Protect Your Skin on the Plane with These Pre- and Post-Flight Tricks

Suitcase? Check! Boarding pass? Check! Amazing destination? Check! Glowing skin when you get off the plane? Err, no? 

If you think this is impossible and you’re destined to land with dry skin and breakouts, think again! By following just a few easy tricks before and after your flight, you can have clear, bright skin from day one of your vacation. 

Before You Board 

The goal of a pre-flight skincare routine is to hydrate your skin as much as possible before boarding, because the air is very dry inside the plane.

  • Drink plenty of water. Drinking enough water throughout the day is one of the best ways to keep your skin (and body!) hydrated. You might find that filling up a reusable water bottle is an easy way to keep track of how much you’re drinking each day. Hot tip: take an empty reusable bottle through security, then fill it up once you’re through to avoid sky-high prices for bottled water in the airport.
  • Use a hydrating mask the night before. Hydrating face masks can give your skin an almost instant boost of hydration, though their effects are not usually very long-lasting. But this extra moisture should help your skin to stay hydrated during your flight, despite the dry air. Some of the best ingredients to look for in a hydrating mask include hyaluronic acid, glycerine, aloe, and ceramides. 
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. In addition to trying a hydrating face mask the night before, make sure you apply your regular moisturizer before your flight. You might even consider using a heavier moisturizing cream if your skin tends toward the dry side. If you’re on a long flight and your skin starts to feel dry or itchy, reapply on-flight as needed. Just make sure you pack a travel-sized container. 
  • Apply a hydrating eye cream. The thin, delicate skin under your eyes is extra-susceptible to dryness and puffiness on a plane, so the morning of your flight is a great time to make use of your favorite hydrating eye cream. This product can double as an extra barrier between your skin and the dry, not-so-clean cabin air. 

After Landing 

Let’s face it: the recirculated air inside a plane isn’t exactly germ-free. So the main goal of your post-flight skincare routine is to get rid of any dirt and bacteria that might have accumulated on your skin during your flight (yuck!). Once your skin is fresh and clean, then you can use a few other tips and tricks to get your glow on directly after landing. 

  • Wash your face. As soon as possible after getting off the plane, double-cleanse your face with your regular face wash. If your skin is already used to hydroxy acids, you can use a glycolic acid cleanser as step two of your post-flight face wash to exfoliate away dead skin cells, dirt, and makeup. 
    • Apply acne spot treatments. Are you in a constant battle with breakouts after a long flight? Bring along a salicylic acid spot treatment to use after cleansing. Or, use a salicylic acid cleanser to clear your pores and keep pimples at bay.
  • Use a cold compress to reduce puffiness. A clean washcloth or towel rinsed under cool water can work as a cold compress under your eyes in a pinch to reduce puffiness. You can also apply an eye cream that contains caffeine to help get rid of under-eye bags after a flight.
  • Apply sunscreen before heading out. Don’t forget to stick SPF in your carry-on bag so you can apply it before heading out of the airport — especially if you’ve just landed in a sunny paradise! 

Bonus Skincare Travel Tips 

Just a few last tips to keep in mind to have gorgeous, healthy-looking skin while traveling:

  • Pull your hair back during your flight. Keeping your hair off of your face during a long flight can help to prevent breakouts. Not only can long hair trap dirt and oil on your skin, but it can also cause redness and irritation if you use hair care products with common ingredients known to dry or irritate the skin. 
  • Don’t try new products while traveling. Your skin is already stressed enough when traveling, so don’t risk breaking out or flushing red by trying a brand-new product while you’re away. Your tried and true skincare routine is your best bet until you get home.
  • Avoid hotel skincare products if possible. Not only are those hotel sample products not customized to meet your skin’s specific needs, but they usually contain harsh ingredients that can easily cause dryness and/or breakouts. Instead, pack your own products in travel-sized containers — bringing the necessities like a cleanser, moisturizer, and one or two treatment products and leaving the rest of your beauty cabinet behind.