Hiking in the outdoors is great for your well being, keeping you fit and active, however it can leave you with dry skin, if you don’t know how to care for it when in the outdoors. I’ve played with many products and concoctions over the years and worked out how to keep my skin hydrated. Below are my top suggestions on how you can keep your skin hydrated whilst hiking, however I have normal to dry skin and depending on your skin type, you may need to tailor your skin regime to what suits your skin type.
Drink plenty of water
This is for everyone who is out hiking, regardless of your skin type. Drinking water not only keeps your skin hydrated, it prevents headaches, joint aches and tiredness. The effects of not drinking enough water during your hike are not fun and lead to a very unenjoyable hike and even the next day will be unpleasant. Depending on how long you are hiking for and how hot or humid the climate is, you may want to consider taking a couple of hydralyte sachets with you to add to the water throughout your hike. There is no rule around how much water to drink to keep hydrated, it is really on an individual basis and variables, such as the climate, hike duration, hike topography, weight of pack or hiking speed.
I have applied sunscreen everyday since I was 15 years old. I apply it daily to my face and now I have started applying it daily to my hands. Sunscreen keeps your skin hydrated during as hike as it prevents it from becoming burnt and protects the layers of the skin, which keep it looking youthful, such as collagen and elastin. A major consideration to wearing sunscreen is to lower the risk of skin cancer. Depending on the duration of your hike, you may need to reapply throughout the day and if you are taking a swim, you will need to reapply if you are not using a waterproof sunscreen.
Carry a face spritz
There is nothing better a face spritz during a hike, especially in a hot dry climate. I always carry a face spritz on full day or multi day hikes, as it instantly revitalises my face. I swear by the Vitamin C Energizing Face Spritz from The Body Shop. I’ve taken this spritz across the globe during my hikes and it has worked in all climates. Applying a spritz onto your face and body throughout your hike will keep your skin feeling cool and hydrated.
Pack a moisturising lip balm
Lips are prone to cracking when you spend time in the outdoors. I always carry a number of lip balms in my pack. You really only need one, however I love my lip balms. I currently use one I brought in Alice Springs when I hiked the Larapinta Trail. It is made by a local Aboriginal group and only contains three nourishing ingredients: Macadamia oil, Beeswax and Cocoa Butter. It is sold by Akeylerre Inc, which is a service developed by Aboriginal people to acknowledge and promote Indigenous knowledge, practice and expertise recognised as being integral to the well being of the community. A small amount on your lips goes a long way and will prevent cracking. My other favourite lip balm is Burt’s Bees Lip Balm (I have multiple!) – I’ve been a user of this brand since I first visited the states over 15 years ago. It wasn’t stocked in Australia at the time and I loved going back to the states and stocking up on my favourite items (long before online shopping was the norm).
Apply coconut oil
Coconut oil is extremely versatile. You can use it in cooking, as an alternative to dental floss, as a hair treatment or as a moisturiser. Applying a little coconut oil on your body at the start or the end of your hike will keep your skin moisturised. If you are doing a multi day hike, I would recommend doing it at the end of the day. I am in love with Polynesian Coconut Oil. Made from eco-friendly and ethically sourced from sustainable materials, this coconut oil is a fantastic product, with a wonderful story behind it. They have recently released a travel size option, which is perfect for your hiking pack.
Make an avocado face mask
Avocado is one of my favourite foods and it makes for a great face mask. If you are planning on packing an avocado or two to eat during your hike, spare a little and mash it up and apply to your face for a natural and nourishing face mask. It works well as is, or if you are also packing honey, add a little honey and you have an extra nourishing face mask. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then wash off and your face will thank you for it. Super easy!
Aloe vera is fantastic with healing sunburn and I always carry a small tube in my pack, however it is a great moisturiser too, especially for people with sensitive skin. Aloe Vera gel is lightweight on the skin and protects the skin from drying out. When hiking, you can use it throughout the day if you feel your skin is getting dry.