Hannah Hartz is a Chicago-based esthetician with 7 years experience. She currently works at CaTara Med Spa. Here, Hartz explains why we should focus on skincare when taking flight.
You’ve been waiting months for this moment and it’s finally here! We’re talking vacation. It’s time to get out of this dreary, cold weather, take a break from work, get some major relaxation in, and come home looking and feeling vibrant and refreshed. So, why is it that we sometimes come back home looking a little worn? We’re supposed to return home by being greeted by friends who can’t help but say, “You look amazing. What’s your secret?” But instead, we return home looking like we need to spend about five more days in bed. What’s the deal?
Why Our Skin Suffers So Much When We Travel
There are actually a few reasons for this. Let’s look at the conditions of the airplane itself. The cabin is climate controlled, typically set at a humidity level of around 15% (compared to regular indoor levels of around 40-50%). To your skin, that’s like spending the day hanging out in the desert.
Airplanes also have much lower oxygen levels, which affects how much oxygenated blood will reach your skin, especially if you’re sitting the whole flight and not getting a whole lot of circulation from movement. Like the low humidity, this is also going to leave you with drier, duller skin that’s more susceptible to irritation, inflammation, and potential acne-causing bacteria.
On top of all those fun issues, don’t forget that if you’re traveling during the day, you’re still being directly exposed to damaging UV rays, and you’re even closer to them than when you’re on the ground!
Another factor to consider is that even if you follow the best at-home skincare routine, travel makes it hard to bring all your products with you. That’s a lot of damage points racking up. And imagine how much more damaging for those who travel frequently for work, and not just for a fun trip here and there.
How to Save Your Skin When Flying
Luckily, there’s some pretty easy fixes for you. When you pack for your trip, stop by the store and pick up travel-size containers so you can bring your favorite products with you. Keep these on hand and refill them for all your subsequent trips so that you’re always prepared.
To combat the in-flight conditions, consider a sheet mask. Will you look kind of bonkers? Probably. But will you give your skin a potent hydrating boost mid-flight that doesn’t requiring rinsing in the airplane bathroom? Totally! Also, consider a flight-sized spritzer bottle with a hydrating mist to apply through the trip for extra nutrients and hydration.
Don’t forget to apply an extra moisturizing SPF before and during the flight if you are flying during the day and to drink tons of water. Hate getting up 10+ times to pee mid-flight? Don’t worry, it’s good for your circulation.