6 tips for looking after your skin before, during and after a flight

How to care for your skin during a long haul flight, according to skincare expert

Skincare tips for travelling
(Image credit: Shiny Diamond / Pexels)

Are you about to embark on a long haul flight for your summer holiday? Then you should follow these expert-approved tips for looking after your skin before, during and after a flight.

Regardless of your destination or how long you’re in the air for, it’s pretty hard to escape ‘plane skin’. Due to the low air pressure and dry air on a plane, your skin can become extremely dehydrated and uncomfortable. As your skin tries to hold onto any water it can, this results in puffiness, oiliness and breakouts.

If you’ve been prepping and pampering yourself for your holiday, you don’t want to get off the plane feeling self-conscious after getting a huge zit from the cabin pressure. To find out how to avoid plane skin, I spoke to the founder of Cecilia London, Cecilia Ross. As a facialist and skincare expert, Ross gave me her 6 tips for looking after your skin before, during and after a flight.

1. Go make-up free

As your skin is going through enough while being in the air, you should try to make it as happy as possible, and that means no make-up for the flight. “We easily transfer bacteria from our hands to our faces, and when we add make-up into the mix, this can wreak havoc on our skin and cause breakouts,” says Ross. If you decide to wear make-up on your flight and you’re going to be flying for a while, Ross recommends removing it as thoroughly as possible when you board. “A double cleanse that removes make-up and balances your skin’s pH balance is ideal.”

2. Hydrate your skin

As your skin becomes dehydrated on a plane due to the dry air, you should try to keep it hydrated with a few products that you can easily fit into your best carry-on luggage. “I’d recommend using a moisturising hyaluronic gel or serum to provide your skin with the moisture it needs without using anything too heavy which could clog the pores,” says Ross. She recommends using hyaluronic-based products because it can improve your skin’s health and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with long term use.

3. Use SPF… even on the flight

There are many reasons why you should use sunscreen everyday and SPF is just as important to wear in the air as it is when you’re on the ground. According to W Magazine, studies have shown that UV radiation levels are twice as high at 30,000 miles in the air than they are at ground level. While you’re unlikely to get sunburnt on a plane, you should still apply a good quality sunscreen. Ross says “as well as applying on your face, I’d also recommend applying a lip balm and hand cream that contains SPF.”

Woman enjoying a face mask

(Image credit: Shiny Diamond / Pexels)

4. Create your own spa

Now that you’re on the plane for the long haul, relax and enjoy the journey while creating your own spa. “Give yourself a mini facial by taking time to apply a hydrating sheet mask, setting the mood with essential oils and enjoying a deep clean with a luxurious cleanser. You can even plug in a meditation or relaxing playlist to take your spa experience that one step further.” Ross’ skincare tips should help you feel calm while on a noisy flight and after a busy airport experience.

5. Be mindful of what you eat and drink

In addition to hydrating your skin on the outside, it’s important to hydrate yourself on the inside. Drinking plenty of water or fruit infused water preflight and during the flight helps to keep your skin hydrated. Food can be slightly trickier but Ross suggests to “pick items with high water content which will help combat dehydration, such as watermelon and strawberries that will quench your thirst and provide your body with a boost of antioxidants.” It’s also recommended to avoid salty foods before and during flying as this can cause facial puffiness.

6. Give yourself a post-flight cleanse

When your flight lands, give your skin some TLC. To rejuvenate, rehydrate and avoid breakouts, start by washing your face and cleansing it as soon as you get to your hotel or as soon as you land. “If you’re prone to breakouts or have oily skin, I’d recommend applying a salicylic acid after cleansing then apply a hyaluronic moisturiser and SPF 50.”

For more skincare tips, check out this 3-step summer skincare routine.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!