Tips & Tricks #25: “Skin Care”

The “dust” of the Black Rock Desert is not like any other dust. It’s alkaline (basic) PH levels can wreak havoc on skin.  This video looks at a few tips on skin care and staying (relatively) clean.

My favorites: band gloves every day, vinegar solution in a spray bottle, coconut oil in a pump, and cooler water in zip lock bags.

(View Tips #1-#24)

Have tips of your own? SHARE!

Thanks to Phenomenal Metamorphosis, Vesper Holly, Jennifer Ong, Endless Fun, Tim Gorts,  and everyone who has already contributed tips!


About the author: John "Halcyon" Styn


Halcyon is a 21-year Burning Man participant and co-founder of Pink Heart camp. He is author of "Love more. Fear less." and producer of the Burning Man short film, "The Pink Path." He's won Webby awards for his over-the-top personal site & his "Love On Demand" video podcast Halcyon co-founded the San Diego based "1st Saturdays" homeless outreach program based on Burning Man Principles and coaches people how to be radically self expressed in the default world. You can find his full Playa Tips & Tricks series at

5 Comments on “Tips & Tricks #25: “Skin Care”

  • Some tips left in the YouTube comments:

    If you’ve got sensitive skin sunflower oil is better than coconut (coconut is only a 4 on the noncomedogenic scale, sunflower is 0). You can get both online filtered for skin use. I also love me some aloe baby wipes and vitamin E oil for the nose.

    Foot care….. i give my feet a vinegar bath at night then rinse with water and then lather them in a thick creme of your choice and wear fluffy socks to bed… keeps my feet from playa foot.. cracked skin on your feet makes walking painful….
    -Charles Moebius

    I too suffer from dry hands in the desert. Last year I moisturized every night before going to sleep, with cotton gloves on. No cracked cuticles! (I learned that hand moisturizer is heavier duty than facial moisturizer. I used Gold Bold.)

    I like those Asian exfoliating scrub cloths. They are great for doing your back and they are super cheap .

    Great tips, I carried a small bottle of saline spray for my nose through the day. And had a jumbo canister of baby wipes for the evening (early early morning?) cleanup routine before sleeping.
    -Michael Carlstrom

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  • Radiant Biscuit says:

    Great ideas everyone. I tried waterless soap, followed by generous dose of witch hazel with rose oil, followed by thick hand cream. Tried this every night last year at a friend’s recommendation, and it saved me from painful cracks on my hands and cuticles. Also smiling and a positive attitude brought little hand fairies to help me, I swear.

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  • Lynn vind says:

    I take several gallon jugs of cheap or generic white vinegar yearly and wash my feet in a bucket diluted with water every night, then coat them with A & D ointment and sleep in socks Nightly. Keeps them from cracking, bleeding and comfortable daily. Hand also. ;)
    My nighttime Ritual.

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  • Halcyon says:

    some more:
    I use a small spray bottle w water to pre mist skin before coconut oil, also during the working in and massaging into skin, makes an emulsion that super hydrates then locks in moisture, Yes,yes to everywhere, everywhere. A small med pill bottle or really good sealing vial with coconut oil makes a great venturing about first aid carrier( keep in a zip lock baggy for even more safe leak mess proofness) Coconut oil can be used in corners of eyes for helping preventing the crusties( organic best, test first)
    – Clemson Ignis Salus

    take acyclovir to avoid nasty cold sore nose. and cranberry. and coconut oil for everything. oh also eye drops and saline nose spray.. but my skin and bare feet are always happy..
    – Simeon Marie

    Thanks for the great tips. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of coconut oil. That’s def on my list for this year.
    I do not like baby wipes. I find them drying and irritating to my skin especially when playa is present. I use apple cider vinegar it can be used to help wash urself. Especially the spots that tend to get funky. Vinegar kills germs that cause odor and as u said cuts the alcali. Bonus, after a little air drying the smell is gone and you are fresh and feeling good. I have made my own wipes using the apple cider vinegar and find it to be so much better than baby wipes.
    Hope to see u at home )'(
    -Amzng Kyky

    Though this isn’t entirely radically self-reliant it’s worth mentioning some camps that can help supplement your self care routines. Camps like ReFOAMation, Human Carcass Wash, Astral Headwash will help you freshen up, while a bunch of others offer everything from naked neti to hand jobs (for your hands, perv)
    -Todd Shimkus

    Other products suggested:
    Waxlene… It’s a type of Vaseline made of bees wax
    Thayers Which Hazel (doesn’t have drying alcohol in it)

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  • Grahamaphone says:

    There is a product called Boogie Wipes that are basically wet wipes made with saline. Developed for cleaning dried snot off of toddlers, very useful for playa boogies. Comes unscented.

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