Taking Care of Your Skin On A Plane

Instead of bemoaning your dry, blemished skin when you land, take the right steps to make sure your skin is as happy as you are upon touching down…

Is there anything worse than getting off a plane, ready to start a relaxing vacation, only to realize that your skin has decided mid-flight was the perfect time to freak out. Maybe things are back to normal a few days later but then it’s time to get right back on a plane home and the whole thing happens again.

The culprit behind these mile-high skin woes? Dehydration. I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure the air on planes sucks moisture out of your skin 50% faster than normal, which can lead to a whole host of issues. What’s more, there’s no actual fresh air on a plane so you’re sitting in a metal tube of germ-filled recycled air for who knows how long.

Alas, air travel is pretty much inevitable if you want to experience the world. So instead of bemoaning your dry, blemished skin when you land, take the right steps to make sure your skin is as happy as you are upon touching down.

Clean your skin.

Whether you leave for the airport with a cleansed face, wash in the post-security bathroom or employ a makeup wipe once on board, it’s crucial that your skin be makeup-free while flying. If not, it’ll have an even harder time breathing than it already is (thanks, stale, recirculated airplane air) and the hydrating products you apply won’t sink in as much as they could. I’d also recommend not washing your face in the airplane bathroom if you can avoid it. Again, not a scientist, but I do not trust that “water” on or near me face, thank you very much.

Seriously anti-bare-face-in-public? Totally fair, but I’d still recommend clean, makeup-free skin. If you must, employ something like Lilah B.’s Divine Duo as blush and lip tint. And a quick eyelash curl can work wonders on a makeup-free face.

Drink up!

Water, that is. I know it’s a pain to get up a lot during a flight to pee, but all those bathroom trips will be worth it when your skin resembles a juicy grape instead of a raisin post-flight. (Lots of water will also help with the dreaded ‘airplane bloat.’) Don’t let the 3.4 ounce rule trip you up here—either buy a large disposable water bottle near your gate or do the environmentally-friendly thing and BYO reusable bottle (just make sure it’s empty before going through security, then find a water fountain on the other side).

If you’re an overachiever (and really, we all should be for the sake of our skin), you can also periodically spritz with a hydrating mist. The Organic White Tea Facial Mist from Maya Water uses straight-up thermal water from the Norwegian mountains to quench your skin’s thirst, or Nicole Granato’s Hydrating Facial Mist employs rosewater and aloe to pack an antioxidant punch.

Mask it.

Once you’re settled into your seat with your seatbelt on and firmly fastened, whip out a highly-portable sheet mask. Don’t feel weird about using one up in the air. 1) You’ll likely never see these people again (except maybe on the return flight), so who cares what they think and 2) if you get weird looks, just pretend you’re famous and the joke is on them for not knowing who you are.

Look for one that’s packed with ultra-hydrating and calming ingredients and leave it on for as long as you like (or until it dries up). Sheet masks are great for planes because they’re individually packed, easy to toss when you’re done and the ingredients are super-concentrated in the mask so they’re also super-concentrated on your skin. If you’re feeling really fancy, throw some on your eyes, too.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

All that water will work wonders from the inside, out, but you’ll also want to hydrate from the outside. After you’re done masking, pat the excess serum gently into your skin and then lock it in with a hydrating oil and/or thick moisturizer. A serum like the antioxidant one from Juice Beauty is packed with vitamins and nutrients, and coupled with a thick-yet-lightweight moisturizer like MadeCera’s Cream, your skin will be one happy camper, even thousands of feet in the air.

 + Want more on inner and outer beauty? Check out more from Allie White here!

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If I’m flying a long haul flight, I definitely make sure to have a clean, makeup-less face when boarding. Nothing worse than a thick layer of makeup clogging up your skin!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

6 years ago

Dear Free People, I really appreciate most of you posts, your love and respect for nature amongst others, but I don’t understand why you promote travelling with the plane knowing how much it damages the environment?

6 years ago

Great post! Thanks! x

6 years ago

I have some deepset acne scars, so a no makeup face isn’t an option for me. however when I have a long haul flight I opt for a tinted mositurizer which I apply before I board, take it off with a makeup wipe and then reapply before landing.