How to Care for Your Skin Before, During and After a Flight


Now that the international borders of various countries across the world are opening up again, travel has begun to resume. While it’s wonderful (and we’re grateful to be able to travel again), there are a myriad of issues to consider, from the trivial snacks for the flight to the more complex like potentially losing baggage and most importantly, affecting your skin. Have you noticed during a flight that your skin feels dry and dehy- drated? That’s because the high altitude, combined with an increase of UV exposure and recirculated air of an airplane is a recipe for complexion disaster. In addition, airplanes can trigger skin sensitivity through its significantly lower humidity levels. Worry not, you don’t have to forsake any good travel selfie with our tips to take care of your skin before, during, and after your flight.


Besides your passport, boarding pass and carry- ons, your preflight checklist should include skin prep. Dermatologists and experts recommend stripping your skin of any makeup before a flight because by boarding a plane, you’re submitting your skin to harsh conditions so adding makeup might just exacerbate your skin condition. To avoid landing at your destination with clogged pores, try double cleansing — that is, using a cleansing balm to remove your makeup followed by a gentle, soap-free cleanser afterward.

SPF is as important during the day on land as it is mid-air. In fact, sunscreen is even more important during a flight, especially since UV radiation levels are twice as high at 30,000 miles (the altitude of most commercial flights) than they are at ground level. So, don’t skimp on the SPF. Though you’re unlikely to get a sunburn on a plane, airplane windshields typically only block UVB and often allow a significant amount of UVA transmission through the glass. Besides SPF for your face, it’s best to choose a hand cream and a lip balm that contains SPF, as well.

Diet can also play a part in how your skin fare during a flight. The air on planes has reduced humidity, which results in parched and dry skin, leading to discomfort. Drinking plenty of water preflight will keep your skin hydrated from the inside out. Another helpful tip is to avoid consuming salty food before flying to keep away from water retention and facial puffiness.


Now that we’ve shared pre-flight skin prep, during the flight, your skincare routine should be focused on combating the stress caused by high altitudes and drier air. This is when your favourite sheet mask will come in handy, specifically, biocellulose masks to convey both nutrition and hydration. These products have the best chance of pushing nourishing ingredients into your skin versus paper or fibre sheet masks, which are susceptible to being dried out due to the dry air in a plane.

As for the rest of your skincare routine, pack along serums and moisturisers that contain humectants like hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate and sodium PCA as well as emollients like shea butter and squalene. These products will act like a magnet that will draw water from the air and seal it into the skin. Layering on products with these ingredients will ensure your skin maintains hydration throughout the flight.

Then, you should also consider your location, which could effect your skin. While a window seat would purvey a stunning view, booking an aisle seat allows you stand up every so often and stretch your legs. Especially in a long-haul flight, moving around or wearing compression socks will help promote blood circulation and stave off puffiness. Also, if you’re going somewhere important immediately after landing, avoid consuming alcohol while in-flight, as this can also cause puffiness.


The post-flight skincare regimen is simple and should revolve around two things — warding off breakouts and reintroducing any lost moisture back into the skin. How do you do this? The first step is washing your face of all the recirculated air and trapped microbes that built up on your skin along the flight. It’s always a good idea to immediately cleanse your skin even if you can only manage a face wipe, after disembarking to help prevent breakouts. If you have acne-prone skin or you find that air travel triggers breakouts, pack a face cleanser that contains salicylic acid in your carry-on so that you can cleanse right after landing.

Nothing sounds more appealing than a hot shower after a long flight. However, hot showers can further strip your skin after a flight, so opt for lukewarm water instead and be sure to lather on the moisturiser on both your face and body) once you get out. Hydrating ingredients to look for in your products include shea butter, cocoa butter, hyaluronic acid and glycerin.

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