How to Be a Person Who *Doesn’t* Have a Skin Crisis When Traveling

·3-min read
Photo credit: JOHANNA GOODMAN
Photo credit: JOHANNA GOODMAN


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Photo credit: JOHANNA GOODMAN
Photo credit: JOHANNA GOODMAN

No, it’s not just you. Traveling definitely fucks with your skin. “Any change to your typical humidity, air quality, temperature, or sun exposure levels can lead to things like dryness, redness, and acne,” says dermatologist Shari Marchbein, MD. Not to mention that skin can get super dry while on a plane and then compensate by overproducing oil, leaving your face dehydrated but somehow also breaking out.

Plus—sorry!—rushing to the airport and then, you know, navigating the airport and then landing in an unfamiliar place can be just a wee bit stressful. “And stress increases inflammation and causes the hormone cortisol to spike, which can stimulate sebaceous glands and lead to breakouts,” Dr. Marchbein says. Cortisol also gets unleashed by an erratic sleep schedule or vacation-y diet (hey, you did earn those frozen margs).

But deep breaths, friends. There’s a solution to all this madness, and it's this story. It includes what to pack, what to do if you forget something, and advice from bona fide jet setters to prevent ill-timed skin issues and get back to getting the most out of your trip.

Photo credit: JOHANNA GOODMAN
Photo credit: JOHANNA GOODMAN

What to pack to prevent (or fix) a skin freak-out

Do you really need a whole in-flight skincare routine?

Dry cabin air sucks the moisture out of your skin, and UVA light (the kind that causes premature aging or even cancer) at high altitudes puts you at risk for skin damage, says Dr. Marchbein—so, yes. Before your flight, use a cleanser, load up on moisture, and then slather on sunscreen with SPF 50 or more. And while you’re in the air, drinking lots of water (ideally eight ounces for every hour) and using hydrating face mists and sheet masks will have you deplaning like a little angel.

Photo credit: JOHANNA GOODMAN
Photo credit: JOHANNA GOODMAN

6 easy tricks for when you forget your…

  • Pimple patches: Buy Band-Aid Hydro Seal All Purpose Bandages from a drugstore, cut them up into tiny squares, and pop one on a zit. They’re made with the same hydrocolloid material as regular pimple patches.

  • Eye makeup remover: Put a bit of fragrance-free body cream on a tissue and gently run it along your lids and lash lines. The lotion’s oils will dissolve your eyeliner, mascara, and eyeshadow.

  • Acne treatment: Get some plain Greek yogurt and use it as a 15-minute face mask. It’s anti-inflammatory and full of good bacteria to calm down your skin.

  • Shaving cream: Use your hotel’s random hair conditioner instead—it’s likely made with some of the same softening ingredients.

  • Highlighter: That Vaseline you packed? Swipe a little on your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, and on your Cupid’s bow for a bit of shimmer.

  • Color corrector: Dab eye drops (like Bausch + Lomb Lumify Redness Reliever Eye Drops) on an angry breakout—the active ingredient that reduces redness in your eyes can help reduce it on and around a breakout too.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Wait! Before you go, check out this genuinely great advice from travel-savvy Cosmo readers:


Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

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