Those of us non-Kardashians — who don’t have access to a private jet with an in-flight spa — know that travel is no friend to our skin. No matter how committed and true we stay to our skin care regimen, somehow, some way, just a few hours on a plane, train or bus is enough to leave us battling sudden breakouts, dryness and dullness. Not to mention some added bloat from sitting still for long periods of time. But, rest assured, there are ways to minimize — and even prevent! — some of the skin-sabotaging effects of travel.
Travel depletes you of moisture….
If you look in the mirror after just a few hours of travel to find that your mug is dry, flaky, or red, you’re not alone. Even if you used your hydrating serum and moisturizer before hopping on the flight, your body is now battling pressurized cabin air, which contains around 20% less humidity than you’ll find outdoors.
So prep with a moisturizing mask & lots of H2O…
A smart preventative move before embarking on a trip is to drink tons of water and use a face mask the night before, especially one that contains hydrating and nourishing components. We love masks that have vitamins C and E, olive oil, aloe, honey and/or, the cream of the crop, hyaluronic acid, which is arguably one of the best moisturizing ingredients in the game. Try Dr. Jart+ Vital Hydra Solution Deep Hydration Sheet Mask or Shiseido Benefiance Pure Retinol Intensive Revitalizing Face Mask, which are equally great to boost your pre-travel hydration levels.
… and pack heavy-duty hydrators.
Make sure you throw a face moisturizer and a hydrating balm into your carry-on. We suggest bringing along face serums and moisturizers that contain the aforementioned hyaluronic acid — our favorite is the Youth To The People Serum! The iS Clinical Sheald balm offers great added hydration in cream form, and this Pixi Hydration Milky mist is a super easy on-the-go hydrator.
Travel steals your glow…
You might have woken up with rosy cheeks the morning before you took off, but after you’ve made it to cruising altitude (or anywhere above 6,000 feet), you’ll likely notice a serious decrease in the amount of color showing in your face. This happens due to a loss of blood flow to the skin. The higher the altitude, the less blood flow.
So give yourself a mini massage!
A self-pampering face massage can work wonders to boost blood and lymph circulation, which sends a bevy of nutrients and oxygen to the cells in your face. Just be careful not to tug or pull on the skin—soft, gentle motions will do the trick. And don’t forget to wash your hands first!
Travel causes puffiness…
Ever step off of a plane, train or bus and feel significantly more bloated than you did when you stepped on? Nope, it’s not your imagination playing tricks on you. Sitting still for extended periods of time, not to mention snacking on salt- and sodium-saturated plane food (or whatever they were selling at the food court) causes your body to retain excess fluids. In your face, you’ll likely notice this right under your eyes, aka eye bags.
So use a powerful eye cream!
Cooling under-eye creams and serums are the best way to send that excess baggage under your eyes packing! We love the Stress Positive tube from Dermalogica and the Musely Bye Bye Bags HydroGel Eye Masks.
Travel can lead to break outs…
The stress of traveling, whether it’s traffic, flight or train delays or plain-old exhaustion, alone can cause your skin to flare up to pretty much any skin condition you’re prone to — be it acne, rosacea, eczema or psoriasis. When you’re feeling stressed out, your body reacts by releasing a hormone called cortisol. This throws off all of the other hormones in your body, as well as the balance of the good and bad bacteria in your gut, all of which can lead to an increase in acne. And that’s not to mention all the added bacteria and germs you’re exposed to when you’re packed amongst tons of strangers and touching lots of surfaces you wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to.
So wear minimal makeup & pack face wipes.
Wearing minimal makeup will ensure your pores aren’t clogged for the many hours you’re traveling, and packing some wipes to remove excess dirt, oil and buildup from your face will help keep your pores clog-free as well. We love the Intrinsics Naturally Gentle Cleansing Towels and Promise Organic Argan Crème Facial Towelettes — both of which can double as hand wipes! Using wipes doesn’t forgo your evening cleanse, so don’t forget to wash your face when you arrive!
Travel exposes you to unexpected UV rays…
Since you’re sitting indoors, or in a moving vehicle, you might not think to apply your daily SPF, but skin experts warn that this is an unforgiving mistake. All forms of transportation have windows through which the sun’s harmful rays can still make their way to you. Additionally, for those flying in a plane, you’re traveling at a higher altitude, which means you’re even closer to the sun. That means the UV rays coming through your plane window will be stronger than what you’re used to when sitting out at the beach.
So find an SPF you love.
This one’s simple: Find an SPF you love and slather up! We love the SLMD Daily Moisturizer, which adds allantoin and protects from UVA and UVB rays.
Travel throws your skin into a new environment…
Whether you’re leaving to a tropical destination or into frigid winter temps, your destination likely has a different climate than your origin. This is especially true if you’re going to a place with a higher altitude, which can further dry out your skin.
So be prepared for extremes…
All those aforementioned favorite SPFs and extra-moisturizing serums?
… but stick to your routine!
Between the travel and the new environment, your skin is adjusting to enough — the week you head on vacay is not the week you should try out that new serum or face mask. Instead, find a skincare line that offers travel-friendly sizes of your favorites (like the SLMD Acne System (30 Day) and SLMD Acne System (60 Day)) so you don’t have to risk extra irritation when you travel.