Dermatologists' Tips for Keeping Their Skin Healthy While Traveling

Dermatologists' Tips for Keeping Their Skin Healthy While Traveling

When you're away from home, it's easy to forget about your skin-care routine. However, traveling is one of the occasions when your skin requires the most attention. Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, president and cofounder of Modern Dermatology in Westport, Connecticut, and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale New Haven Hospital, says, "Traveling may wreak havoc on the skin."
Not only are you away from your holy-grail goods on the bathroom counter, but the experience of travel itself can be taxing. "All modes of transportation, particularly planes and trains, involve big commercial vehicles with artificial air circulation systems," explains dermatologist Scott Flugman, MD, of Huntington Hospital in Huntington, New York. "As a result, the skin is exposed to dry heating and cooling systems for longer periods of time, which can cause significant moisture loss."


Staying hydrated on the inside will help you retain moisture on the outside.

What's the greatest strategy to combat the dehydrating humidity levels you'll encounter on your flight? Drink plenty of water. In a 2015 study published in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, researchers discovered that drinking two liters of water every day for one month enhanced skin hydration, which has been associated to younger, healthier-looking skin. Robinson advises that you begin your preparations as soon as possible. She recommends drinking half your body weight in ounces of water in the days preceding up to and throughout your trip.

Using an Ointment to Keep Your Lips Hydrated

When you're in the middle of a lengthy journey, it's easy to overlook your lips, but that's a mistake, according to Dr. Garshick. "Long days of travel can dry out not only the skin but also the lips," she explains, emphasizing the importance of keeping the lips hydrated. For use on the road, she recommends Vaseline or Aquaphor, which are both ointments (also known as ultra-moisturizing products).

Even on days when you're traveling, wear sunscreen.

if you're going to a tropical destination, you've probably packed your sunscreen and a beach hat. When you'll be spending the majority of the day in an airport or on a plane, it may not occur to you to apply sunscreen, but it's an excellent practice to develop. “Although sunscreen should be applied every day,” Garshick explains, “it is especially important on travel days, when you are even closer to the sun's ultraviolet rays.” Pilots and flight attendants have twice the risk of melanoma, a potentially fatal kind of skin cancer, than the general population, according to a meta-analysis published in JAMA Dermatology in January 2015. Apply sunscreen on your skin before leaving the house. “The tint conceals any flaws that may appear as a result of the long day of travel,” she explains. Regardless of the type (chemical or mineral, tinted or untinted), the Skin Cancer Foundation suggests using at least SPF 30 and reapplying every couple of hours.

Attempt to bring your usual products.

That way, your skin won't have to acclimate to all-new products on top of the other stressors that travel brings. "If you know your skin-care routine works, continue to it even if you're traveling," Garshick advises. According to Robinson, look for sample-size versions of your basics (which include cleanser, moisturizer, sunscreen, and an antioxidant serum). This is preferable to just pouring oils and serums into plastic containers. "Most skin care products must be stored in a specific way to maintain their effectiveness, so do your research before pouring it into a travel-sized bottle," she advises. Most vitamin C serums, for example, should be stored in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight (which is why serums are often sold in dark bottles). Cleansers, for example, work well in a travel-size bottle, according to Garshick.

Avoid Using Hotel Skin-Care Products That Could Irritate You

Many patients will leave their typical items at home and utilize whatever is supplied to them at a hotel or resort," Dr. Flugman says, citing constraints on bringing creams and lotions on airlines. However, you should avoid using the hotel bathroom's small lotions and soaps. "These products frequently contain fragrances and preservatives, which may exacerbate the common dry skin problems associated with travel," says Flugman. This is especially important if you have sensitive skin, according to Garshick.

Acne Breakouts Are Coming

Even if you follow all of the above tips, there's a chance your skin will break out while you're away, so be prepared to treat breakouts. Stress, varying water pH and hardness, and the surfaces our heads and faces come into contact with can all cause even the most flawless skin to break out.