How To Keep Up With Your Skincare On A Long Flight

If you've been on a long flight, you may have noticed some less-than-desirable changes to your skin. Planes are home to extremely low humidity levels, which causes dryness in the air, per Today. But that's not the only factor that can wreak havoc on your skin. Dermatologist Dr. Geeta Yadav told W Magazine, "When you combine the high altitude, increased UV exposure, and recirculated air of an airplane, it can be a recipe for complexion disaster." Because of these shifts, it's wise to establish a skincare routine when flying.

There are some simple steps you can take that don't involve applying products to your face. Drinking enough water will help combat dryness. Pack an airline-approved reusable bottle and fill it up after you pass through security. And stay away from excessively salty foods, as they can cause inflammation (and that dreaded jet bloat.) As far as topical care, there's plenty you can do to maintain a healthy and dewy complexion.

Hydrating products are essential

Keeping your face as clear as possible is key for a long flight. Per Pillowtalk Derm, dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss recommends going makeup-free. However, makeup wipes can irritate the skin, so they may not be the best option. She opts for micellar wipes, which work well for quick and easy makeup removal. Yet, if you're on a very long flight, using them can dry out your skin. As an alternative, Idriss suggests applying a light moisturizer to take off makeup.

Proper makeup removal is just a start for clean skin while flying. And there are several kinds of products that'll help with hydration. Per HuffPost, dermatologist Dr. Janet Allenby advises travelers to spritz the face and neck with thermal spring water. Idriss also mentions the importance of misting. She combines distilled water, rosewater, and glycerin before transferring to a travel-size facial mister. After applying mist, a hyaluronic acid-based serum can be used to lock in moisture. A serum made with oat flour, oat extract, and oat flour is another great remedy for dry skin. Finally, a moisturizer will seal the deal for your regimen. Per W Magazine, Dr. Yadav notes to use moisturizers containing nourishing ingredients like sodium hyaluronate, sodium PCA, squalene, and shea butter.

Pull out that sunscreen

It's necessary to protect your skin while flying, as UV radiation levels are much higher in the air than on ground level. Dr. Yadav told W Magazine, "Though you're unlikely to get a sunburn on a plane, airplane windshields typically only block UVB and often allow a significant amount of UVA transmission through the glass." In fact, planes are a hotbed for serious skin issues. In April 2023, dermatologist Joyce Park went viral for a TikTok video describing the risks of exposure to UVA radiation on flights. She referenced a 2014 study for JAMA Dermatology that examined the risks of melanoma for pilots and crew members. When flying for a little under an hour, pilots were exposed to the same levels of UVA radiation as someone who lays in a tanning bed for 20 minutes.

Fortunately, protecting your skin on a plane is not difficult at all. Dr. Yadav notes that passengers should select a sunscreen with an SPF level of at least 30. She also suggests getting a SPF hand cream and lip balm. According to dermatologist Dr. Papri Sarkar (per HuffPost), you should put on sunscreen every two hours. So, make sure to keep tabs on your timing. Keeping up with your skincare while flying takes some effort, but it's worth it on behalf of your health.