Best In-Flight Skincare Tips: Everything you need to know

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12 simple, effective travel grooming tips to make sure you arrive looking handsome after a long haul flight

Steve McQueen in Thomas Crown Affair Travelling with passport

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 airplane travel skincare 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.
airplane with skyscrapers in shanghai

    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 :

    PRE-FLIGHT CHECK

    It starts with some pre-emptive action before you leave for the airport:

    1:  PACK WELL
    There’s not a single person who loves packing for trips, but it pays to be organised with your carry-on luggage no matter where you’re jetting off to.
    As with all of our products, Otis Hydrating Daily Moisturiser was designed to be the perfect size for travel. At exactly 75ml/ 2.53oz it’s TSA proof and allowed in hand luggage, but also large enough for everyday use. So there’s no need to worry about running out while you're away.
    Whether you’ve managed to get everything into one lightweight carry-on or you’re putting some items in the hold, these are the skincare essentials to have with you in the cabin:
    Otis Daily hydrating moisturiser
    • Moisturiser
      Otis Hydrating Daily Moisturiser also doubles as an eye cream, a hand cream, and can be used day and night – so there’s no need to take lots of different separate products with you.
    • Lip balm
    • Wash cloth

    Sleep is super important to maintaining a great complexion, so for some peace and quiet on the plane also include:

        • a comfortable eye mask
        • earplugs
        • and/or noise reducing headphones
    2:  GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP: Talking of sleep, it’s always important to get a good night’s rest before you fly to ensure your skin is able to rejuvenate itself.
    3:  PREP YOUR SKIN: Ensure your skin is in the best condition before you take off to minimise the effects in the air. So moisturise your skin well the night before your flight.
    4:  NO DIURETICS: Stay away from diuretics such as alcohol and caffeine to prevent your skin from losing moisture unnecessarily. And try to increase your water intake for sufficient hydration.
    man with bag leaving for airport

    DURING THE FLIGHT

    Whilst not everybody is happy to slap on a hydrating sheet mask there are other more effective (and discreet) ways to nourish your skin on a flight so that you land looking fresh-faced.

    5:  DRINK PLENTY OF WATER 
    The Number One most important thing you can do to keep your skin hydrated is to drink plenty of water. Flight attendants 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.
    Coffee, alcohol, and soda will dry out your skin, so avoiding these three is a good rule of thumb, and try to limit any salty airplane food as this only encourages water retention and puffiness.
    Either way, you need to stay hydrated to compensate for the loss of roughly one cup of water for every hour you’re in the sky, because of the dry air.


    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.

    Hyaluronic acid works as a sort of moisture-magnet and also a protective shield to lock the moisture in for instant comfort, not to mention long-lasting hydration.

    Our Hydrating Daily Moisturiser is not only hydrating and refreshing, but also contains antioxidants that will help to protect your skin from the slightly increased level of free radicals that occurs at 36,000 feet.

    OTIS hydrating daily skincare in travel bagOur HDM continues improving the hydration level of your skin for several hours so there’s no need to top it up during the flight. Just remember to re-apply before sleeping if you’re on a long haul flight.
    HANDS - Your hands will also feel the effects of the dry cabin air and can become painfully dehydrated. You need to restore that lost moisture. Again, we recommend using Otis Hydrating Daily Moisturiser on your hands too. It will deeply hydrate - but without leaving a sticky, greasy feeling.
    LIPS - Your lips will have a tendency to feel drier and more chapped than normal on a flight, so always have your favourite lip balm handy and re-apply regularly to keep them soft.  


    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.

    8:  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. 
    A passenger is holding noise-cancelling headphones of a business class cabin.
    UPON ARRIVAL

    Conquering JET-LAG
    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:

    9:  SHOWER
    When you reach your destination, have a shower first to refresh your body and recover from the flight.
    10:  REST
    Let your body rest. Depending on the destination and your time of arrival, try to rest as much as you can immediately after a flight. It’s important to give your body the help it needs to recover.
    11:  ADJUST TO THE LOCAL TIME ZONE
    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.

    We would also add that if you have to shave after the flight using our Protective Shave Cream with shea butter and aloe will keep skin irritation to a minimum.

    Follow these simple steps and you’ll be arriving at your destination looking like a well-travelled pro.

    Bon Voyage!

     

    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.

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