Between the fatigue and the jetlag, there a plethora of other altitude-related issues that can affect your body after more than three hours on a plane. Specifically, flying can do a lot of damage to your skin – more than you may realize.
Whether you’re traveling domestically within your home country or internationally a few time zones away, traveling is not an excuse to neglect your usual healthy habits, especially when it comes to our daily skin care regimen. Hydrating with moisturizers to carrying a full-blown facial 30,000 miles in the air is not as weird or unusual as it may sound.
If you’re a frequent traveler, most likely you’re familiar with continually being encouraged to wear sunscreen during your voyage, even when then the sun isn’t shining. Unfortunately, clouds do not barricade Ultraviolet (UV) rays from damaging your skin. It’s a great rule of thumb for when you fly as well.
Sun exposure on an airplane can often be far worse due to high altitude, so beware when marveling at the alluring view of the ground below from outside your window during takeoff. You may be satisfied by the experience, but you’ll be left with nasty two-toned facial sunburn.
10 Sunburn: How To Prevent It
SPF 15 sunscreen creams are great for lip care products – some of which are sold at airport kiosks – but when it comes to your face and neck, try packing an SPF 50 moisturizer to prevent discoloration in most places where sunrays are strongest such as high altitudes or hotter climate regions.
Before your flight, be sure to use a light cleanser before applying a generous amount of SPF 50 moisturizer on your face and neck. Adopting this pre-flight beauty habit will not only prevent sunburn but major skin dehydration that you may experience during your journey.
9 Skin Dehydration
How would you know when your skin is screaming for moisture on a flight? Most times, you wouldn’t realize it. Stagnant plane air is so low in moisture that becoming very dehydrated is normal. As your throat and body yearn for a drink of water, so will your skin.
Even though it may seem like a good idea to hold off on drinking a lot of liquids before your flight to avoid the possibility of annoying your seat partner every time you need to use the loo, you’re only causing harm to yourself. Just remember: do not drink the plane's faucet water!
Staying hydrated before and during your flight is highly recommended to avoid all the issues that come with dehydration such as headaches and fatigue. Unfortunately, alcohol doesn’t help the issue, so if you plan on taking a swig or two on the plane, be sure to follow each drink with a generous amount of water.
8 Skin Dehydration: How To Prevent It
Not only should you carry your own large bottle of water onto your flight but investing in a good moisturizing sheet mask will revive dry skin cells and help you look refreshed and awakened by the time you reach your destination.
If you’ve ever wanted to experiment with Korean beauty products, preparing for a flight is your chance to do so, starting with sheet masks. Sure, you might look a little out of the ordinary compared to the other passengers, but your skin will thank you later for sparing it from dullness, flakiness and dehydration.
7 Blotchy/Flushed Complexion
Let’s say that your skin doesn’t encounter the damage of UV rays during your flight or maybe you are just lucky enough to catch a red-eye to your destination. Although, once you disembark, you notice that your skin looks extremely red with discolored patches and in the worst-case scenario, is stings. When a plane reaches high altitude, it expands. Unfortunately, so does your body when flying.
Along with water weight changes and jet-bloat, swelling and flushed complexion are common flying reactions that happen when there is a change in cabin pressure. Blotchy skin a form of inflammation that can sometimes result in puffy eyelids or under-eye bags.
6 Blotchy/Flushed Complexion: How To Prevent It
One way to prevent flushed complexion or sudden redness is cooling and calming the surface of the skin before and during your flight. Whether or not you're prone to redness, rosacea or inflammation, skincare products with azelaic acid will rectify the issue gently. You can find azelaic acid in cleansers, moisturizers, serums and clay masks to combat several skin problems that cause redness, acne and hyperpigmentation.
If you’re seated near a window, simple things like closing the shades during the daytime will also protect your skin from the sun’s heat and UV rays.
5 Excessively Oily Skin
A very shiny skin surface has its perks when it comes to delayed skin aging and wrinkles. However, naturally dewy skin comes with a number of challenges that can only be amended by good skincare and healthy habits.
Rule number one of experiencing a very oily skin during air travel: keep your hands off your face. An excessively oily visage is your body’s way of reacting to warm environments – such as high altitudes on a plane – which means that your pores are dilated at the moment. Bacteria from your hands transferring into your open pores is a one-way ticket to acne land.
4 Excessively Oily Skin: How To Prevent It
Everyone’s skin reacts differently in certain conditions. While some may encounter very dry skin during air travel, others experience unusually oily skin. Oil blotting sheets are your best friend, especially during long haul flights. Blotting sheets remove access oil on the skin surface Hence, reducing the amount of grit clogging your pores. Luckily, most blotting sheet packs can be bought at nearly any local drugstore and they are small enough to fit into any size travel bag.
Another oil-reducing tip – and this is skincare 101 for those with this problem – always travel with cleanser. It’s really helpful for long-term skin health to invest in an oil-free cleanser to lessen shine and acne that may ensue due to dirt and oil.
2 Sudden Blemishes
One of the worst things that can happen to your skin after a long-haul flight is mid-air or post-air travel blemishes. Even if you’re used to spontaneous acne breakouts on occasion, sudden blemishes after a few hours of air travel will catch you by surprise, whether it’s a small bump or a cluster of acne in one area of your face.
Unfortunately, when flying, the chances of spontaneous breakouts are higher due to all that bacteria around you. Regardless of how your skin reacts during travel, both excessive oil and dry skin can cause clogged and congested pores, which result in pimples, blackheads or cystic acne.
1 Sudden Blemishes: How To Prevent It
To combat dry skin – apart from a hydrating sheet mask or a good moisturizer – a dab of rosehip oil and tea tree oil on a cotton pad are great remedies for blemishes that may occur while traveling. Azelaic and salicylic acids are also good go-to's for stubborn, inflamed acne.
Besides using blotting sheets to help with oily skin which can clog your pores along with bacteria and dirt, oil-resistant serums with a combination of niacinamide and zinc are your best option to stop sudden blemishes dead in their tracks.
The night after your flight should be the time that you take advantage of thoroughly cleansing your skin in order to halt any looming breakouts. The old DIY acne aspirin and honey mask can do wonders for both blemish prevention, pore minimization and overall skin complexion. If you're destination and accommodation allows it, a little post-travel professional facial never hurt anyone either.