Before going on vacation, there are a lot of things to plan for before leaving home, ranging from writing an itinerary to packing clothes. And while the beginning and the end of travel are filled with both stress and excitement, what happens in the middle?
What many people don’t often think about is the change your body goes through when you step on board an airplane and fly through the air for a few hours or more. With skin especially, plane travel has a drastic effect, according to dermatologist Mark Eid, M.D., of Virginia Dermatology and Skin Surgery Center.
Airplane travel can irritate your skin to the point of breakouts, but why? According to Eid, there are several factors involved.
“The decreased humidity on an airplane increases oil production in the skin,” says Eid. “Other major factors are a lack of sleep, higher stress levels and a change in a biological clock if traveling across time zones, which then increases oil production. When any of that happens, more outbreaks occur.”
Here, we share Eid’s best advice for preventing and resolving skin irritations resulting from plane travel.
Most people have a twice-a-day skin care routine, yet that can be lost with long flights or travel plans that interrupt their regular schedules. But according to Eid, it is essential to cleanse and moisturize your face prior to leaving for vacation, no matter the time of day. Plus, try to bring your own products with you, as consistency can prevent skin reactions.
During the Flight:
It might be a good idea to keep your skin care products in the carry-on for your next trip, as cleansing your face on a long flight could help prevent breakouts, Eid explains.
“Another good idea is to keep your hands off your face as much as possible, because your skin is exposed to more microbes than usual on an airplane and when you put that on your skin, new bacteria is being introduced,” Eid says.
To keep bacteria away, Eid recommends bringing a portable hand sanitizer that fits snugly in your carry-on for consistent cleanliness.
On the Ground:
Once the wheels hit the runway, be sure to cleanse and moisturize (yes, do it again). If you repeat this routine before, during and after the flight, your chances of breakouts decrease, according to Eid.
If the dreaded acne appears despite your greatest efforts to avoid it, Eid recommends purchasing over-the-counter acne spot treatments.
“I don’t normally recommend specific products, I think reading the label is the most essential, but items with benzoyl peroxide are the most effective,” says Eid. “You want to use non-comedogenic moisturizers, because those are non-acne forming moisturizers.”
If you aren’t used to over-the-counter products for skin care, start with lower dosages, Eid recommends, as new medicine can lead to more skin irritation.
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