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Skincare – Travelling by Plane

by Sinéad Gormley

This post should be helpful for those of you who are travelling by plane anytime soon, and for future air travel!

I always notice that after I fly, my skin is in a pretty horrendous state- dry, flaky and just plain (excuse the pun!) dull looking. A couple of weeks ago, I flew to Barcelona to visit a friend, and was determined to do my research on how to keep my skin in tip top condition on the plane, so that I could emerge on the other side feeling good about how I looked!

 

airplane

So, why does flying wreck havoc on our skin?

When we travel by plane, the environment is pretty much moisture-free, as the air in the cabin is recirculated air. In this situation, air will draw moisture from wherever it can, including the skin. Therefore, dry skin (like mine!) will get even more dry, and oily skin can become even more oily to compensate for the dehydration. Some people suffer from extreme symptoms like itching, flaking and redness, which can never be pleasant when travelling!

While researching this topic, I stumbled upon an interesting experiment a woman did in order to examine the dehydrating effects a plane can have on us. She poured some liquid on to a 100% cotton T-shirt on both a plane and in a hotel room, and marked the time on a sticky note with each. In both cases, she watched the T-shirt until the fabric dried and the water spot had disappeared. In the hotel room, the shirt took one hour and 27 minutes to dry, whereas on the plane journey, it only took 24 minutes.

So, needless to say, travelling by plane definitely has a dramatic effect on our skin. When I flew to Barcelona, my skin was in perfect condition when i stepped off the plane, probably for the first time ever while travelling! Here are the simple steps I followed to achieve this.

The night before

I gently exfoliated my skin and applied an oil. For exfoliation, I used a LUSH (all natural) face mask as a scrub. Afterwards, I applied some sweet almond oil all over my face and neck. The exfoliation will help to clear away dead skin cells and allow the skin to really 'drink up' the moisturising properties of the sweet almond oil.

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pic 3 bottle of sweet almond oil

Eat the right foods

Foods that are high in sugar and salt can cause dehydration to the body, and therefore to the skin. The day and hours before you fly, choose healthy food options like fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats and lots and lots of water! Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they are also dehydrating. Sip on water instead/ homemade juice or smoothies instead.

Try to go makeup free!

This was really difficult for me, as I always wear makeup in public. It's like a security blanket for me. It's not that I wear a ridiculously large amount, but I like to always have foundation and concealer. I'm sure others would barely notice if I didn't wear it, but again it's a security thing, a habit, really! But this time I decided to brave a bare face, and the difference it made to my skin while travelling was insane! Wearing makeup while travelling will, of course, dry out your skin even more. If you really feel uncomfortable with a bare face, opt for a hydrating and light BB/CC cream.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Before you board the plane, apply an intensive moisturiser to your face and neck. I found that applying a serum and then a moisturiser really saved my skin and stopped it from going dry. This Vichy serum is incredible! It contains hyaluronic acid, a powerful ingredient that helps to lock moisture into the skin. The Nivea moisturiser is a very low cost and basic one, but it's my favourite out of any moisturiser I've ever used for warding off dry skin, and it also contains jojoba oil. I also carried a face mist with me for touch ups. This would prove especially useful for longer flights.

pic 4

pic 5

SPF

It's probably not something you really think about, but wearing an SPF while travelling by plane is really important. When you think about it, you are even closer to the sun and it's damaging UV rays, which plane windows do not filter out. I always choose an SPF containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, as these provide the optimum protection from the sun's rays.

 spf sunscreen cream

Turn off the air blower above you

I absolutely hate the air blowers on planes, as I can notice my skin and eyes becoming so irritated and dry from them. Turn them off, as every little bit of moisture retention helps!

Don't wear your contact lenses

The plane is far too dry of an atmosphere to wear contact lenses. I always feel my eyes becoming very dry if I do. You run the risk of your contacts becoming dry and scratching your eyes. This time I wore my glasses and just popped my lenses in after the flight. My eyes were clear and free from the dreaded bloodshot look!

Keep your hands clean

I always carry these antibacterial wipes with me. it's good to keep your hands clean, as we all touch our faces a lot without even noticing. If you want to reapply any serum or moisturiser, be sure to have clean hands before you apply! This will prevent bacteria and dirt transferring on to your face, which of course can lead to breakouts.

packet of handy wipes

After my flight, I felt a thousand times better than I normally would on the other side of the journey. My skin was really hydrated, my eyes were clear, and I felt fresh! My makeup then sat really well on my skin when I applied it afterwards, and I was ready for a night out with some good Spanish beers and good company!

Hopefully these tips will help you to arrive fresh faced to your next holiday destination 🙂

Sinéad X

What is your experience of travelling? Share your story or leave a comment.

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The prevalence of skin disease exceeds that of obesity, hypertension, or cancer. Despite skin being the largest organ of the human body, dermatological research remains one of the most under funded areas of medicine. In a world where society has an increasing preoccupation with image and it’s importance to every aspect of a person’s life, sufferers of skin diseases are feeling and being more marginalised and isolated than ever.

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