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The Ultimate Airplane Skincare Routine: Maintain Flawless Skin on your Transatlantic Flight!

The how-to guide with the tips and products you need for your airplane skincare routine 

Over here at Bloom Medical Aesthetics, we love to travel! And while there's nothing more exciting than finally getting through airport security and boarding your flight to the destination of your choice, air travel can wreak havoc on your skin if you don't have a game plan.

Air travel opens up a world of possibilities and adventures, but it exposes your skin to a unique set of challenges—especially long, transatlantic flights, which can significantly impact your skin due to the unique conditions experienced while cruising above altitude.

From the dry air inside the cabin to the changing time zones, your skin is going on a journey right along with you.

But--have no fear--regardless of your destination, there are steps you can take to combat the side effects and minimize skin irregularities so you can get off the plane and put your best foot forward. Let's talk about the impact of transatlantic air travel on your skin and how you can keep it looking healthy and radiant throughout the journey.

How do I know? Well, first of all, I'm a skincare expert and owner of Bloom Medical Aesthetics. You can learn a little more about what we do here. But, more importantly, I'm going to share the tried-and-true methods that kept me glowing on a recent trip to Paris, France. Ooh, la, la is right!

What Dry Cabin Air Does to Your Skin

Dryness is one of the most noticeable effects of transatlantic air travel on the skin. The low humidity levels inside the aircraft cabin can strip the skin of its natural moisture, leaving it feeling tight, flaky, and dehydrated. This can be especially problematic for those with already dry or sensitive skin.

To combat this, it's essential to hydrate both internally and externally:

  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the flight to keep your body hydrated. I know, public bathrooms can be hit or miss, but hydration is essential not just for your skin but how your whole body copes with traveling.

  • Additionally, using a rich moisturizer and hydrating facial mist throughout the journey can help replenish lost moisture and create a barrier against dry air.

What Jet Lag Does to Your Skin

Crossing multiple time zones during transatlantic flights can disrupt our body's internal clock, leading to jet lag. While jet lag primarily affects our sleep patterns and energy levels, it can also take a toll on our skin.

The lack of quality sleep and disruption to our circadian rhythm can contribute to dullness, puffiness, and even breakouts:

  • Puffiness: Sitting for long periods can contribute to fluid retention and puffiness in the face. Lack of movement and circulation can cause the skin to appear swollen and tired. Add in on the go snacking and eating, all that sodium increases the fluid retention. To reduce puffiness, try to get up and walk around the cabin periodically, perform facial massages, and apply a cooling eye gel to soothe tired eyes. I highly recommend ImageMD Restoring Eye Masks, which are available in the office.

  • Breakouts: The combination of stress, lack of sleep, excessive touching of surfaces, and exposure to recycled air can trigger breakouts and acne flare-ups. To prevent breakouts, make sure to cleanse your skin before the flight and carry travel-sized skincare products to maintain your skincare routine during the journey. I personally continue to use my favorite medical-grade skincare products from Image and Revision, even when traveling.

Image Restoring Eye Mask
One of my must-haves!

ImageMD Restoring Eye Masks to the rescue!
ImageMD Restoring Eye Masks to the rescue!

To minimize these effects, try to adjust your sleep schedule to the new time zone as soon as possible. Additionally, incorporating skincare products with brightening ingredients like vitamin C and caffeine can help revive tired-looking skin. Image’s VitalC hydrating serum is a definite must for me to have in my carry-on.

How Exposure to UV Radiation Impacts Your Skin

Yes, flying in the air can lead to more sun damage. And that flying tin can only protects you to a mild extent. Even though you're inside the aircraft for the majority of the trip, air plane windows do not filly block UV rays. UV radiation exposure during air travel is a significant concern, as many people underestimate the potential risks associated with prolonged exposure to sunlight at high altitudes. While airplane windows do offer some protection against UVB radiation, they are less effective at blocking UVA rays, which can penetrate deeper into the skin and cause long-term damage including premature aging, hyperpigmentation, and even skin cancer.

Consider the duration of exposure. These long-haul flights, especially those crossing multiple time zones, can result in several hours of continuous exposure to UV radiation, depending on the flight path and time of day. Consideration for overnight flights should be taken, especially for individuals who fly frequently.

Window seat person? You're at higher risk of UV exposure, as sunlight enters the cabin directly through the windows. Even a brief exposure during a flight can contribute to cumulative UV damage over time. Doesn't the aisle seat look a little more appealing.

Here's my tip: to protect your skin, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher before your flight, even if you're sitting indoors near a window. Reapply every two hours, especially if you're seated by a window or planning to sleep during the flight. Covering up with lightweight, long-sleeved clothing and a wide-brimmed hat can provide additional protection against UV radiation. Keep window shades drawn during peak sunlight hours to reduce direct exposure to UV rays. Consider wearing UV-blocking sunglasses for added eye protection if seated near a window. By taking these precautions, you can help mitigate the risks associated with UV radiation exposure during air travel and enjoy a safer and more comfortable journey.

How to Recover After Your Flight

Once you reach your destination, cleanse your skin to remove any impurities accumulated during the flight. My go-to cleanser is theMax Cleanser by Image. Apply a rich moisturizer, such as VitalC Hydrating Intense Moisturizer, to replenish lost moisture and restore skin barrier function.

VitalC Hydrating Intense Moisturizer
VitalC Hydrating Intense Moisturizer

Don’t forget your lips! In my bag on the regular is Revision’s Youthful Lip Replenisher, even my kids love it! And of course, get a good night's rest to allow your skin to recover from the stresses of travel.

What now?

Transatlantic air travel can be exhilarating, but it's essential to be mindful of its effects on our skin. For your new airplane skincare routine, remember to stay hydrated, adjust to new time zones, protect your skin from the sun, and prioritize self-care to keep your skin looking its best at 30,000 feet above sea level--and radiant once you touch down. Safe travels!

And if you need help getting the glow you've always wanted, learn more about the products and services we offer at Bloom Medical Aesthetics or book an appointment with us today.

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