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Skin Care Musts in the Fall & Winter

Even though the sun may not feel as warm in the fall, UV rays do not end at Labor Day. Sun protection and nurturing skin is no longer a regimen solely for summertime. In fact, doctors warn that cooler months are more dangerous because the sunshine of summer, that serves as a reminder to reach for sunscreen, is gone. So, here’s your nudge to take care of skin as fall gets into full swing. No matter how cool the temperature feels, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can still cause damage to the DNA in our skin within just a few minutes. While UVB rays (burning rays) lessen as the earth rotates away from the sun, UVA rays (aging rays) remain strong with the same intensity year-round. UVA rays powerfully beam through office windows, car windows, clouds, and fog. And UV damage to our DNA is cumulative. Here are some tips for fall and winter skincare and sun protection:

Do Not Stop Wearing Sunscreen

Use broad-spectrum sunscreen daily on all exposed skin, neck, ears, back of hands and your face daily. In locations where snow flies, UV rays reflect off glistening surfaces like snow, and in warmer locations, UV rays bounce off grass, sand, water, and cement back at your face. Be proactive and protect your face daily with an excellent sunscreen of SPF 30 or more. In fact, dermatologists explain the use of sunscreen, when it starts to really cool down, as a “must”. For women, consider using sunscreen as a base layer before applying cosmetics. Many mineral-based sunscreens are moisturizing and protecting at the same time. Apply, rub vigorously so they are fully absorbed, then apply any cosmetics. For men, apply a mineral-based sunscreen as a daily moisturizer and keep a tube handy in the car for reapplications. Don’t stop at your face, cover your neck, chest, and tops of hands.

Use an SPF Lip Balm

Most people are unaware that lips do not contain melanin, our skin’s natural defense against ultraviolet radiation. Lips are particularly vulnerable year-round, but in months when the air is drier, they are also susceptible to drying and cracking.

Consider Cosmetics with Built-in SPF

According to Paula’s Choice Skincare, after a layer of broad-spectrum SPF 30, women can use a makeup primer of SPF 20 and a foundation with SPF 15. While the layers of protection don’t aggregate and add up to SPF 65, the layering approach has the benefit of better overall coverage of sunscreen. In general, most people do not apply sunscreen thickly enough. By layering these products one upon the other, this technique provides a “thicker” layer of protection against sun damage.

Reconsider Your Cleanser

When humidity drops in cooler weather, you may want to compensate by switching up your cleanser to a moisturizing cleanser. Look for hydrating ingredients that don’t strip your skin of moisture. Or, if you love your skincare program and don’t want to risk skin irritation by trying a new cleanser or moisturizer, there are ways to keep your routine and just boost it for the winter.

Moisturize Nightly

Follow nightly cleansing with a moisturizer made for nighttime. The right nighttime moisturizer will help protect against the red chafed skin in winter and help nourish your skin. If you have sensitive skin, or you’ve experienced reactions to various products, we recommend you meet with your dermatologist. They can evaluate your skin health and offer suggestions on a regimen for sensitive skin that won’t cause irritation before switching.

Wear UPF 50+ Clothing in the Car

UPF 50+ sun sleeves or sun gloves are ideal for days driving. UVA rays (aging rays) penetrate car windows and office windows. The Skin Cancer Foundation cites nearly 53 percent of skin cancers in the U.S. occur on the left, or the side receiving rays while driving. UVA rays are hitting your skin on a road trip, while running errands or driving kids to soccer. In fact, they are reaching your kids too. The Skin Cancer Foundation says clothing is the first line of defense against the sun. Having UPF 50+ clothing in the car or at the office – coverage for arms, hands, necks, and chests, like a long sleeve hoodie or wrap, a neck bandana, sun sleeves and sun gloves – make sun protection effortless. The more you’re covered, the more you’re protected.

Keep the Sun Off Your Face with a UPF 50+ Hat

UV rays impact the tops of heads as much as any other exposed part of our bodies. So, while you’re out walking the dog to keep her healthy, wear a hat with at least a 3” brim and apply SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen to other exposed areas.

When seasons change, people forget there’s still sun and sun damage. Get fall-winter ready and stay sun safe with tips above. It’s also an ideal time to check in with your dermatologist and get their recommendations for cool weather skincare.

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Partner Athletes Sevve Stember

Lessons from Thin Air: Training at Altitude

Coolibar - Sevve Stember

By Sevve Stember

Minnesota, I’ve come to realize, is the nordic skiing capital of the United States. I came to this epiphany when my wife and I moved from Minneapolis to Denver last summer. Which is to say, there’s really not any nordic skiing here unless you drive up into the Rockies and hunt down some snow at high elevation. And training at 9,000 feet above sea level, whether trail running, hiking or nordic skiing, is entirely different than doing cardiovascular fitness in Minnesota at 900 feet.

Needless to say, it was quite an adjustment to begin training for my annual tradition: skiing America’s largest cross country ski marathon, the American Birkebeiner in Cable, Wisconsin.

Hard-Won Lessons

Lesson one for altitude training: Be flexible. Adjust your pace when necessary, and don’t be tied to a particular pace. Instead, focus on completing a sustainable pace that is manageable and comfortable.Sevve and Tyler - Coolibar

One of my first experiences training at high altitude was when my college ski teammate, Tyler, and I went on a trail run in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes, Colorado. We started out jogging along this beautiful ridge with fantastic views in the distance. Eventually, our trail made a steep descent down into a valley. We were doing an out and back jog, and so on the way back we had to adjust our pace and do more of a “run-walk” trail run. In other words, run when you can, walk when you must.

Lesson two: Acclimate; the longer the better.

An experience forever burned into my memory from last summer’s climbing season was my one-day ascent of “The Casual Route” (5.10a, 1,000 ft. of technical climbing) on the Diamond of Longs Peak in RMNP, which incidentally is more than 14,000 feet high at the summit. My climbing partner, Dan, came from low elevation. On the approach, which we began at 2 a.m., Dan struggled a bit and developed a headache. He had not spent more than a day or two at altitude and went from relatively low elevation right up to Estes Park at 7,500 feet. Dan is simply a really strong dude and he toughed it out, linking pitches 2 and 3 which turned out to be a breakthrough lead that allowed us to summit. However, despite his success, he admitted some more time to acclimate would’ve been ideal.

Sevve and Andrea, expecting a long climb

Lesson three: Expect long sustained climbs. There’s not much for “rolling” hills in these parts, or in most parts at high altitude.

The first day my wife and I had on snow was at Eldora’s Nordic Center near Nederland. As usual, my excitement for skiing led to me “hammering” up the first hill we encountered. Soon, my wife and I were both going anaerobic – taking in less oxygen than we were using – at a pace that was not sustainable. The Eldora Mountain Resort, as we came to know, is notorious for being exceptionally hilly. As we continued to ski in the Rockies, we noticed that the topography of ski trails in Colorado is extremely different than Minnesota. The climbs are more sustained; the descents are quicker.

Lesson four: when racing at altitude for the first time, ease into your race. It’s far too easy to burn yourself out early in the game.

Coolibar - Sevve Stember skiing
Sevve Stember, going out a little too fast

We kicked off the ski racing season at the Frisco Nordic Center in Colorado’s Summit County. The gun went off, and I hammered out somedouble pole strokes. Soon we were skate skiing up a long gradual hill. I quickly took the lead in the 30km ski race. It’s funny how you forget many of the lessons we’ve already learned throughout the course of our life. After the initial excitement of the mass start wore off, I realized I was in trouble. I had gone out too fast and was at an anaerobic level. The rest of the race was a STRUGGLE!

Tip for the Lips

Colorado is quite a bit south of Minnesota and I’ve noticed I burn a lot easier here than I do in Minnesota. The sun’s rays are simply more direct year round. Additionally, even when it’s winter and you think it’s not so easy to burn, the snow reflects a lot of rays into your face. I’ve learned it’s essential to apply an SPF lip protectant early and often while out doing a training session.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the transition from the flatlands of Minnesota to the front range of the Rockies.  Nothing’s black and white; there are aspects of the Midwest that are simply way better than Colorado, such as easy access to world-class cross country skiing. Colorado is simply a more inspiring place in a day-to-day sense. While here, I plan to apply the lessons I’ve learned about training at altitude and I certainly will continue to figure out how to maximize performance.

 

Climber and multiple-sport athlete Sevve StemberSevve Stember is a climbing expert and multiple-sport athlete who has established climbing routes in the Andes, the Sierra Nevadas and several other mountain ranges. A former park ranger, Sevve also pursues camping, soccer and cross country skiing. Sevve is a 6th-grade science teacher at Cole Middle School in Denver, Colorado. He lives there with his wife, Andrea, also an accomplished cross country skier. His previous posts for Coolibar include “Why Climbing Matters.”

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