Look Fresh after the Flight — 6 Skin-Saving Strategies
Look Fresh after the Flight — 6 Skin-Saving Strategies
You don’t need a doctor to tell you that air travel stresses your body — especially your skin! Even on the best and shortest of flights, it’s normal to arrive looking and feeling a bit stale. After all, you’ve been deprived of oxygen, exposed to intense UV rays, and subjected to pressurized, recirculated air so dry that it sucks moisture out of your skin. On the worst long-haul flights, you can arrive looking haggard and zombiesque, after landing delays, screaming babies and someone kicking your seat back through five time zones.
Before you book a cruise instead, there’s plenty you can do to arrive from a flight looking and feeling good. Here’s your ticket to fresher looking skin on arrival — with face-saving tips from sleep to nuts.
#1 – Hydrate your face
Your skin is happiest in air with 40 to 70 percent humidity. Flight cabin air reaches only about 20 percent. Compare that to the Sahara Desert’s average humidity of 25 percent!
Yes, during air travel, your skin gets very, very thirsty. You no doubt already understand the importance of drinking as much water as you comfortably can. It works from the inside out to keep your skin from becoming parched on a flight.*
You can also help your skin stay supple from the outside in. Start before you even reach the airport, by booking a nourishing aesthetic treatment before your trip. Go for a hydrating mask to infuse your skin with moisture and protective vitamins and other nutrients. You can further bolster your skin’s ability to withstand free radicals and dryness in flight by combining the mask with DermaSweep microdermabrasion or traditional microdermabrasion to enhance absorption.*
On the flight, bring a rich face cream in a TSA-approved size (3.4 oz or less). Choose a product that provides skin-quenching and fortifying ingredients like squalene, hyaluronic acid, resveratrol, and vitamins C, E and A (retinol). At the same time, make sure it contains sufficient ceramides to help prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Don’t forget the delicate skin around your eyes and on your neck!*
If you want to go for intense hydration, try out the recent trend of applying an-inflight facial mask. Not willing to endure the curious stares? Go a less conspicuous route by just slathering on an über thick coat of moisturizer. Whether you choose mask or extreme face cream, rather than washing the residue off, dab off the excess using a tissue or moisturizing face wipe.*
Toss some nutritious snacks into your carry on, and not just because airline food is notoriously meh. Travel can be tough on digestion, which shows in your complexion. Pack your carry on bag with foods like fresh fruit and veggies, minimally processed nutrition bars, and trail mix (especially with walnuts!). They can help you avoid intestinal distress while also delivering nutrients your skin will love, such as free-radical fighting vitamins and nourishing omegas. Some travelers swear by probiotic supplements too.*
Wait, sunscreen, on a plane?? That’s right. The sun is much stronger at the average cruising altitude of 35,000 feet — which is 6000 feet higher than the top of Mount Everest! Yet, airplane windows offer no protection from UVA rays, which contribute to skin aging and cancer.*
If you’re taking a day flight, bring a moisturizer with 30+ SPF. Make sure it provides broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB light. A product that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide — alone, together or with other active SPF ingredients — should provide the most complete and effective protection.*
Remember to safeguard the skin on your lips too. Find a 30+ SPF product that, ideally, also plumps and softens the skin.*
#4 – Stay balanced and clear
We all know that flying can dry out skin. But did you know that, if you have oily, combination or breakout-prone skin, the dry cabin air can actually shift oil production into overdrive? You can reduce the chance of triggering extra greasiness and pimples by diligently applying lightweight, breathable products throughout the flight.*
Smooth a quenching, antioxidant serum liberally over your skin, along with a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer or sheer sunscreen. Reapply every hour or as needed to prevent moisture loss and help keep skin calm.*
Another way to avoid making your skin irritable is to leave it makeup free until you’re preparing to land.*
#5 – Dream up better skin
It takes special talent to get quality sleep on a plane. If you’re able to pull it off, an inflight nap can do wonders to minimize the toll air travel takes. When you pass through a full sleep cycle, it nourishes skin with fresh blood, flushes toxins, resets pH and keeps the stress hormone, cortisol, from ravaging your skin.*
Get as much sleep as you can during the flight. Obviously it’s challenging, but pop in some earplugs or noise-canceling headphones and relax yourself with meditation audio, aromatherapy… whatever works for you. A neck pillow and eye mask can help.*
It may be tempting to order a cocktail to help bring on those zzz’s, but alcohol will only make skin dehydration worse. It will also degrade your sleep quality so you don’t see the full benefits.*
#6 – Look alive on landing
A major reason that skin looks so lackluster upon touchdown is oxygen deprivation. Air inside the cabin simulates the atmosphere at an elevation of 6000 to 8000 feet – low in pressure and oxygen poor. Your lungs have to work a lot harder to get enough oxygen. At the same time, you’re sitting still for a long period of time, which keeps you from breathing deeply and significantly retards circulation of fresh blood to the skin. Low oxygen plus slow circulation equals dead-looking skin.*
Bring life to your skin by stimulating better blood flow. Give yourself a facial massage as you apply and reapply skin products. Try an enlivening, brightening serum or a retinol treatment for cellular turnover and renewal. Just before landing, treat skin to a final pick-me-up by gently cleansing with a facial scrub, then rinse using drinking water.*
Makeup is an excellent final step to help distressed skin look more vivacious. Even out your skin tone with an emollient foundation or a tinted BB cream with SPF. Then give your cheeks a healthy flush with blush. Top off the look with a bright lipstick or gloss. The pop of color not only brings fun and vibrance, but also helps distract from any skin troubles.*
The right combination of practices, skin products and makeup can help you arrive looking radiant and ready for whatever awaits you beyond the plane.*
* Results may vary and are not guaranteed.