12 essential in-flight skincare tips to make sure you arrive looking handsome and totally refreshed after a long haul flight
Whether you’re seated in first class or economy, airplane travel can wreak havoc on your skin. The combined effects of in-flight air conditioning and jetlag when you land makes your skin dry, irritated and intensely dehydrated (and yet somehow, also, puffy). And long travel days, coupled with the stress of potential delays, only adds to the toll on your complexion.
So what's the best way to counteract these effects and arrive at your destination looking your best?
Below, we’ve listed 12 essential travel grooming tips; simple, effective things you can do before, during and after your flight to make the experience of crossing time zones more bearable on your skin.
But first let’s look at exactly why your skin reacts so badly at 36,000 feet:
DRY, DEHYDRATED SKIN
Humidity has to be between 40 and 70 per cent for your skin to be comfortable. The air in most pressurised cabins features around only 20 per cent humidity, according to the World Health Organization. This massive reduction in humidity levels basically sucks everything nice out of your skin — causing extreme dehydration and general dullness. This dryness occurs everywhere - your eyes, nose, lips and cuticles aren’t immune from the effect.
BREAKOUTS AND BLEMISHES
In dry conditions like these, your sebaceous glands can overcompensate, causing increased oil production. When this happens to an already oily complexion, the excess sebum can lead to post-flight breakouts.
PUFFY, SWOLLEN SKIN
Dehydration causes fluid retention, leading to puffy, swollen-looking skin, especially around the eyes.
As no-one wants to get off an 11-hour flight looking like …. they’ve just got off an 11-hour flight, here are some simple steps you can take to fine tune your skincare routine for an overnight flight :
In-flight skincare starts with some pre-emptive action before you leave for the airport:
- Lip balm
- Wash cloth
- a comfortable eye mask
- and/or noise reducing headphones
Check out our article here for tips on improving the quality of your sleep, plus some fail-safe ways to drift off when you’re having trouble sleeping before a flight.
3: PREP YOUR SKIN: A good pre-flight skincare routine helps to minimise the effects of a long flight.
Exfoliate away dead skin cells and moisturise your skin thoroughly the night before your flight to ensure that it is in the best possible condition before take-off.
DURING THE FLIGHT
Not everybody is happy to slap on a hydrating sheet mask (although if you are, here is a list of the best face masks for flights). But there are lots of other effective (and more discreet!) ways to hydrate your skin on a flight so that you land looking fresh-faced.
The Number One most important thing you can do to keep your skin hydrated is to drink plenty of water. Cabin crew and other frequent flyers swear by drinking two litres of water before, during, and after long flights as a way to keep both skin and body fully hydrated.
6: MOISTURISE: FACE, EYES, LIPS AND HANDS
Moisturising is vital to counteract the effect of the dry cabin air.
And if there's one ingredient to focus on in low-humidity conditions like these it's hyaluronic acid. It pulls in water to keep the skin well hydrated, and stops it from leaving as well. It’s the reason we’ve included it as one of the key ingredients in our Hydrating Daily Moisturiser.
If you have oily skin, it’s vital to keep your skin well hydrated during the flight. This will prevent your sebaceous glands from over compensating for the drying conditions in the cabin and help prevent breakouts when flying.
7: REFRESH PUFFY EYES
The skin around your eyes is often the first to show strain mid-flight. When you’re dehydrated, tired or stressed (all probable on a long haul flight), the skin tissue near the eyes fills with fluid and becomes puffy. Pat a tiny amount of Hydrating Daily Moisturiser below each eye. It will hydrate, nourish and refresh the skin, thus minimizing these outward signs of flight fatigue.
The hyaluronic acid will stop your eyes from becoming dry and puffy and Vitamin E brightens so you look well-rested.
If you packed a fresh wash cloth in your carry-on, you can use it with some drinking water to clean and freshen your face. Applied cold it will also help to relieve any puffiness.
Nothing beats beauty sleep.
Maybe no one ever got their best night of sleep on a plane, but try to doze off anyway— it helps keep your skin fresh and looking good upon arrival.
The best ways to make it easier to fall asleep on board:
- Noise-cancelling Headphones – the best ones will reduce unwanted background noise, so you can hear what you want to hear and silence the rest.
- Sleep mask - A comfortable sleep mask will also improve the quality of your sleep on a long flight. Try to choose one that doesn’t press against your face. The Good Night Sleep Mask is designed to sit away from the eye to allow for deeper, more restful REM sleep.
Flight attendants are used to having to make a quick recovery after a long haul flight. We asked a member of the Air France cabin crew for advice on the best steps to take to conquer jet-lag and take care of your skin on arrival:
Once you arrive try to spend time outside during the day, as daylight will regulate your biological clock. Adjusting to local meals times will also enable your body to acclimatise to the local time and environment. So try to eat lunch at lunchtime, etc, even if it feels like the middle of the night to you.
If it’s late in the day when you arrive then take a shower, eat dinner, and try to continue the evening until you’re really sleepy to avoid waking up too early the next morning.
12: MOISTURISE AGAIN!
Always use a moisturiser on your face and body before sleeping and after your shower to counteract the dehydrating effect of the plane.
Follow these simple steps and you’ll be arriving at your destination looking like a well-travelled pro.
If you’d like more updates on the best way to care for your skin sign up for our newsletter below.
Thank you to Idriss Epale, flight attendant long-haul for Air France.