Skincare for Before, During, and After Flights

Skincare for Before, During, and After Flights

‘Tis the season for holidays, vacations, and backpacking. 

With winter vacations ending It’s only a few more days till we pack our suitcases and jump into the airplane, getting back to our daily grind. But, what about your skin? How do you prep your skin before a long flight, treat it on the plane, and maintain its glow after an excruciatingly painful flight? 


Unfortunately, planes are super bad for your skin
This is apparent when the child sitting next to you keeps sneezing and your contacts have dried up in your eyes. The air on the plane is recirculated dry air which spreads germs of 50+ people sitting in close proximity to each other. Hence, doing a skincare routine right before you board that plane is a strict no-no. Since dry air begs for moisture, the plane air sucks it out of your skin. For example, your lips get dry and chapped in the winters. Licking your lips never really helps, does it? This is because the saliva pulls moisture from the lips and the dry air makes them even dryer. Similarly, the moisturizers and face masks that you so graciously apply in-flight draw out more moisture from your skin which gets absorbed by the dry plane air. This is why your skin may feel even more dehydrated and tight after your ‘pre-flight’ skincare routine. We’re sorry to inform you but you’ve just wasted some high-class skincare products!

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Here’s an experiment to help you understand just how harmful flights can be to your skin

Renee Rouleau conducted an experiment in her hotel room and in the airplane using a 100% cotton t-shirt and a small cup of water. She poured the water onto the t-shirt and then took note of the time in both locations and then compared the results. What she discovered was shocking! In her hotel room, the t-shirt took 1 hour and 27 minutes to dry (left picture) as compared to only 24 minutes in the plane (right picture).

This shows that the air in the skin sucks moisture from any source it can find, potentially drying out your skin in the process too, leaving it dull and dehydrated. This is why in-flight skincare routines are something to forego altogether! 

Here are some tips for before you travel

Wash your face with a creamy cleanser: Make sure to start your skincare routine with a creamy cleanser to gently remove dirt and debris from the skin. This will leave your skin feeling healthy and moisturized, rather than dry and over-exfoliated. 

Dab on a probiotic product: 
A topical probiotic product can help the skin’s invisible barrier by locking in the moisture at the cellular level that your skin may be later begging for. This helps restore the original pH level of the skin, restoring its immune system. 
Apply a serum: Since serums are not weighed down by heavy ingredients that make moisturizers so hydrating, they are perfect for long flights as our skin absorbs them quicker. Keep in mind that vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects the skin from harmful environmental pollution. 
Sunscreen: Sun rays are powerful enough to penetrate airplane windows. That means your skin is as exposed to the harmful UV light as it is outdoors. 
Apply a rich moisturizer: A rich moisturizer is a must-have for your pre-flight skincare routine as it thoroughly hydrates the skin, keeping it smooth and soft. 
Say no to makeup: The low humidity and high altitude absorb moisture from the skin. You really don’t want makeup to be the barrier that will clog your pores. 


During your flight

Lip balm: Your lips will normally feel dry, dehydrated and cracked in long flights. If you’ll be traveling for 24 hours plus, there is a high chance that your lips may start to hurt. Remember, ladies- licking your lips will only make them dryer as the airplane air will be trying to absorb whatever moisture it can find. Keep a fruity formula that will drown out the odor normally present in airplanes and keep your lips pillow-soft. 

Hand sanitizer: Rushing back and forth between the tiny bathrooms can get quite annoying. Since airplanes are full of germs, you want to keep your hands clean so that you don’t break out!

Hydrate! According to the Aerospace Medical Association, drinking two liters of water before, during, and after long flights in order to keep the body and skin healthy and hydrated. It’ll also put you in a good mood!

Sleep: Pack in an eye mask before you board that plane and try not to consume caffeine on the flight. Catching up on your skin prevents it from looking dull when you land. 


Even though it has become almost “trendy” to see beauty influencers doing full-blown skincare routines during their flights (serums and hydrating mists), research has proven that this can actually do more harm than good to your skin. Since the humidity in airplanes is super, super low, the skin will get dried out faster. Most hydrating products are packed with aloe vera and hyaluronic acid which works by pulling moisture from the air and into the skin. But, there isn’t much moisture in the airplane air, to begin with. So, how does this work? Moisture gets pulled from your skin! It’s better to leave all sheet masks and treatments for the hotel room upon landing. 

After your flight

Once you get off that plane, make sure to cleanse and hydrate your skin! Cleansing is important to remove any dirt that may have accumulated on your skin during the long flight. By this time, your skin will be begging for moisture. You may carry on with your normal skincare regime once you reach the hotel. Just make sure to make sheet masks your best friends! Sheet masks provide instant and easy moisture on the skin, leaving it supple and soft. 

Don’t forget to drink lots of water in order to cleanse your system, inside and out. Alongside your laundry bag, throw everything that has been used on the plane in the wash. Remember, you never know who touches what on the plane so there could be germs lurking in all your belongings. From eye masks to neck pillows, wash everything!

Happy flying!

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