More often than not, you’ll step off the plane to discover rather dry and dull skin, and you’re not alone – it’s unfortunately just one of the many effects that a flight has on our bodies. The good news, however, is that you can work around it. Savoir Flair turned to Rebecca Treston, Founder and Manager of Rebecca Treston Aesthetics at Euromed Clinic Dubai, to find out what really happens to our skin in-flight.
“Pressurized cabins have low levels of humidity and are very dry places to be in for any length of time,” Treston explains. “Research suggests that humidity should be between 30 and 64 percent for humans to be comfortable. But it can drop down to two percent in an aircraft, and the natural moisture in your skin quickly evaporates! This means that your face, hands, and other extremities will start to feel dry and look parched. And if you get stressed while traveling, your skin can suffer even more. Stress produces cortisol, a hormone that impacts the skin’s ability to function as a barrier and contributes to redness, blotchiness, and breakouts.”
Scroll down for Treston’s top tips on how to pamper your skin on the plane, and discover Savoir Flair’s favorite skin-saving products to pack pre-flight.
Even though you might not like it, the best way to fly is barefaced. This is because the air on a plane is already very drying, so it’s best to allow your skin some time to breathe. If you can’t bear to step outside without makeup on, be sure to remove it with some skincare wipes once onboard.
After you’ve made sure your face is makeup free, apply a quality moisturizer like the ‘Hyal Ceutic’ by Dermaceutic. It’s an intensely moisturizing cream that contains essential nutrients and hyaluronic acid to help keep skin hydrated for hours on end.
Drink Lots of Water
While your moisturizer is hydrating your face, don’t forget that good skin comes from the inside out, so be sure to drink plenty of water to ensure you stay well hydrated during your flight.
Avoid Caffeine and Adult Beverages
Though they may be freely on offer throughout your flight, don’t be tempted as both are really dehydrating! Stick to water instead – your face will definitely thank you for it. If you absolutely have to indulge in either of the two, be sure to mitigate the effects by drinking plenty of water too.
Give Your Eyes Some TLC
Gently dab a rich eye cream underneath your eyes. This is the only part of the face that doesn’t create moisture, so the eye contour region can get very dry on a plane. If you’re on a long flight and unconcerned about looking a little silly, try some moisturizing and soothing eye patches. If you don’t have those handy, applying anything cold, such as ice or a can of soda, to the under-eye area works to reduce swelling or puffiness.
Mask Your Fatigue
If you don’t feel comfortable slathering your face with green goo at an altitude of 40,000 feet, there’s an entire range of “sleeping” face masks that go on translucent and are specially formulated to hydrate for hours. If you don’t want to splurge on one, ask for a tiny sample at a beauty counter — it will be the perfect amount and won’t break cabin baggage rules!
Get Some Sleep
While you’re waiting at your gate, calculate the best time to get some sleep and how much you need in an effort to ward off jet lag. Not only will this help you feel more alert and remarkably less zombie-like upon landing, but you’ll also look better. Invest in a good neck pillow and eye mask to make sleep as restorative as possible.
Embrace the Mist
Once you have woken up and have had the chance to stretch, wipe down your face again with a refreshing facial mist. Misting your skin with something gentle and non-irritating, such as the classic Evian ‘Facial Spray’, will refresh your face from the stale air and add more hydration.
Use a Facial Oil
Should you find yourself all bright eyed and bushy tailed with another five hours to go, skip another mask in favor of a layer of face oil. Don’t be scared to slather yourself with it, regardless of your skin type. Face oils work to add more moisture back into your skin, rebalancing its modes of oil production and making you look less slick. With clean hands (you can use the face wipes you packed to remove your makeup at the start of the flight), apply a liberal helping of oil, concentrating on your cheeks, forehead, and chin. Make sure that you gently massage it into your skin.
Invest in a Lip Balm
Be sure to pack a rich and nourishing lip balm as lips quickly get chapped in the drying atmosphere. This will be their salvation.
Keep It Going
Before arriving at your destination, reapply your makeup or simply slather on a high-factor SPF with UVA and UVB protection for daytime. As you disembark, wear a hat and sunglasses, and continue practicing great skincare. In really hot climates, you might want to apply a hydrating mask in the evenings to replenish moisture lost during the day and replace your usual moisturizer with a lightweight serum. In the event that your skin does get burnt on holiday, make sure you apply some aloe vera gel or lotion to the affected areas.