Going away for the holidays? Here's your in-flight skin-care manual
Flying can wreak havoc on your skin. But following this simple routine could mean the difference between showing up to your destination disheveled and arriving in style.
Drink Lots of Water
When the air is less humid, it “takes moisture from places that are more hydrated,” like your body, says dermatologist Dendy Engelman. Buy a big bottle of water after passing through security and finish it by the time babies are preboarding.
Frequent fliers know that travelling can put your immune system through the ringer, so “boost your body’s immunity to the bad bacteria,” Engelman says. She recommends taking probiotics regularly.
“The ozone layer and the atmosphere are much thinner in elevation, and the glass doesn’t filter out a lot of UV light,” Engelman warns. The “super sun” above the clouds hits you even if you’re sitting on the aisle, so put on sunscreen before you board (and reapply every few hours).
Clean Your Area
Wiping down your surroundings (tray table, arm rests, the seat itself) starts your trip with a clean slate and will “keep your skin happier and healthier,” says Engelman. “You touch things on the plane and transfer them to your face.” Use an antimicrobial spray, such as Lumionskin Oxygen Mist with HOCL, that dries quickly.
Wipe Your Mug
Don’t use airplane bathroom water to wash your face (which you should do before putting anything on it). Stay in your seat and use individually wrapped facial cleansing cloths, like those from Oars & Alps, to clean your face sans H2O.
Apply a Hydrating Mask
There’s nothing wrong with using a sheet mask on a plane, but if that’s too ostentatious for you, try a gel mask instead. Engelman recommends
Derm Institute Anti-Oxidant Hydration Gel Masque. Rip open the pack and apply it as you would a moisturizer.
Face mists are so common that some airlines, like United, provide them in first class. But Engelman advises using them with caution. “You’re putting moisture on your skin, but then it’s evaporating quickly and may be more dehydrating,” she says. If you do use one, always lock it in by applying a moisturizer, such as Olay Mist Ultimate Hydration Essence, immediately after.
About That Moisturizer . . .
You should put one on whether you’re misting or not. “Having a protective barrier on your skin not only keeps you hydrated,” says Engelman, but it will also “prevent additional water loss to the low-humidity air.” Follow the moisturizer with more sunscreen.
Don’t Skip Lip Balm
There’s a reason lip balms are always included in business-class amenities: “They know your lips are going to get dry,” Engelman says. If you’re not sitting in the fancy seats, bring your own and apply it liberally.
Wash Your Face ASAP
Many people notice breakouts after a flight, but it’s not necessarily because planes are dirty. More likely it’s due to the decrease in skin-barrier function or an increase in stress. Either way, wash your face as soon after deplaning as possible.
Deep-Clean When You Can
Use a purifying clay mask at your hotel to help deep-clean your pores. A weakened skin barrier can mean that dirt and bacteria have gotten stuck inside them. While postflight acne is not usually related to bacteria, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Bust Out the Antibacterial Big Guns
LED lights “are both anti-inflammatory and can kill bacteria on the skin,” says Engelman. Use an LED mask to help rebalance your skin after the stress of flying. No space in your carry-on? Do it when you get home, or find a spa at your destination that can provide a zap.
“Some people get flushed after they fly,” says Engelman. Using a calming anti-redness mask, instead of the clay kind will help get rid of it quickly. They’re especially good if you have to go right to a meeting. (Use it in the back of your Lyft.)