O2 Esthetician Jody Burtard talks skin challenges in Aspen

No one knows high-altitude skin care better than Aspen’s estheticians, who treat the toughest skin clients in the world: Colorado skiers. Combine a dry climate (Colorado enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year) with low oxygen levels, high UV rays and a wind inducing activity like sliding down a mountain at high speeds, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for aging and stressed skin. It’s a battle Aspen local fight on an ongoing basis, and something Aspen visitors might notice within a few hours. Luckily, O2 esthetician Jody Burtard has been treating mountain-loving skin happy for 20 years and has some wisdom to share.

Why is Aspen’s high elevation and sun-filled climate hard on skin?
The higher the altitude, the lower the humidity level, which can cause skin to dry out and become sensitive. UV exposure is significantly higher at high altitudes--think about it: we’re closer to the sun. I’ve heard for every 1,000 feet you travel above sea, UV exposure rises by 10 percent. Mostly, I see aged skin and sensitive because of the dryness and sun exposure people get here from being on the mountain and out in the elements. Plus, during the winter months our skin faces extreme cold outside and has to adjust immediately to being inside buildings heated with dry heat. That also leads to dryness and sensitivities.

Why is it important to adjust your skin care regimen in winter?
Because of the dryness, exfoliation is important. Nothing aggressive--very mild glycolics are fine--and only about twice a week. None of your serums or moisturizers can penetrate skin that isn’t exfoliated. I always recommend adding an extra serum to boost the moisturizer you already have. And certainly sunscreen. Skiing, cover your face up with goggles and a hat and a baklava if you can.

What winter specific treatment is the most popular and what does it accomplish?
In Aspen, we have people coming from all different climates. Their skin is confused and stressed, so it’s all about restoring balance. Balancing the skin is one of my big goals when I give a facial. It depends on the skin type, but most of our winter clients need a hydration boost.

What are your favorite lines?
Our products at O2 are well researched and have to pass a testing trial with our skin care team. O2 believes in non-toxic products, but they must deliver results. Our newest line, Biologique Recerche uses a clinical approach to beauty care with pure, concentrated and raw ingredients and has a VIP O2 line that’s a must-try, especially in Aspen where our skin needs extra oxygen and nourishment. Luzern, a clean luxury line from Switzerland uses plant stem cells, probiotics and Swiss alpine water. Osea from California is plant-based, vegan and uses seaweed. All the lines we use and sell at O2 are non-toxic and free of parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, synthetic colorants and fragrance. They all use cold pressed technology to ensure the highest potency of ingredients.

What products work well in winter?
You’re looking to sooth, nourish and protect the skin. Biologique Recherche’s Lait U cleansing milk soothes with squalane and sweet almond. Biologique Recherche’s Lotion P50 W gently exfoliates and purifies with lactic and malic acids. Biologique Recherche’s VG Tensil firming effect serum with hazelnut, the Creme Dermo-RL with grapeseed and Shea butter and the Serum Yall O2 with hibiscus, lilly and hyaluronic acid all layer together to form quite possibly the ideal winter skin cocktail. The brand’s Crème Contour Yeux et Lèvres Biofixine lifts eyes and fights wrinkles. Osea’s Hyaluronic Sea Serum and Advanced Protection Cream are a wonderful combination for amazing hydration. Luzern’s La Defense Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 prevents sunburn with a mineral based sunscreen that shields skin from damaging UV rays and lutein guards skin from blue light emitted from smartphones and screens.