We all missed it, the frantic midnight repack, arriving an hour earlier than check-in time. In the era of Covid, traveling has been something of a distant cloudy memory, but the time is near to open the window blind and take in the views as the borders are open and we are ready to climb into this plane. That said, it might be time to remember what air travel can do to our skin. It may have been a while, but we haven’t forgotten the recirculated air, UV rays and high altitude and the harmful effects this creates after a few hours in the air. Fortunately, dry, uneven and sensitive skin will be a thing of the past with just a few handy tips to keep in mind before you check in your luggage. Below, we’ve put together the necessary checklist for your best in-flight skincare regimen.
Pre-flight skin care
We know that for any long-haul flight, the idea of wearing full makeup isn’t ideal. In a world that now demands masks for any flight, the thought of clogging our pores with an extra product is simply something we don’t need. Before coming to the airport, your face should be double-cleansed with a mild facial cleanser. For best results, try a soothing cleansing balm like Alpha-H Melting Moment Cleansing Balm. This will help maintain the skin’s moisture and hydration levels whilst removing all dirt and makeup, follow up with a good light foaming cleanser for a deep cleanse.
The second step, and arguably the most important, is pre-flight skin care. Often when we’re on an airplane, we don’t stop to think about the sun and its effects. If you plan on flying all day, an SPF is still just as vital as UV rays can still reach us. In fact, studies have shown that radiation levels are twice as high as they would be at ground level. Although getting a sunburn is unlikely, wearing a light SPF 30 on your face, neck and shoulders can prevent any damage from UVA rays that transmit through flat glass. We love Ultra Violette Clean Screen SPF 30 for lightweight protection that won’t clog skin in the long run. Follow with a lightweight lip balm like Bobbi Brown SPF 15 for extra protection of lips and even hands.
In-flight skin care
Along with sun care, hydration is of paramount importance during a long-distance flight. With the altitude and recirculated air over such long distances, we have to do double duty here. As we know, every hour we know we should swallow half a liter of water, the same should be said for our skin. Start with a layer of a hydrating serum like The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid, followed by a deeply penetrating mask like Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask. Wrap it in the skin and sit back with your Silk Slip sleep mask for a few essential hours of restful sleep while you wait for your arrival at your destination. Sheet masks more your jam? Opt for Bio Cellulose [cloth] Masks, like the Medik8 Recovery Mask, are most effective when it comes to retaining moisture in the skin and keeping environmental pollutants out.
When it comes to moisturizers, look for those that contain emollients, like squalane. These properties will attract moisture from the environment and seal it into the skin. Then you can’t go past Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer, which contains the latter and is infused with both ceramides and antioxidants. It’s also available in a handy travel size, perfect for your carry-on when you can’t think of a slew of heavy, bulky products.
Skin care after the flight
The post-flight skin routine should take into account two things, the first is to rehydrate the skin and then to ward off any stressors. After a long period of flying bacteria and congestion can wreak havoc on the skin, it is important to balance this out as soon as possible. Once off the flight, look for a quick cleanse, failing that, a quick swipe of a makeup wipe to get rid of any residual dirt or bacteria. When you arrive at your destination, take a shower but avoid using hot water as this can further dry out the skin. Try taking a lukewarm or even cool shower to try to reset the biological clock.
Depending on the weather at your destination, it will be important to pay attention to environmental factors and keep this in mind as you go about your usual daily routine.
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Images: @bellahadid, @emrata