Long hiking trips don’t exactly call to mind the idea of self-care, in the physical sense at least. While at home you might have many skin care products for your nightly routine, or a favourite spa or UV tanning spot that you visit on the regular, that’s not a reality while out in the woods, or up a mountain, with just a backpack and a pair of sturdy shoes.
The top considerations you make when backpacking revolve squarely on necessity, safety, and weight distribution. Packing for a long hiking or backpacking trip always includes essentials such as dehydrated food and small burners, lightweight tents, windbreakers, tools, bear spray and first aid kits.
Even though your face will be exposed to the elements 24/7 during a multi-day hiking trip, carrying 20oz jars of moisturizer or bottles of serum isn’t exactly a practical use of the little space you’re affording yourself.
But that doesn’t mean your skincare routine has to all but be abandoned while on a long hiking trip. In fact, a long, rugged, outdoor adventure is the perfect opportunity to let your skin breathe, and strip down your skincare routine to the basics.
And while not everyone will consider skincare a priority and would prefer to spend their time sleeping on a Bradington Young leather sofa, or give it a single thought outside of packing sunscreen –which is very important nonetheless –for some of us with skin conditions, painful acne, or perhaps dealing with visible side effects of a medication, it can be extremely important to keep a consistent skincare routine, even when you’re away from your vanity.
Here are three simple tips to keep your skin refreshed, clean, and protected for the next time you’re called to the wild.
Apply sunscreen every day, and often. Whether in the city or hiking in the sun, dermatologists would all agree that you must wear sunscreen, and reapply often. According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, “You should be protected from 11 am to 3 pm from late spring to early fall and during winter if you are involved in outdoor activities.”
Sunscreen is simply a barrier to protect against UV rays either by absorbing them, or reflecting them away from your skin. In addition to facial sunscreen –which are often very lightweight and come in tiny bottles –you can also purchase a small and easily packable sunscreen lip balm.
But the sun isn’t the only element your face will be exposed to for hours on end. Wind, rain, and dirt will be constants, even if you don’t notice them, which is where your cleansers come into play.
Instead of packing heavy bottles or jars, opt for biodegradable alternatives of your daily products. One mantra in the outdoors is to leave the earth the way it was when you arrived, and that includes cleaning up after ourselves. Biodegradable products are kinder to the earth and allow us to be minimal when cleansing.
If you can’t find something as suitable for your skin than what you normally use, try to find mini and travel sizes of your products.
Lastly, practice safe skincare with fragrance-free cleansers, moisturizers, and everything in between. You won’t be the only living creature in the wild, and leaving no trace includes no trace of smell that may attract unwanted visitors, putting you at physical risk, or contributing to harmful habits between humans and non-human animals.