How to combat the effects flying has on your skin
Skin guru Lee Garrett has some advice for air passengers
Most of us would agree that unless you can afford a first-class ticket or you have your own private jet, air travel isn’t much fun.
From the travelling to the airport, queuing through security, hanging around in the soulless waiting areas, squashing yourself into hard upright seats with no leg-room and a bouncy toddler kicking your seat for several hours, it’s just a necessary evil we have to put up with to reach our destination of choice. Now there’s even the added worry you might get brutally dragged off an overbooked flight!
Sadly, the physical discomfort isn’t the only negative involved with air travel. Being trapped in an air-conditioned, pressurised vessel literally sucks moisture out of our skin leaving our complexions dehydrated and dull.
Most of us are used to around 40% humidity in our everyday air, but airplanes maintain between a humidity level of around 10 to 20%. Along with drying out our skin this lack of moisture dries our nasal passages, mouth and eyes as well.
Add to that the anxiety many of us feel while flying, leading to an increase in stress hormones that can cause redness, inflammation and acne. Oh, and there’s the eye-irritating allergens in the air and increased exposure to bacteria to contend with as well.
All in all, our skin really is bombarded by negative factors up in the air. So, what advice does skin guru, Lee Garrett have for us before, during and after a flight?
1) I advise my clients to prepare their skin before a flight by having a moisturising facial the day before, or applying a face mask at home. It doesn’t have to be shop or spa-bought. You can mix some olive oil or almond oil with honey and apply this liberally. Allow it soak in for at least half an hour before gently wiping off with cotton wool.
2) If you can, go without makeup for your flight, especially on long haul journeys. If you leave makeup on your skin while traveling, the dry air is likely to sap the moisture out if it, leaving your skin looking cakey and flaky and highlighting lines and wrinkles. You could spray a hydrating mist on your face regularly throughout the flight to counteract the drying effects of the cabin. But don’t use a mainly water-based one, as these evaporate drying out your skin even more. Instead, try a moisturising mist with natural calendula, aloe, or rosemary. If you must wear make-up, keep it light. Maybe use a tinted moisturiser instead of foundation.
3) Most clients are surprised to learn that whilst on a flight they are still exposed to UV rays through the windows. And these rays are even stronger at higher altitudes! So, wear a sun cream or a moisturiser with SPF for protection.
5) Avoid alcohol and caffeine while flying as these can further dehydrate your body and skin. Drink plenty of water instead.
6) Keep moving. Skin is further affected by the air pressure on airplanes as less oxygen is absorbed into the bloodstream. Oxygen is vital for energy to power our cells and a lack of oxygen makes our skin look tired and lacklustre. Blood flow helps invigorate skin giving it a fresher appearance so walk around periodically during your flight and try to stretch your body to get your blood flowing.
7) Treat your skin on landing. Whatever time you arrive at your destination and no matter how tired or excited you are, you should cleanse your skin thoroughly to remove all the pollutants and apply a good moisturiser.