Traveling can wreak total havoc on our skin, especially in the stuffy, tight confines of an airplane. From the stale air to dehydration, it’s easy to walk off a flight looking less than fresh-faced. As we gear up for out-of-state holiday happenings, it’s important to know how to keep our skin in tip-top shape. Read on to learn about four things that happen to our faces when we fly — and what to do to fix them.
1. Dry skin becomes even drier. A nasty combo of extremely high altitude and pollutants in the recycled air (gross!) means that your complexion needs more moisture than ever. “Chronic dehydration leads to fractures in the epidermis and dermal barrier, which then leads to chaffed, irritated skin that appears red, more lined, and lackluster,” explains Los Angeles-based celebrity dermatologist Harold Lancer. Throw a hydrating facial spray into your carry-on to combat thirsty travel skin and have a nourishing moisturizer on hand when you de-plane.
2. Our skin is susceptible to new pollutants. Your skin is prone to new bacteria the moment you step onto an aircraft, so consider on-the-go cleansing methods for extra protection from pollutants and harmful elements, says New York-based dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla. “You’re exposed to various bacteria that would not otherwise come into contact with your skin,” she explains. Mariwalla recommends using Skinfix Facial Cleansing Cloths ($10) to keep your skin clean, and Lysol Disinfecting Wipes ($4) to ensure that your surroundings are bacteria-free.
3. Pre-flight protection is important. Lancer suggests applying a treatment before you board to help seal in precious moisture. It’s all about anticipating what your face will need before it starts looking lackluster and feeling tight. “Use a hydrating serum that contains sodium hyaluronate to help bind moisture,” he says. His pick? CeraVe Moisturizing Cream ($16). Proactive protection is the name of the game, people, and your post-flight complexion will thank you for the extra TLC.
4. Booze will make your skin look dull and red. Even though you might like to relax with a glass of wine after takeoff, know that alcohol consumption could make your travel face worse. “Alcohol can exacerbate dehydration, leaving skin dry, flushed, and prone to more wrinkles,” says Lancer. “Instead, ask for a seltzer with lime, and avoid the food too, since it’s full of sodium that can also leave your skin looking less-than-perfect.” If you do imbibe — which *can* be necessary during an especially taxing holiday journey — try using a treatment sheet or sleeping mask on the plane. “Pack a calming sheet mask with you to pamper yourself and look refreshed when you land,” Mariwalla recommends. “If you don’t want people staring at you, try a gel-based sleeping mask that focuses on redness relief.” You’ll land looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, no matter how stressful or sodium-filled your flight was.
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