High Altitude Skin Care by Alpyn Beauty

“Keeping skin hydrated in an alpine environment is a challenge,” says dermatologist Soren White, whose New York – Aspen – Palm Beach-based practice makes him better qualified than most to comment on the harsh effects of extreme sun exposure and the challenges of high altitude skin care. “Not only can the sun be more intense in the mountains than at the beach, the lack of humidity at altitude significantly raises the stakes.”

For former skincare executive, Kendra Butler – who, along with husband Ryan, moved her family from New York to Wyoming in search of a more outdoors-oriented life – an alpine environment has proved more a solution than a challenge. Sitting in her backyard, which abuts the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Butler recalls looking at the plant life and being amazed by nature’s ability to not only survive but thrive in the harsh environs of Jackson Hole. A bit of research later, she learned her adopted town’s indigenous flora not only included skin-beneficial plants like borage, calendula, and sage, but there was a way they could be sustainably utilized to combat dry skin.

“Wildcrafting is the practice of harvesting a plant in its natural environment in a way that doesn’t damage it,” Butler says, effectively describing the process by which she makes her proprietary Alpyn Beauty Wildcrafted Actives, a yummy line that includes a cleanser, serum, moisturizer, eye balm and the brands latest offering – a Calming Midnight Mask with antioxidant-packed melatonin and detoxifying wild dandelion leaf designed to work overnight when your skin naturally regenerates.

Packed with actives like wild arnica, chamomile, wild dandelion, and other plant-based ceramides high in Vitamin C, Alpyn has become a cult favorite with Beauty Editors who rave about its hydrating effect, as well as its ever-so-slight alpenglow – reminiscent of the light that illuminates the mountaintops, forests and valleys around Jackson – that the products leave on their skin.

“By allowing the plant to go through its natural life cycle – no shade, fertilizer or pesticides, just nature taking its due course – the plants have to learn how to hold hydration and become more resilient to things that can harm them.” It’s what Butler refers to as plant genius, and has prompted more than a few of her clients to coo, “it feels like my skin got a drink”.

Though a strong advocate for daily sunblock – regardless of the altitude – Dr. White agrees many solutions to our everyday skincare woes can absolutely be found in nature.

“I personally use Heliocare when I’m skiing or at the beach,” he says, referring to a readily available supplement derived from the polypodium leucotomos fern known as PLE. An aquatic plant found in the wilds of Central and South America, PLE adapted to life on land by creating its own protection from the harsh effects of free radicals in the environment. Grown on small plantations without pesticides or fertilizers – Heliocare is certified by NSF for Good Manufacturing Practices – and with a share of the profits re-invested in local communities, what’s not to love?

Butler sums it up well. “I think nature holds so many solutions, and if we respect her and work in harmony with her, she holds the answers to a lot of our problems.”