Don’t Let Your Travel Plans Dim Your Glow: Skincare Tips for When You’re Travelling by Plane

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There are few things more exciting than arriving at the airport, meeting up with your friends or family, and catching a flight to a vacation destination. However, flying isn’t always kind to your skin, and you definitely don’t want to be dealing with its impacts when you’re trying to enjoy your trip.

Before hopping on your next flight, consider the impacts that air travel can have on your skin and come prepared. Thankfully, there are several things you can do before, during, and after the flight to ensure your skin stays clear, hydrated, and glowing.

How flying can affect your skin

From recycled air and high altitudes to sugary travel snacks, getting to and from a destination via plane can have consequences when it comes to your skin.

What many people don’t consider is the increased UV rays — at higher altitudes, UV radiation increases, putting you at risk of developing a sunburn or skin damage through the windows. Especially if you like to keep your window open for the entire flight! A study has shown that the UV rays you’re exposed to when flying contain the equivalent UV-A radiation as a 20-minute session in a tanning bed.

Additionally, the recycled air that gets pumped through the airplane can be incredibly drying on your skin. There’s a lack of moisture in the air, which means your skin’s moisture barrier is impacted. This is exactly why you see people wear hydrating sheet masks and under-eye masks when on long-haul flights.

Drinking coffee, diet Coke, and other caffeinated beverages during your flight can also dehydrate your skin. Keeping well hydrated with water is an easy way to keep your body functioning properly so that you feel great after landing. It’s also wise to stock up on healthy snacks, like trail mix and dried fruit, at the airport instead of candies and chips. These can result in unwanted breakouts that won’t appear until a couple of days into your dreamy vacation.

Ways you can care for your skin before, during, and after catching a flight

Caring for your skin when travelling does take a little extra effort and thought, but we promise, it’s worth it.

Take off your makeup

If you’re taking a long flight that lasts more than a couple of hours, it’s best to fly with a fresh, clean face so that your pores can breathe. You can always reapply your makeup upon landing at the airport. But if you aren’t prone to breakouts, don’t worry about leaving your makeup on for travel days.

Pack all of the essentials

First and foremost, do not forget your SPF as this will keep your skin safe from the increased UV radiation. Along with a sunscreen or moisturizer that contains an SPF, pack a hydrating mist that can be applied every hour or so, and then a hyaluronic serum that can be applied before landing. If you want to feel extra proactive when flying, consider bringing along some hydrating eye patches or an under-eye cream. If you plan on removing your makeup before getting on the plane, a makeup remover and a cleanser should also be packed.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

The good news is: water is free on airplanes so you can drink as much as you want. But the bad news is: it’s best to stay away from drinking alcohol on the airplane as it can dehydrate your skin. Instead of ordering a couple of mini bottles of prosecco, keep the plastic cups of water flowing and even purchase a bottle of extra-hydrating coconut water from the airport before boarding.

Double cleanse once you’ve reached your final destination

After you’ve arrived at your hotel room or vacation home, give your skin a thorough double cleanse. The first cleanse will clear your skin of any dirt or makeup residue, and the second cleanse will help restore some of the hydration you may have lost on the flight.

If you’ve opted to wear a face mask to protect against COVID-19 or other germs on the airplane, be sure to use a cleanser with salicylic acid or another acne-fighting ingredient. This can work to prevent any maskne from developing later on.

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Don’t Let Your Travel Plans Dim Your Glow: Skincare Tips for When You’re Travelling by Plane was originally published in Think Dirty on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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