A Derm’s In-Flight Skincare Routine to Combat Airplane Dryness
June 23, 2022
Now that we’re slowly adapting to the new normal of ‘living with COVID’, vacations are top of mind for all. If you’re gearing up for your first long-haul flight in what feels like forever, just know that, 1. Your legs and back will for sure feel uncomfortable by the 10-hour mark...I mean, we have been out of the jet-setting game for a minute now, so don’t be taken aback when this occurs, and 2. Your skin will undoubtedly require more TLC than ever before cause it too has been out of the jet-setting game for some time now.
A rule of thumb of mine is if your flight is longer than three hours, keep a skin-replenishing kit close by or in your carry-on. I say this because cabin air is a literal vacuum for moisture. Because it’s so dry and low in humidity, it tries to grasp onto any moisture it can, including moisture from your skin! So to avoid looking like a shriveled up prune upon arrival, here are six in-flight skincare tips to keep your skin happy and nourished while in airplane mode.
Tip #1: Avoid salt and alcohol
High-sodium drinks and alcohol can dehydrate both you and your skin. So if you do happen to treat yourself to a sneaky glass of vino or a Bloody Mary mix, make sure to hydrate adequately with water right after and throughout your flight.
Tip #2: Take off your makeup
I’m not the biggest fan of makeup wipes (for eco-conscious reasons), but I will pull out a wipe or two in-flight for speedy makeup removal. I prefer Burt’s Bees Micellar 3 in 1 Cleansing Towelettes but in really long flights, I use a light moisturizer to remove my makeup instead, as micellar wipes are practically useless in replenishing moisture if you're in a very dry cabin and can leave your skin even more parched in the process. You'll love Embryolisse’s Lait Crème Concentré — it’s a multipurpose miracle cream with shea butter, beeswax, soy proteins, and aloe vera that acts as a cleanser and moisturizer. Once I’ve cleansed my makeup with it (it removes makeup just like a cleansing balm), I then use a makeup wipe to remove all the residue.
Tip #3: Mist and NOT Mask
Sheet masks are great to use in humid environments but terrible in dry cabins as they can leave your skin more dehydrated. How? Again, the cabin air will soak up all the moisture from your sheet mask, leaving your skin thirsty as hell. So instead of sheets, I mist with a humectant-based liquid that I mix up myself pre-flight. My little recipe includes 50ml distilled water, 50ml rosewater (for inflammation), and 30ml glycerin (to soften skin and help retain moisture). I then store this in a portable facial mister to hydrate and replenish my skin whenever and wherever. Amazon has a large variety of travel facial mist sprayers to choose from. One that I'm currently obsessed with is the Nano Facial Mister, $7 — it's an itty bitty little mister that you can literally slip in your pocket and mist while on the move.
Tip #4: Seal the moisture in
Once you're done with your misting, lock this in with a hydrating serum like Aveeno’s Calm + Restore. It contains a triple oat complex (oat oil, oat extract, and oat flour) to soothe and relieve dry skin.
Tip #5: Use hypochlorous acid to minimize face-mask-induced breakouts
Hypochlorous acid is an antimicrobial that’s great for combating breakouts and acne. So to avoid a bout of maskne during your travels, I often mist the inside of my mask and the skin around my mouth with hypochlorous acid to kill any bacteria that's looming.
Tip #6: Apply and reapply your SPF
If you’re flying in the daytime, make sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours and if you’re in a window seat, consider lowering your window shade and closing it completely while catching some zzzs.
Safe travels and shop my full list of in-flight products here