A Globetrotters Guide to Making Your Face Survive Air Travel

“My skin looks so youthful after the flight,” says no one ever. No matter where you’re headed, if you follow these simple steps, your skin will look plump and dewy.

You already know that Sahara-like conditions in the airplane cabin wreak havoc on your body, and your face is no exception.

Even the most experienced travelers struggle with dry skin and breakouts while on the road, but the worst part is that if you don’t take precautions, you could end up with prematurely aging skin over time. The desire to explore the world should not cost you your good looks.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get your skin ready to go a day or two before takeoff, how to protect it from drying while in the cabin, and how to revive it post landing.

Avoiding the Plane Face – Step 1: Preflight



It’s just as important to hydrate in advance of your trip as it is once you’re in flight. H2O, coconut water and herbal teas are some of the best hydrators out there. For extra nutrients, electrolytes and anti-oxidants, a fresh green juice or natural tonic can do wonders. Pineapple with mint and lime tastes amazing and your body will like it too.

Prep the Canvas

Your skin will need some extra love everywhere, so give yourself a scrub with a loofah and exfoliating shower gel to remove dead skin cells, and use a more gentle treatment like an enzyme peel for your face to minimise irritation while travelling. After evening out your skin surface, put on a deep moisturizing face mask that will soften your skin and add an extra boost. Just a few minutes revives the skin surface and helps with product absorption.

Layer it on

To keep your skin well-hydrated, it’s best to apply a toner and serum before moisturizer even if it’s not your usual routine. Night creams generally have more concentrated ingredients, which will add a kick to the regimen. Put on a little extra on this occasion.

Fresh is Best

Makeup may help you look and feel great before leaving the house, but it will likely have the opposite effect after a long flight by clogging your pores. Before your flight, cleanse your face with gentle facial wipes that have antioxidants so your skin can breathe.

If you forget to bring them, go to the nearest cosmetics counter in duty free and “test” their cleanser or wipes to remove any leftover foundation and powder. Be careful though – you never know how your skin will react, especially under these extra challenging circumstances, so avoid experimenting with products you’ve never used before.

Avoiding the Plane Face – Step 2: Inflight


Filters are Friends

You may not know this, but if you face an open window during a flight, you actually expose yourself to UV-A rays. (Apparently) For pilots, 1 hour of flying is equivalent to 20 minutes in a tanning bed—and you won’t even get a tan, so there really is no upside here! Simple solution? Keep the shades down! If you must keep them open, moisturize with a calming serum or face oil, and apply a deeply hydrating cream with SPF to protect your skin.


Make sure you reapply the SPF moisturizer throughout the flight to shield your skin from harmful UV rays. Be warned: Many surfaces on the plane are so much more unsanitary than you think, so always make sure you clean your hands before touching your face.

Facial Spray No-nos

Some people say that there’s nothing better for your skin than moisturizing mists. As logical as this sounds, moisturizing mists can actually have the opposite effect. Laws of chemistry suggest that if you spray the mist on too liberally, your skin’s moisture is drawn out as the droplets evaporate off your face.

So, if you use mist, make sure you remove any excess mist with a cotton pad before it steals away your natural moisture, and use products that are enhanced with anti-oxidants.

There’s Skin on Your Hands too

We’ve already talked about making sure you keep your hands clean in the less than pristine environment on the plane. While doing this keeps your hands germ free, it also dries them out, so don’t forget to use a deep moisturizing repair cream afterwards.

Avoiding the Plane Face – Step 3: Post Landing


After you arrive at your destination, cleanse your skin with a gentle wipe or a cleanser that will soften and clean without stripping the skin of all its natural oils.

Apply a Rejuvenating Mask

Face masks are an important part of the post-flight routine to rejuvenate the skin after spending hours in pressurized dry air in an airplane.

It’s best to bring along single use packets to save space and avoid having to put the mask in a travel-sized container, where it can harden and change texture in the process. Follow with a light layer of moisturiser and lip balm to help rejuvenate your skin.

Don’t Forget the Eyes!

Flying can also be stressful on the eyes, so pop a jar of eye gel or cream into the mini fridge before you go to bed. Apply it to the under eye area in the morning to treat puffy eyes caused by the long trip and little sleep.

In a pinch, snag a spoon from room service and do the same thing. In the morning, rest the rounded back of the spoon under your eyes to help quell any swelling.

And there you have it! A great way for you to keep your skin healthy and happy while globetrotting. What are your tricks and favourite products to keep your skin intact while travelling?

About the author

Eva B.

Eva is a NYC based Marketing specialist who spends a third of her time traveling for work and fun. She launched Travelle, an online platform for female business and leisure travelers featuring beauty, wellness and style tips. When not traveling, Eva can be found in NYC writing, photographing, spending time with friends and scheming her next getaway.

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