Flying can be exciting, especially if you’re going somewhere special. Unfortunately, it can also play havoc with our skin and overall well-being. Dry cabin air, cramped seating, and disrupted sleep patterns all take a toll. However, with a bit of preparation and a few simple tips, you can arrive at your destination looking and feeling refreshed. Here are our in-flight tips to follow during your journey.
(PS: the same holds true for any form of travel, from planes to trains and cruise ships.)
Hydrating yourself is crucial. Cabin air tends to be extremely dry, which can lead to dehydrated skin, nasal linings and lips. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the flight, and avoid alcohol as it dehydrates the body and skin.
TIP! You can’t bring liquids over 100ml through security but you can bring along a refillable water bottle to fill at the airport. Of course, in some countries, it may not be safe to drink tap water so always make sure before you go. Check out Water at airports to find drinking water refills at airports around the world.
Keep it clean and moisturised
Just like everything else travel-related, being prepared is key. Firstly, opt for minimal to no makeup – you can always put it on just before you land if you’re meeting someone. To keep your skin fresh during the flight, start with clean, well-moisturised skin. Once on-board, cleanse with a gentle cleanser or micellar water, and then moisturise with a lightweight, non-greasy cream (you may need to top this up throughout the flight). You can also try a moisturising face mist or thermal water spritz throughout the journey to refresh your skin. Remember that surfaces on planes can be pretty dirty so avoid touching your face if you haven’t cleaned your hands first.
Facial oils, like rosehip, jojoba, or argan oil are another extra step to lock in hydration. Gently pat a few drops onto your face, focusing on dry areas.
TIP! We recommend keeping moisturisers, oils, and mists in a sealable bag so that, if it leaks, you won’t end up with face cream all over your bag.
Lips in particular can become very dry as the skin is thin and doesn’t contain oil glands like the rest of your face. We find that flying can be pretty hard on them and, if you don’t keep them moisturised, you may end up with chapped lips. Go for a natural lip balm, preferably without chemicals which can cause dryness.
Some ingredients commonly found in lipsticks, balms and glosses can actually worsen dryness, particularly petrochemicals – often listed as paraffinum, petroleum jelly, or mineral oil – which draw moisture out of the skin (which is why they feel like they’re helping when they actually aren’t), lanolin, strong fragrances and colouring. Avoid matte or long-lasting lipsticks as they tend to further dry out your lips. Opt for balms infused with natural ingredients like shea butter, carnauba wax, beeswax, or vitamin E.
It’s in your hands
Your hands can take a real beating when you travel. We’re constantly having to clean them with sanitiser, handle stubborn luggage, buckle up, and so on. Opt for sanitisers with extra moisturising properties and take along a rich hand cream. One idea is to pack a pair of nitrile gloves and give yourself a bit of a ‘hand spa’ – just slather on the lotion, pop on the gloves, and relax while your skin soaks it up. And don’t forget to pack an emery board for the inevitable snags.
Most people don’t realise that your skin is still exposed to UV radiation while in the air. Indeed, regular flyers like pilots and cabin crew have been found to have increased incidence of skin cancers because of this. While it’s unlikely to affect most passengers, especially those who fly rarely and for short periods, it’s best to slather on a broad-spectrum sunscreen anyway.
Our eyes are often the first to show signs of fatigue; they can also become really irritated because of the dry air. Pack some lubricating eye drops to keep them soothed and apply regularly. Apply lightweight eye cream or gel to keep the skin moisturised, and combat puffiness and dark circles by bringing a cooling eye mask.
It’s best to avoid contact lenses as the dry air can make your eyes so dry that the contacts irritate the eyes. Stick to your glasses instead.
Get some rest
Skincare aside, try to get some rest (we know it’s easier said than done). Sleep plays a significant role in skin regeneration and, of course, combating that weary-eyed look. Carry an eye mask, earplugs, and a neck pillow to ensure a comfortable sleep experience. It’s also best to avoid excessive screen time, as the blue light emitted by electronic devices can disrupt sleep patterns.
Note: This article does not replace that of a medical professional and you should always follow their instructions.