How To Care For Your Skin On An Airplane

Updated 12/14/14. The cabins of airplanes have extremely low humidity, which cause the skin to get extremely dehydrated (lack of water). The dry air looks for moisture where it can get it, and that means robbing it directly from your skin.

Dry skin will become drier, but did you know that oily skin gets even oilier during flying? When the skin has no water, it attempts to compensate for the dehydration by producing more oil—which is the last thing that oily skin needs. For dry skins that have no oil glands, the skin will be depleted of moisture. Simply put, airplanes can cause problems and wreak havoc on the skin.

Here are my expert tips before, during and after flight to keep your skin healthy and balanced: …


Use a skin serum under sunscreen.
Since the airplane cabins have low humidity, you must load your skin up with as much hydration and protection as possible. Apply a skin serum under sunscreen to deliver moisture deep within the layers of the skin. Look for serums using ingredients like hyaluronic acid as found in Skin Drink.

Be sure to wear sunscreen.
Did you know that when you are in an airplane, you’re closer to the sun so UV damage is at its greatest? The windows on an airplane don’t filter out damaging UV rays, so even though you are not in direct sunlight, you are still exposed to the harmful rays. And we all know, UV rays = skin aging and wrinkles. Wear a minimum of SPF 30 on the face, neck and sides of the neck. Also, makeup foundation containing SPF is not enough. The sunscreen must be built into your moisturizer so it can properly coat and protect the cells. I recommend Daily Protection SPF 30 followed by a dusting of an SPF-infused mineral powder for easy re-application.


Choose window seats over aisle seats so you can control the shade.
UV light is an enemy in the quest for younger-looking skin. Research shows that 78% of premature skin aging is due to incidental exposure, which is when your skin is in daylight when you’re not intentionally trying to get sun exposure. Flying in an airplane is an example of incidental exposure. When you’re in an airplane, you’re 30,000 feet closer to the sun and its skin damaging rays that come through the windows. In fact, airline pilots appear to a high risk of developing skin cancer since windshields on airplanes only filter out about 50% of dangerous ultraviolet (UVA) rays. It is these UVA rays that are responsible for the damage to the DNA in cells and lead to premature wrinkles, brown spots and visible aging. Choose a window seat so you can close the shade and protect your skin.

Do NOT mist your skin with a hydrating spray.
For years, skin care experts have suggested to mist your skin with a hydrating spray to keep it moist. This is a no-no, for sure! The worst thing you can do is spray those misters on the skin. Why? Because since the air is so dry, it looks for water wherever it can get it and since water attracts water, when you spray the skin it takes all the water from the deep layers in the skin and gets evaporated into the dry air. The result is even drier skin.

Drink plenty of water.
It’s always beneficial to keep your body hydrated while flying, so drinking plenty of water is important. While it doesn’t benefit the skin as much as you would think, it’s still important for your body to keep internal cells hydrated.

Apply a skin oil every hour of flight to prevent moisture loss.
Hands down, applying a few drops of a well-formulated skin skin oil to the face every hour of flight will dramatically keep moisture in the skin where it belongs. Especially for long international flights, this is a serious skin savior. I always use Pro Remedy Oil and recommend it to all my frequent flying clients. said “This really works.” When you land, your skin will look radiant.

Get up and stretch to help with blood circulation.
While this isn’t a tip for your skin, it’s certainly an important one for your body. High altitudes can exacerbate circulation problems, which is why it’s a good idea to move around during flight. Elevate your feet when sitting, don’t sit with your legs crossed, take short walks up and down the aisles and try to do some stretching.


Use a mild facial scrub to exfoliate surface dryness.
When arriving at your destination (hotel, home or other), cleanse your skin and use a mild facial scrub to remove surface dry skin cells caused from flying. Be sure to avoid facial scrubs containing natural grains such as apricot kernels, walnut husks and almonds as the sharp edges can scratch and irritate the skin. Instead, use scrubs containing natural jojoba beads or polylactic acid beads. I recommend Mint Buffing Beads as they are also good for increasing blood circulation to brighten up tired skin.

Treat your skin to a hydrating mask post-flight.
After exfoliating with a facial scrub, it’s important to add back essential hydration and brighten the skin from post-flight dullness. I prefer gel masks because they have the highest water content. This Bio Calm Repair Masque is both calming and deeply hydrating to ensure your skin gets the moisture it needs. It feels so cool and refreshing on the skin after traveling. Leave on 15 minutes, rinse well and apply moisturizer.

Hang your head upside down.
The skin can look sluggish so bring some fresh blood to the face by hanging your head upside down for three minutes. You’ll go from tired to radiant immediately.

Read: More Airplane Tips

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