Skin and Hair
This site is provided for informational
purposes only. The information here is not intended to diagnose
or treat any condition, and should not replace the care and attention
of qualified medical personnel. Use the information on these pages
at your own risk, and, as with any information pertaining to health,
nutrition, mental health, or fitness, consult your physician before making any
changes that might affect your overall health.
Skin and Hair Care at High Altitude
does not really affect hair, nor does it really affect skin.
However, many elements which tend to go along with high altitude
DO affect skin and hair.
Sunlight is probably the major issue. Sun rays
at higher altitude can be very harsh, and sensitive skin can
burn in half an hour or less. Hair also bleaches and dries
out very rapidly in intense sunlight.
Many people who
previously did not need conditioner on their hair, find that
at higher altitudes they need to do so. Conditioning shampoo
can offer a light conditioning option for people who dislike
the heavy feel of a separate conditioner.
The other major
factor for skin and hair is the wind. It can suck the moisture
out of your skin, and wreak havoc with almost any hairstyle.
Women tend to
go in for one of two different hair styling options:
Short and simple
- so that even when the wind whips it around, you can straighten
it back out with just your fingers.
Long and confined
- Long hair, put up in a ponytail or other method of tying
it up, will stay neat and tanglefree. Usually you have to
spray it down with hairspray to keep the shorter ends from
working loose and driving you nuts, but hairspray will actually
work for that!
For medium length
hair, no hairspray or mousse in the world is strong enough
to stick it down in persistent winds! It tends to tie little
knots in any hair that is long enough to move around very
Usually, the wind
is not a real issue with hair unless you plan to be out in
it a long time. If you are just going from one sheltered place
to another, then hairspray will generally preserve the majority
of your style. But if you intend to be out of doors for more
than a few minutes, you'll have to opt for another way of
keeping it from becoming hopelessly tangled.
We use sunscreen
to protect our skin, though we only use it to prevent sunburn,
not to prevent all exposure.
In the wintertime,
the cold and dry weather can also sometimes cause hands and
lips to split. It can be very painful, as such splits and
cracks can go quite deep. We have a number of strategies to
combat this, and know of several products which help:
1. Zim's Crack
Cream. This product has arnica in it, which is helpful for
2. Herbal Momma's
Lotion Bar (http://www.herbalmomma.com).
This intense moisturizer helps keep rough hands and feet softer.
3. Shea Butter.
If you can find it in a pure form, not just a lotion, it is
a very intense moisturizer. Herbal Momma also carries this
4. Borage Oil.
Take one capsule a day. If you take it internally, it helps
heal dry skin.
5. Coconut Oil.
Again, taken internally, it helps to moisturize and heal dry
skin from the inside out.
go far beyond the effectiveness of simple lotions. We find
that winter causes problems with my husband's hands up here,
which regular lotions are completely unequal to!
problems will improve slightly as your body adjusts, but may
worsen again in winter. Hair problems tend to come on more
gradually, and to worsen with time rather than improve.
Editorial Comments throughout this site written by Laura Wheeler (with occasional sarcastic remarks by her son, David). Laura is a 10 year resident of Medicine Bow, Wyoming, where the altitude is greater than the population. Medicine Bow is at 6200+ ft above sea level, and boasts a total of 297 residents from the last census. Laura is an experienced technical, health and family writer.