Beauty & Style
Skin-Safety Tips for Travelers
Editor’s note: As spring heads toward summer, many of us will be traveling for vacation, and we want to arrive looking our best. Here, some must-know skin travel trips from Dr. Rebecca Baxt, a New York and New Jersey-based board-certified dermatologist.
The Plane Truth
The re-circulated air on planes is five times drier than the desert, and the lack of humidity causes loss of moisturizer. The air inside the cabin of a plane usually has a humidity level of 10 to 20 percent — much lower than a comfortable typical indoor humidity of 30 to 65 percent. As a result, your skin is desperately in need of moisture.
“Most people realize that flying can cause skin to dry out and breakout, but they may not know why,” says Baxt. “Whenever the environment is moisture-free, as it is with recirculated air in a plane cabin, the air actually draws moisture from wherever it can, including the skin. Dry skin will tend to get drier and oily skin will get even oilier to compensate for dehydration.”
Baxt recommends the following travel itinerary for your skin whether you’re taking a quick weekend getaway or going for the long haul.
Don’t Drink Alcohol on the Plane. “Alcohol is very dehydrating. While it may help to relax you if you’re nervous about flying, the effect of alcohol will be dry skin,” Baxt says. “Drink water, and read a magazine or book or bring along your iPod. Having something to distract you will help you as much, if not more, than a glass of wine. If you just can’t pass it up, drink lots of water afterward.”
Bring a Hydrating Mist for In-Flight Treatment. A hydrating mist is perfect for in flight application. Dr. Baxt recommends spraying a couple of pumps onto your face for instant hydration. It also feels great and helps cool you down if you’re on a warm airplane.
Skip the Salty Snacks. Airplane food isn’t very skin-friendly. “While peanuts and pretzels may look delicious, salt can cause swelling,” Baxt warns. “Instead, snack on fruits and vegetables like carrots and apples, which are filled with water.”
It’s Time to Takeoff…Your Makeup! If you wear makeup, keep it to a minimum on the flight. “Airplane air is dry and can exacerbate your makeup’s drying-out effects on your skin can which can lead to breakouts and your pores becoming clogged on the flight,” says Baxt. “Opt for tinted moisturizer if you cannot bear not having any makeup on; and use lip balm in lieu of lipstick. Because the cabin air is dry, lips tends to feel a little dryer while on the flight.”
De-Puff Eyes. Jet lag always shows through your skin but mostly in the eyes. Lack of sleep due to possible time changes can have you looking sleepy and puffy. Don’t forget to stash an eye cream that contains caffeine for that quick “pick-me-up” if needed. Another option? “Carry green tea bags with you on the plane,” says Baxt. “A half hour before landing, ask the flight attendant for hot water and soak a few minutes. Add ice to cool down the bags, and apply cool green tea bags to your eyelids before landing. The green tea has antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to decrease puffiness so you’ll look your best when you land.”
Your Travel Beauty Bag: What to Pack
With the ever-changing airline baggage regulations and costly baggage fees, it’s important to have a checklist of the essential skincare products you need when traveling. “If you’re headed on a trip, you can’t bring every makeup, skincare and hair care product from your bathroom,” says Baxt. “Plan ahead and pack smart when traveling.”
Pick and pack skin products based on the climate of your destination. “When going to a warm, humid destination, pay extra attention to exfoliation in order to reduce the dead skin cells trapped by excess moisture, and pack a cleanser with salicylic acid,” Baxt says. And wherever you’re going, remember one last tip: sunscreen should be the first thing you throw in your bag.
Be Wary of Hotel Beauty Products. People often break out when they’re on vacation, because hotel products are typically made for people with normal to dry skin. In lieu of using hotel toiletries while traveling, consider packing a few key essentials in your travel beauty bag. “Hotel soaps can be very drying and overly scented,” warns Dr. Baxt. “Beware if you have sensitive skin and remember to bring your own toiletries.”