Ever since I was a child, I loved to make people feel and look beautiful.

Dreaded Airplane Skin! (& How to Prevent It!)

‘Tis the season of traveling! Or anymore, we always seem to be traveling, so maybe there isn’t a real season. But nonetheless, airplane travel is becoming more and more popular for many of us. But with more frequent air travels comes some pretty discerning skin ailments & dryness & we’re here to help you combat it.

Cheeky was scouring the earth this weekend to see what topics are trending in the skincare realm & beyond! One topic we kept seeing pop up was air travel & general travel and how hard it can be on our bods this time of year. With the general stress of the hustle & bustle, then throw in traveling, it can wreck havoc on not only our body (and mind), but our skin more specifically! Who here is traveling for the holidays? Whoop, whoop! Sure hope you’re going somewhere exciting! And don’t you worry, if you continue reading this blog we can help your skin look even more beautiful when you arrive.

Though I’ve gotten remarkably better, I really don’t prefer to spend my time in a plane…. I used to hold strangers hands during takeoff or cradle their arm (or thigh, whatever…..) should god forbid we hit turbulence, but I’ve gotten much better, praise Jesus. But I am very in tune with myself when I travel & very regimented- like hyper-focused & I have to do the same things each time I fly. For one, I don’t drink water most of the day when I’m traveling because I would rather poop in my pants or have a bat fly into my head than have to use the plane’s lavatory. I also don’t wear face makeup the day of travel because every time I’ve ever done that, I wake up the next day with a big old zit. And those are just two quick examples that relate to skincare cause that’s why you’re here, but I promise you, I do a lot stranger things…I must be the one to lock the front doorI must shout out a quick note to whomever is listening for ‘safe travels’ in the car right when we get in, I must drive myself to the airport, I must arrive 1.5 hours early, I must sit in the terminal seat facing the gate, I must be seated in a window seat, the list goes on…. So anyways, now that we are all realizing I’m a psychopath who should be in a straight jacket rather than a life vest, my point is that I am hyper aware of how myself (unfortunately) and how my skin acts when I travel – so predictable ;-). Have you noticed the way your skin reacts? Do you feel dry and itchy? Do you notice you’re drawn looking after a long flight? Oh and if you have any really weird traveling routines you’d like to share so that I feel more normal, please do! I beg you….

Anyways, it’s time to take a look at what really goes on with our skin during air travel & what we can do to combat it!

I found this test by Renée Rouleau to be SO fascinating! Just check it out! Here’s how it was performed:

Test #1: Airplane air at 32,000 feet

While on a recent flight, after reaching 32,000 feet, she filled a bottle cap with water and poured it onto a cotton t-shirt and recorded the start time. She watched and recorded the time until the spot virtually disappeared.

Test results

The water spot disappeared in 57 minutes.

Test #2: Air in Austin, Texas home on a 35° December day

She repeated the same exact steps (using the same amount of water) as in the airplane but now in her house

Test results

The water disappeared in 2 hours, 17 minutes.

But what did the test conclude?

Water evaporation occurs 2.4 times faster in an airplane than on land.

When the air is dry and moisture is not around, it looks for moisture wherever it can get it. Our skin holds water within its cells, it is then drawn out through a process called osmosis. Most likely, dry skin individuals will feel drier long after you’ve landed and oily skin folks will actually get oilier. So basically nobody wins! Regardless of your skin type, airplane air creates an imbalance for your skin when you land. Usually, within a day or so, the skin will correct itself but there are some things you can do to prevent dreaded airplane skin.

During Flight 

Tip #1 Drink plenty of water

So I probably will never mentally be able to do this, but water is our friend on travel days. I know it, yet I’m a wuss when it comes to air travel. So don’t be like me and drink LOTS of water. It’s not that water so much as hydrates the skin but it will help with water retention – you won’t land looking all puffy like I do.

Tip #2 Wear sunscreen (and apply often)

I get so anxious thinking about pilots and flight attendants skin! With all their traveling, they MUST keep up with their SPF’s. I mean the glare in the airplane has me shook. So wear sunscreen with zinc, at least 30+ SPF and apply frequently.

Tip #3 Choose a window seat

So because I’m crazy, I MUST be in a window seat so I can look out the window if I need to. But this tip is actually so you can control the window shade. You want to be in charge of blocking out as much damaging UV rays as ya can. When you’re 30,000 feet up in the air, you’re getting major UV exposure. You get even more when you’re flying over clouds, as these reflect the sun’s rays, which increases their power.

Tip #4 Avoid misting

Since water attracts water, when you spray your face with one of those Evian misters for example, it takes water from the layers in the skin and it all gets evaporated into the dry ass air in the plane. So you’re actually gonna end up with drier skin than what you started with.

Tip #5 Consider a mask

I have yet to do this during a flight because I look like enough of a train wreck as it is, but I would absolutely encourage you to slap on a hydrating mask and leave it on for as long as possible – i.e. before it dries out in 57 minutes 😉 But just leave it in for 15 to 20 minutes and that should give your skin a much needed boost.

Tip #6 Add an oil

Now this one I definitely do! And I start out my first application the morning of travel. Adding a hydrating oil to your clean skin every hour or so will help your skin be dewey and moisturized.

Post Flight

Tip #1 Wash yo face

This is a big one for me. I usually cannot WAIT to brush my teeth and wash my face after a long day of travel. Because, let’s get serious, traveling out of Tucson is never easy (there are 7 direct flights I feel like….) Throw in a bath and I’m back to my usual perky, neurotic self. I recommend washing your face as soon as you’re able. Just to get the grime and filth off! I can think of nothing worse. Not being clean after travel and bachelorette parties give me anxiety.

Tip #2 Do a mini facial

This is also another life saver (dramatic) for me. Before dinner that evening, I will perform a good old mini facial with a great exfoliator and mask afterwards to really get my skin into tip top shape. I recommend doing this after a bath or shower when your pores are ‘open’ and you can get the best bang for your buck.

Tip # 3 Follow your usual skincare regime

So this tip is for the rest of your trip! When we were in Denver a couple weeks ago, I did a FANTASTIC job of sticking to my normal regimen. The folks we went with had mentioned their skin was extra dry (they came from Tampa) but of course Josh and I were assimilated because we live in the arid dessert, but I made sure that I kept up with my routine for this very reason. The minute I experience a change in humidity, my skin will let you know.

Tip #4 Clean your face with water from a purified water source (water bottle)

So I’ve never done this before, but I always think to do it. It’s not extremely practical but I am the least practical person on the planet so this one makes sense to me. Whenever we move cities or whenever we travel, I will immediately notice how my skin reacts to the hotel’s water. If it’s softened, dry or feels like our home’s water I can tell by way of touch, but my skin reacts to it as well. If you’re like me, consider washing your face with purified water. I think this can really help those who have sensitive skin.

Tip #5 Be gentle with that hotel towel

Another thing that I always notice is how harsh hotel towels can be. Regardless of the hotel in which we stay, the hand and body towels always seem to be a bit rough (at least rougher than the ones we have at home; I mean they are industrial in nature & are meant to last a long time). I am extra gentle on my skin when washing my face or drying my hands because anything too harsh really irritates my skin.

Seasoned travelers… don’t forget to share your favorite skincare travel tips.

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