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If you have ever hopped on a plane, only to arrive at your destination country feeling dry as a raisin, you’ve experienced firsthand the effects of air travel on the skin.

The unfortunate reality is that the conditions in an aeroplane cabin can be brutal on your skin and even your entire body. Not only is the air incredibly dry when you’re at 35,000 feet above sea level, but it’s also full of germs and the sun is stronger at a higher altitude. 

To combat the effects of air travel on our skin, we often focus on taking care of our skin during the flight but what about after we arrive at our destination?

If you’re planning for a long-haul flight via any of the Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) in the coming months, you’d want to keep reading as Daily Vanity gives you the scoop on everything you need to know to take better care of your skin after your flight. 

How does flying impact the skin?

effects of air travel on skin photo source alevision co unsplash

Photo source: Alevision Co/Unsplash

The humidity level in planes is significantly lower than what our skin is most comfortable with, and this lower humidity level may leave skin feeling dry or even oily, as the skin can produce more oil to compensate for the dryness.

The lower air pressure and higher altitude reduce the amount of oxygen your blood carries, and this lower oxygen flow causes the skin to appear dull and lacklustre. You can also experience water retention when sitting for prolonged periods of time, and this may make you appear puffier, especially under the eyes.

That doesn’t mean you have to deal with parched skin and puffiness throughout your vacation – here are some tips that will help!

How should you take care of your skin after a flight?

Wash your face after you get off the plane

wash face after getting off plane photo source ron lach pexels

Photo source: Ron Lach/Pexels

After you get off a flight, thoroughly wash your face with a soap-free hydrating cleanser to remove any dirt or oil from the aeroplane.

Micellar water-based cleansers are a great alternative too, since they are fuss-free, work fast, and leave the skin fresh.

In addition, bring with you a salicylic acid spot treatment to keep skin inflammation at bay as it can promote acne breakouts in some people.

Then, apply a moisturiser to help replenish dry skin and repair any damage to the skin barrier.

If puffiness around the eyes is an issue, try a combination of a caffeine-containing eye cream and a cold compress.

DV recommends: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Softening Foaming Gel (S$33.90 from Watsons), Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel (S$135 from Sephora), and Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex (S$120 from Sephora)

Keep your lips hydrated 

keep lips hydrated photo source angela roma pexels

Photo source: Angela Roma/Pexels

It’s easy to overlook your lips when you’re in the midst of a long travel day but it can dry out the lips as much as the skin, so it’s extra important to keep the lips well hydrated.

A scent-free, tint-free ointment like Vaseline Petroleum Jelly (S$2.50 from Watsons) will do the trick to seal in moisture.

Stick to your regular skincare routine

stick to regular skincare routine photo source andrea piacquadio pexels

Photo source: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

If you know your skincare routine works, you should stick with it, even when travelling.

That way, you won’t be asking your skin to adjust to all-new products on top of the other stressors associated with travel. 

Many brands now offer mini sizes of their skincare products, so be sure to seek out sample-size versions of your essentials – this should include a cleanser, moisturiser, sunscreen as well as an antioxidant serum. 

Leave the new samples at home

This is something that even the DV team is guilty of and we’re sorry to burst your bubbles, folks – but vacations are simply not the time to try new products, so leave the newly acquired samples at home!

Otherwise, you risk a possible negative reaction, which nobody wants to deal with while abroad.

As mentioned above, follow your regular skincare regimen with either travel sizes of your regular products or take the time to fill travel-sized containers.

Prepare for acne breakouts

Even if you follow all the advice above, there’s still a chance your skin will act up while you’re away.

That’s because your skin may react to environmental stress as well as different water pH and hardness, so you’ll want to carry along a small tube of benzoyl peroxide (just 10% concentration will d0) to be prepared to treat breakouts.

Treat yourself to a post-flight soak

get a post flight bath soak photo source monstera pexels

Photo source: Monstera/Pexels

Salt has a deep-cleaning effect, even working its way into the skin’s pores, so add some to a post-flight bath.

Any citrus-scented bath salt will work as it will revive jet-lagged senses and stimulate a weary, worn-out mind and body without fail.

At night, you’d do well by opting for something relaxing like a shower oil to calm a wired but tired jet-lagged mind.

DV recommends: L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil (S$39 for 250ml from L’Occitane).