For anyone who’s never heard of it, it can be shocking to discover what happens to the skin on board a flight. The record poor quality of cabin air, the pressurized environment, the lack of proper humidity, plus the usual stresses of flying in this day and age all make even the most perfect skin go from “grape to raisin” within a mere few hours.    

For all you skin-conscious people out there, the happy news is there are a few simple things you can do to help improve your skin before, during, and after your flight. These solutions will allow you to go straight from the airplane to that important meeting or the beach with a refreshed, photo-ready look.

Pre-flight Skin Prep

Every time you fly whether it’s short-haul, long-haul, or red-eye, prep your skin before you leave home. This means deep cleansing followed by moisturizer. Extremely dry cabin air will most likely cause your skin to over-produce oil which can later cause acne. To prevent this from happening, use an oil-free or oil-control moisturizer.

If possible, fly without makeup on or remove all your makeup once inside the cabin. Since washing your face properly in a tiny airplane bathroom is almost impossible, pack some cleansing wipes in your carry-on.

In-flight Skin Care

Cabin air is recycled over and over, leading to dull, flaky, or irritated skin. To get your skin in optimal shape, drink lots of water and apply your favorite oil-free moisturizer and/or serum every hour. This might sound like a lot, but given how much water you lose, this is the best way to prevent dehydration in your body and skin.

Use lip balm to hydrate your lips, your favorite day eye cream to energize the delicate eye area, and oil-free hand lotion to revitalize the skin on your hands. In high altitudes, we automatically get less blood flow. Gently massage the products onto your skin to increase circulation.

If you’re flying during the day and sitting in a window seat, close the shade or apply a lightweight oil-free sunscreen. You might not feel the sun burning you, but you’re much closer to it than ever. It’s vital to protect your skin at this altitude.

An absolute no-no: avoid using facial mist. It might feel hydrating, but the water evaporates from your skin as the flight continues, making dryness much worse.

Post-flight Skin Recovery

Post-flight Skin Recovery

The dread is over! Well, mostly. Now is the time to thoroughly cleanse your face and body starting with a shower or a bath. As salt easily works its way into the skin’s pores offering a deep-cleaning effect, make sure to add some to your post-flight bath. Exfoliate if you have the time. Later, apply your preferred serum and a rich layer of moisturizer all over. Continue to drink a lot of water. You are now ready to return to your usual beauty routine!