9 Beauty Tricks to Care for Your Skin on an Airplane

Updated: Apr. 24, 2017

The arid environment of an airplane can make skin look dry and tired. Try these tips to feel fresh by the time you land!

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Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

The air inside of an airplane is pressurized and recycled, and humidity is incredibly low. This can have negative drying effects on your skin. To counteract dry conditions, start hydrating before you even get to the airport. Try to drink an 8-ounce glass of water before you get on the flight, and continue to guzzle water throughout.

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Pack facial cleansing cloths in your carry-on

Particularly if you’re on an overnight flight, make sure to cleanse your skin before sleeping. Flying increases your exposure to bacteria on surfaces like the seat, tray tables, and even magazines; clean off germs and makeup to avoid clogged pores. Don’t use a cleanser with harsh drying ingredients. Instead, if you’re planning on taking a red-eye, cleanse your skin with a mild cleansing facial cloth before you fall asleep to avoid acne and other skin reactions. These are the nighttime routines of people with great skin.

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Pack a travel-size moisturizer

Because airplane conditions have such low humidity, it’s especially important to moisturize after your cleanse. Apply a hydrating moisturizer mid-flight (even if you have oily skin!). Dry air can cause skin to over-produce oil, which often causes acne breakouts. Try keeping your skin moisturized with a product that contains vitamin E throughout the flight to help solve this problem.

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Don’t forget sunscreen

Unfortunately, airplane windows don’t protect against harmful UV rays. While at high altitudes, and especially in the window seat, you’re vulnerable to sun damage. One study found that pilots have up to 25 times the normal rate of skin cancer. Bring a travel-sized sunscreen and make sure to reapply if you’re on a long flight.

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BYOP (bring your own products)

Bring products that you know won’t irritate your skin. Buy empty, travel-sized containers and decant your favorite items, to ensure your skin is happy no matter where in the world you are.

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Mist with hydrating spray

Besides moisturizer, hydrating spray is another great way to keep your skin moisturized on long trips. Try packing a travel-sized Evian spray or rose-water spray to mist your skin throughout the flight.

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Avoid touching your face

The average person touches their face about 18 times an hour. Given the amount of bacteria that live on the surfaces of planes, make sure not to touch your face unless you have freshly cleaned hands. Bring hand sanitizer and keep your hands away from your face to protect your complexion (and safeguard your immunity).

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Eat well

It can be tempting to succumb to unhealthy food at the airport—it’s quick and easy. But foods high in fat and sodium can be dehydrating to your body and cause inflammation of the skin. Try packing high-nutrient foods such as apples, plums, and raisins, which have properties known to combat radiation exposure and are low in salt and fat. These are some of the healthiest fruits you can eat.

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Don’t forget hand cream and lip balm

Your face isn’t the only thing that needs extra attention on a long flight. Make sure to pack a moisturizing hand cream as well as a lip balm to avoid uncomfortable cracked skin.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest