblains, is a condition characterized by purple, painful, itchy bumps on the fingers, toes, ears and nose due to exposure to cold and wet conditions. Keeping your face, hands, and feet warm and dry can prevent this condition.

Aging Skin

At high altitudes skin ages more quickly. Close proximity to the sun, lack of humidity, and the active outdoor lifestyle enjoyed by many people in this area leaves the skin longing for some TLC. You can maintain the health and beauty of your skin by:

  • Applying sunscreen and reapplying often. Protected skin fares better than unprotected skin. For further protection, wear a wide brimmed hat when walking or gardening.
  • Exfoliate at least twice a week. Getting rid of the top layer of dead skin helps the skin to remain healthy and retain moisture. Chemical (glycol, lactic, or salicylic acids) or physical exfoliation (skin care brush, beads, scrubs, microdermabrasion) is fine. Exfoliating facials and chemical peels are also beneficial.
  • For added protection, apply an antioxidant under sunscreen. When applied topically, Vitamins C and E, phloretin, ferrulic acid, and idebenone can scavenge collagen-damaging free radicals and prevent the breakdown of collagen (which causes wrinkles).
  • Use other products to reduce skin aging such as peptides, Vitamin A (retinol or tretinoin) and growth factors (either derived from plants or humans), plus green tea extract. Moisturizers containing prostaglandin inhibitors can reduce redness.


Be sure to wear a sunscreen of at least 30 sun protection factor (SPF) that contains broad spectrum ingredients like zinc, titanium, mexoryl, or helioplex. The FDA measures the SPF of a sunscreen using about 4 times the amount that a normal person puts on their skin. So, if you are using an SPF of 30, you are really getting an 8. Reapply sunscreen every two hours. The SPF only tells you how effective the sunscreen is at preventing sunburn. That’s why it is important to also protect the skin from UVA or aging rays by using “broad spectrum ingredients” like those recommended above.

Scientific evidence proves that sunscreen helps prevent skin cancer. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your lips! Sunburned lips can lead to cancer and outbreaks of herpes (the virus that causes cold sores).

Have you heard about the sunscreen pill? It is a fern extract (polyp odium leucotomas) that reduces sunburn. While it doesn’t take the place of sunscreen, it’s a great extra layer of protection.

Many people mistakenly believe that they need sun exposure to get Vitamin D. This however is not true. You can get adequate amounts of Vitamin D from your diet or through supplements. Activities, such as skiing and fishing actually reflect sun light and can increase your risk of getting sunburned. Be careful when participating in these activities.

Dry Skin and Rashes

Drink plenty of water. This will hydrate your skin from the inside out. Water also helps fight altitude sickness.

Use warm water when showering, not hot, and keep hot tub use to a minimum. After getting out of the hot tub, rinse off.

Instead of lotion, use a cream based moisturizer that contains glycolic or salicylic acid to eat away flakes. We also recommend Ceramides, which are great for repairing the dry, damaged barrier of the skin. Ceramides are found in some moisturizers, and are a natural component of the skin barrier.

One excellent trick for keeping your skin hydrated is to take your moisturizer into the shower. This is helpful in even the driest climate. Once you turn the water off, apply a thin layer of moisturizer while your skin is still wet. Stay in the warm shower for an extra minute so the moisturizer can soak in. This seals in the moisture and helps keep your skin baby soft.

Apply a minimal amount of soap to the face, armpits, groin and feet, and use a body wash with moisturizer in it. Dry skin can cause rashes. Using an over-the-counter cortisone cream and a moisturizer can help the skin get back on track.

If you have dry, cracked feet –soak your feet in a warm bath for 10 minutes. After this apply a cream that contains urea or glycolic acid and put on socks.

Fees subject to change without notice. Fees are based on customized needs.

These services are available at Le MedSpa and are performed by highly trained Technicians and Medical Aestheticians. 

  • AAD

  • ASDS

  • Medical Justice Member

  • Colorado Medical Society

  • Colorado Dermatologic Society