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How My Vacation Battered My Skin (And What I Wish Id Done Instead)

Vacation can be fun, but it can't be horrible for your skin.Last week, along with the rest of my family, I packed up and headed out to Utah for a week of fresh air in the state’s gorgeous national parks.

The trip itself was an epic success. I enjoyed sunsets among the mountains, hikes through the canyons, a refreshing break from technology, and gut-busting laughter with the fam. There was, however, one major glitch: my skin took a serious beating.

If you’ve never been to Utah or that area of the US, you may not realize how dry the air is. And when I say dry, I mean DRY. It felt like someone was following us around with a vacuum, sucking all the moisture out of us with every step.

All that dryness took a massive toll on my skin, and being my absent-minded self, I didn’t plan ahead. Looking back, the dry air created several problems that I could have avoided with some forethought.

Crack Attack

Nothing is more fun than your skin being so dry that it sprouts a leak out of nowhere. Did I say fun? I mean annoying.

I think every member of my family saw their skin crack and bleed at some point, whether it as a knuckle or a nose. There might not be anything I could have done about the climate, but the right preparation would have made all the difference.

If you’re heading to a dry area, body moisturizer is your best friend. My personal favorite (which I not-so-conveniently left at home for this trip) is the Avocado Body Lotion from Credentials.

The key with staying moisturized in a dry climate is to apply, apply, apply. Use your lotion after every shower and every time you wash your face. This locks in what little moisture you have.

If you tend to head out for day-long excursions, bring along your moisturizer if you can. You don’t want it to melt in a hot car, but an insulated cooler can work wonders.

Dry Lips

I will fully acknowledge that I tend to have drier lips than most people. I’m that person who has six sticks of Chapstick stashed in different places: one in my purse, one in my bedside table, and one in the living room to name a few.

Even still, lips seem to get particularly thirsty in a dry environment. Over my vacation, this led to excessive lip-licking, cracks, and the general feeling that my lips were so dry they were about to disintegrate into powder.

I did have my trusty Chapstick with me, but I would have needed to use it every fifteen minutes to stay comfortable. As it turns out, I could have used some long-term solutions too.

The key is to pamper your lips at night. Every few days, use a lip exfoliator to get rid of the dry cells on the surface. This lets you get even more of a benefit from step two: Avene Cold Cream Lip Balm.

This specialized balm offers more moisturization than a typical lip balm. You can use it every night or more often – as much as you need to keep those smackers soft and hydrated.

Pop-Up Pimples

Despite the common myths, pimples don’t just come from oily skin. They come from dry skin too, and I experienced this first-hand. By the end of the trip, my face was so full of pimples that it rivaled the mountain ranges I’d hiked though.

Dryness amplifies acne because when your top layer of skin gets dry, the cells die and shed. Unfortunately, it isn’t a clean break. Those shedding cells tend to get stuck in your pores, and as we all know, a clogged pore turns into a pimple before you have a chance to fight back.

If you’re heading to or living in a dry climate, you need to amp up your skincare routine.

It might not be your first thought while on vacation, but you need to wash your skin twice per day. To make sure the cleanser doesn’t zap even more moisture out of your skin, choose a hydrating cleanser.

Exfoliating becomes crucial when your skin is dry too. It lets you get rid of those pesky dry skin cells before they have the opportunity to venture into your pores.

Burning (Wo)Man

The wilderness of Utah has plenty of beauty and recreation to enjoy. The only problem is that you have to venture out under the desert sun to experience it.

I’ll be honest: I’m not always the best about remembering to use sunscreen. Suffice it to say that by the end of day one, my face was red enough that I could have gotten a job as stop sign if I’d been so inclined.

The tricky part is that the sun is a powerful frenemy no matter what the temperature is outside. Even if you’re taking a winter vacation, sunscreen should become your third arm.

My own favorite is the Citrix Vitamin C Antioxidant Sunscreen because it offers nourishment while keeping my natural complexion intact.

Making the Most of Every Vacation

With all this information in hand, let me be clear: vacations are essential parts of life for staving off burnout and sustaining the connections you have with your family, your friends, and your own mental wellbeing. Vacations in the outdoors also have a special healing power you can’t get in front of a TV.

The trick is knowing how to keep your skin in tip-top shape at the same time. You can bet your bottom dollar that the next time I venture into the beautiful wilderness, I’ll be preparing for the climate taking all of my own advice above.