Jet-Setting Your Way to Healthier Skin
Winter is a great time to travel but changes in climate and humidity can put additional stress on your skin. Dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Baxt shares must-know travel tips for EDGE readers that will keep you looking fresh.
Dr. Baxt claims that the re-circulated air on planes is five times drier than the desert and the lack of humidity causes loss of moisturizer. The air inside the cabin of a plane usually has a humidity level of 10 to 20 percent - much lower than a comfortable typical indoor humidity of 30 to 65 percent. All of which combines to equal skin desperately in need of moisture.
"Most people realize that flying can cause skin to dry out and breakout, but they may not know why," says Dr. Baxt. "Whenever the environment is moisture-free, such as with re-circulated air in a plane cabin - the air actually draws moisture from wherever it can, including the skin. Dry skin will tend to get drier and oily skin will become more oily to compensate for dehydration."
Dr. Baxt recommends the following travel itinerary for your skin whether you're taking a quick weekend getaway or going for the long haul:
Flying the Skin-Friendly Skies
Un-Happy Hour: Don’t Drink Alcohol on the Plane
While you may want to kick off your holiday with a tour of the beverage cart, remember that alcohol will dehydrate you. Drink water or read a magazine or book. Having something to distract you will help relax you as much if not more than a glass of wine. If you just can’t pass it up, drink lots of water afterward.
Bring a Hydrating Mist for In-Flight Treatment
A hydrating mist is perfect for in flight application. Spray a couple of pumps onto your face for instant hydration. It also feels great and helps cool you down if you’re on a warm airplane. If you’re seated in Economy, just be wary of spraying your neighbor.
Skip the Salty Snacks
Airport food is not very skin-friendly. Peanuts and pretzels may look delicious but salt can cause swelling. Snack on fruits and vegetables like carrots and apples, which are filled with water.
Jet lag always shows through your skin but mostly in the eyes. Lack of sleep can have you looking sleepy and puffy. Don’t forget to stash an eye cream that contains caffeine for that quick "pick-me-up." Another option is to carry green tea bags with you on the plane. A half-hour before landing, ask the flight attendant for hot water and soak for a few minutes. Add ice to cool down the bags, and apply cool green tea bags to your eyelids before landing. The green tea has antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to decrease puffiness so you’ll look your best when you land.
Weather Proof Your Skincare Products
Pick and pack skin products based on the climate of your destination. When going to a warm, humid destination, pay extra attention to exfoliation in order to reduce the dead skin cells trapped by excess moisture. Also pack a cleanser with salicylic acid.
If Aspen or Vail is your destination this holiday, it’s all about deep moisture when it comes to locations that have low temperatures and high altitudes. To function properly, the epidermis needs to maintain a certain moisture level; in the winter, low temperatures, low humidity and strong winds deplete skin of its natural protective barrier, allowing that level to drop.
No matter where you’re headed, remember one last tip: sunscreen should always be the first thing you throw in your bag.
Hotel Beauty Products: You Play You Pay
Travelers often break out when they’re on vacation because hotel products are typically made for people with normal to dry skin. In lieu of using hotel toiletries while traveling, consider packing a few key essentials.
Just For Men
Men tend to get very dry skin since they often don’t moisturize as part of their daily routine, and soaps marketed to men tend to be very harsh and drying. Make sure to moisturize when you step out of the shower with a good body lotion. Men can often have trouble with razor rash and ingrown hairs on the neck. Try shaving with the grain not against, and choose a mild, unscented shaving cream . Aftershaves with benzoyl peroxide or topical antibiotics by prescription can also help.
About Rebecca Baxt, M.D.
Rebecca Baxt, M.D., MBA, FAAD is a Board Certified Dermatologist specializing in both cosmetic and general dermatology for adults and children. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, a member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, New Jersey State Medical Society, Bergen County Medical Society, and the Dermatological Society of Greater New York, as well as the American Medical Association.