Woman smiling while sitting on an airplane

Skin & Body Care

​​Your In-Flight Guide to Skincare when Travelling​

​​Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA – Vice President, Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness​ 19 October 2023

Have you ever boarded an aeroplane looking fabulous and then landed looking like you’ve aged 10 years? Well, you’re not alone.

Aeroplane cabins have extremely low humidity, which can cause your skin to become dehydrated quickly. The re-circulated dry air in the cabin is on a search for moisture and that usually results in your skin being sucked dry. Not only will dry skin become drier, but oily skin can become even oilier. It sounds crazy, but it’s true! When skin loses its water, it tends to produce more oil to compensate for the loss.

So, what can you do to look after your skin? Read on to learn my simple, but essential, skincare tips for air travel.

Protect Your Complexion at 30,000 Feet

Be sure to follow these easy skincare tips while travelling. Your skin will look hydrated, refreshed and no one will ever know by looking at you that you have been on a very long journey.

B.Y.O.B.B. Bring Your Own Beauty Bag

First, have a thorough understanding of what you can and cannot bring with you on your flight. There’s nothing worse than having the flight plan of your favourite skincare products be redirected to the bin.

Pack a small, clear zip-lock bag with all of your travel essentials including: a hydrating cleanser, moisturiser, lip balm, hand sanitiser and hand cream.
The maximum size, based on FTA guidelines, is 100 millilitres per product. It’s important to have your favourite products with you to apply throughout the flight. Remember: the key is to plan ahead.

Don’t Forget Sunscreen

It seems crazy that we would need to be concerned about the sun’s rays while sitting in an aeroplane – but think about it. When we’re flying, we’re closer to the sun and in a thinner atmosphere. Unfortunately, the windows on planes aren’t capable of filtering out the damaging UV rays. So, wear your moisturiser with SPF, shut the shade and choose an aisle seat over a window seat (if you can).

Apply a Face Mask

You don’t need to go to a spa for a good face mask. Experience the same high-quality experience at home with a face mask that has an invigorating scent, like rosemary or mint. Apply it to your face, let it to dry and enjoy the results. Look for face masks that contain bentonite clay: it may tone your skin and has absorbing properties.

Stay Hydrated and Drink

And I don’t mean alcohol! It’s easy to fend off the fear of turbulence with a glass of wine (or two!) but drinking water will keep your body hydrated while flying. Nutrition expert, Susan Bowerman, suggests that you should drink a glass of water for each hour you’re in the air.

Time to Strip Down

To help your skin, you should consider avoiding wearing makeup while in an aeroplane. If you absolutely cannot go barefaced, you’ll need to make some compromises. Make sure to avoid any foundation or powders, as they will definitely contribute to your skin drying out. But, I see no harm in a bit of mascara and a swipe of lip-gloss.

Before I board a flight with a full face on, I always give my skin a quick cleanse in the powder room with a moisturising cleanser or make-up removing wipes. It’s the best thing you can do for your skin – especially on long flights.

Apply, Apply and Reapply

Make sure you have your moisturiser with you throughout the flight. This means that your products must stay with you and never make it into the overhead locker. The longer the flight, the more frequently you should moisturise. Your skin will thank you.

Join the Mile-High Skincare Club

When you reach your final destination, be sure to clean your skin with a gentle facial cleanser or scrub. This will help to remove the dry skin cells and excess oils that may have appeared during the flight. To really get your skin back into tip-top condition, moisturise yourself from head-to-toe when you get to your hotel room or home.