While hopping on an airplane to far-flung places long may stimulate the mind and illuminate the soul, it can suck the life out of your skin in no time.
Our own resident travel expert, renowned dermatologist and SKINFIVE founder Ava Shamban, M.D. travels so much – presenting at conferences and doing research around the world – that she’s had to get supplementary pages for her passport. So she knows a thing or two about the effects of long-distance travel on the complexion.
“In most planes, the altitude is about 7000 feet,” she notes. “This means the air inside the plane is significantly dryer than it in on the ground which will deplete the moisture out of your skin. And even if you’ve got naturally oily skin, this can be a real problem because dehydrated skin is prone to cracking, fissuring and infection.”
Here’s what Dr. Shamban does for her own skin when she flies:
- Layer up before you board – Cover your face, neck and chest with an antioxidant serum and If you’re really dedicated, add on moisturizing eye cream as well.
- Slather on the sun protection – The UV light coming in through an airplane is even more virulent because it’s not filtered through a lot of the earth’s atmosphere. If you’re flying by day at a window seat, apply at least an SPF30 to whatever parts of your face, neck, chest and hands are exposed.
- Protect your lips – Apply and reapply an SPF lip balm as often as you like.
- Don’t forget your hands – Using anti-bacterial gel on your hands before and during your flight is always a good idea. Using anti-bacterial wipes on your tray table and in the bathroom makes good solid sense. But these can really parch the skin on your hands so apply an emollient had cream before boarding and every 2 hours in the air.
- Hydrate from the inside – Drink at least 8 oz. water per every hour of the flight. The downside is that you’ll have to trot off to the bathroom a few times but it’s good for your body to get moving a little anyway. When it comes to water, though, do not I repeat do NOT drink the tap water on the plane (or coffee, tea or ice made with that water); buy bottled water instead. Why? Two words . . . fecal contamination and other unsavory beasties.
On the ground
Once you’ve reached your destination and are settled in, apply a single use sheet mask containing hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.