Your skin looks perfect at the start of your trip abroad, all glowing and fresh. But, after your flight your skin doesn’t feel like yours as it seems to have shriveled up like a prune – dull and dehydrated. What’s important is to understand that this is totally avoidable and by taking the right measures, you can feel your best!

Why does our skin condition worsen during a plane ride?

The air in a plane is very unnatural and therefore bad for the skin. The cabin is pressurised which means that the air is very dry due to humidity levels being uncommonly low. As a result, the evaporation of moisture from our skin occurs at a faster rate, leaving our skin badly dried out no matter how long or short the flight is. Slight inflammation and flakiness are common symptoms of aggravated dry skin on a plane. Contrastingly, those of the combination skin type are likely to have to deal with oily skin because of the over-production of sebum to replenish moisture lost through dehydration.

Moreover, traveling is a stress-inducing activity. Stress causes our body to produce cortisol – a hormone that is highly responsible for skin inflammation. On top of being red and itchy, an inflamed skin can easily lead to an eruption of breakouts. (This is apart from the bacteria and dirt we inevitably come into contact with in the air and objects, as well as the reaction of our skin to foreign weather when we arrive at our destination.)

Lastly, if watching a sad movie on the plane isn’t enough to make you cry, you’re going to end up with puffy eyes anyway because of fluid retention in your body. Water not only collects excessively in our ankles and feet, causing them to swell, it also gathers around our eyes making the eyelids all puffy and dark eye circles more prominent. This situation is exacerbated if we are already sleep-deprived before the flight, which would simply add on to the appearance of fatigue on the skin.

How do we triumph over this distressing situation? Read on for some skin-saving tips!

1. Keep yourself well-hydrated

Because true beauty comes from within, whatever you put inside your body shows on your skin. Drinking lots of water especially throughout the last few days before your trip is a sure way to keep your body well-hydrated. I was once told by a wise old woman that we should drink a warm cup of water to start each morning. The reason is that downing water after a night’s sleep helps rejuvenate our dehydrated body by purging it of toxin remnants before we consume anything else. It’s recommended by experts to maintain a regular water intake of up to two cups per hour during the flight. No matter how much you want to stay awake to watch movies with coffee or rewind with alcohol, try to stay away from them because they are diuretics – they cause you to lose more water from your body through urine, which negates all your efforts to hydrate.

2. Gently exfoliate and moisturise skin

Getting a facial done before your trip is a good idea if you have time for it, or you could simply DIY a home facial. That’s because you’ll need a gentle yet good exfoliation to slough off dead skin cells and unclog pores so as to keep potential breakouts at bay. Moisturising the skin is crucial after an exfoliation, as well as on a flight, so remember to bring one with you on the plane (check that it’s less than 100ml)! Don’t hesitate to pack a rich moisturiser and a super moisturising lip balm, too! A hydrating sheet mask is also great if you don’t think you’ll look too scary in one!

3. Wear minimal makeup or none at all

Our post-flight face often looks as pale and sunken as zombies, so it might be tempting to wear some makeup to conceal dark eye circles and red blotches. But makeup tends to get sucked dry by the conditioned air in the cabin, resulting in unwanted lines like wrinkles looking more pronounced. Wearing makeup also defeats the purpose of bringing along your facial mask and moisturiser for much-needed hydration as they can’t be used on top of your foundation.

4. De-puff with a cold towel

Next time an air steward or stewardess asks if you need a warm towel, request for one that’s cold and use it to de-puff by icing your eyelids as well as under your eyes. It’s important that you don’t apply it to the rest of your face, though. As refreshing as it may feel, it’s only temporary and would further dehydrate your skin as the cold dampness left behind takes with it moisture from your skin when it evaporates. Once you arrive at your hotel you could whip up your own DIY crushed-ice-in-towel to freshen your face!

5. Exercise to get blood pumping

how to fight dull skin plane ride

Even if it’s hard, try to fit some exercise into your plane journey because a short 15-minute of stretching and moving does wonders for the radiance of our skin. Without adequate activity our legs can cramp up, and the same goes for our skin! If we stick to the same posture for long enough on the plane our blood circulation would retard and cause our skin to appear dull and flat. Getting off the seat and stretching yourself along the aisle is a great way to keep your body and your skin feeling and looking fresh on the plane.

6. Catch some sleep

How to fight dull skin plane ride

Getting a good amount of rest is immensely beneficial not just to the skin. It goes a long way in preventing you from being fatigued and stressed so that your skin wouldn’t reflect that. So, even if it’s hard, try to at least take an in-flight nap so that you’ll look and feel invigorated when you touch down.


This article is contributed by Daily Vanity – Singapore’s leading beauty e-magazine. Visit them to get discounts, tips, reviews and trends!

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