It's a well-documented fact that airline travel dries out your skin.
For some, the recycled air and lack of water can cause mild irritation. Others may suffer from severe acne post-flight.
As someone with sensitive skin who regularly travels great distances, I've learned the ins and outs of taking care of my skin before, during, and after a flight.
It's essential to spend some time on your skin when flying long haul. Here are my tips for healthy skincare on long flights.
1. Cleanse your face before the flight
When I was traveling to the Faroe Islands from Kyrgyzstan this year, I stumbled upon a girl in the Bishkek airport bathroom who was diligently going through a very complicated looking skin routine.
I visited the bathroom twice within the space of half an hour to find her there on both occasions. She meant business.
From what I gleaned, her elaborate routine involved the application of a face mask, followed by a deep cleanse, then a round of solid moisturizing around her eyes, on her lips, and the rest of her face.
Although it was time-consuming, I am positive her skin was looking a lot healthier than mine after stepping off the plane (and I presume she wasn't traveling for 40-odd hours – hopefully, for her sake).
At the very least, I think it's good to cleanse your face before the flight and at some point during.
I carry a small bottle of cleanser with me in my carry-on for just that purpose.
Probably wouldn't hurt to carry a flannel that you could use to towel down if you're feeling icky. Please, don't use wet wipes. They wreak havoc on the environment.
2. Don't skimp on the water
It's pretty simple stuff, but then why shouldn't the most obvious thing be the one that's going to help you out the most?
Most people find it quite difficult to keep hydrated on a plane. Yet, I implore you to do your darnedest to drink all the water you can.
I always pack a water bottle with me when going on a flight. Empty it before going through security and then fill it up on the other end.
If you can't find a tap (it's happened to me plenty of times, so I sympathize), then ask someone at a restaurant to fill it up for you.
If not, wait until you're on the plane, and then the airplane staff will do it for you.
It's water out of a bottle, yeah, but at least you're not using the plastic cup you get when ordering water.
I'm sorry to say it, but it's probably best to lay off the wine too.
Don't do what I used to do and claim that it “helps put (you) to sleep.” It's alcohol, and it's dehydrating you.
3. Hydrate with a spraying mist
If my face is starting to feel dry and I don't fancy popping moisturizer on, I spray on a hydrating mist.
Rather than shelling out wads of cash for an over the counter sort, try making your own. It's easier than you think. Cheaper, too!
You can go the whole kit and caboodle and apply eye serum, face oil, and moisturizer, or rock it with moisturizer alone.
Just make sure you get one that's not going to cause a reaction with your skin. If it's a new bottle, make sure you do a quick patch test 24 hours out.
It might not hurt to use a moisturizer which has some form of SPF. When you're up in a plane, you are much closer to the sun, after all.
I tend to get super dry lips, so I always fly with a goopy lip balm to boot and make sure to keep it close on hand.
See also: Travel Insurance – What is the Maximum Trip Length
5. Turn off the air blower
Mmmm, recycled air! The air blowers tend to be very drying for your skin and eyes.
Plus, is it just me, or does it get super cold as soon as the plane is up in the air? So, who needs the blower, anyway?
6. Try to bring along some healthy snacks
Airplane food is notoriously bad, so it might not hurt to pack a few snacks of your own.
Nuts are always fun (not peanuts, as a fellow passenger might have a peanut allergy, which could lead to horrific consequences), and some fruit like an apple wouldn't go astray.
If you're in the air for more than 14 hours continuously, then do what you can.
7. Lightly exfoliate when you get off the plane
The skin care shouldn't stop when you get off the plane.
Once you're either home or at your intended destination, give your face a light once over with a face scrub (please pick one that's microbead-free!) and gently dry.
Reapply moisturizer, and you'll be good to go!
LC is an ex-expat who is currently re-exploring her home country of Australia. Follow her adventures at home and abroad via her blog Birdgehls, where she writes about travel, expat life, gushes on about various animals and bemoans her often futile attempts to go completely green. Or, you can look her up on Facebook.
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