How to combat in-flight skin dehydration – and if you should wear makeup on a plane

There are few downsides to jetting off to sunnier climes, but one big con is the skin dehydration that occurs during and after a flight. Whether it’s a 12-hour trip to somewhere exotic or just a couple of hours spent in the cabin to reach a short-distance destination, our skin never seems to look quite the same as when we embarked the plane.

The reason? Cabin pressure, recycled air and a lack of fresh oxygen all take a toll on our skin, resulting in dehydration, lack of luminosity and increased sensitivity – hence why you may often feel like your skin needs multiple layers of moisturiser by the time you reach your destination.

Don’t let “plane skin” dampen – or dry out, more like – your travel experience. Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, founder and medical director of award winning @Adonia_Medical_Clinic, provides her top tips for picking the best pre- and inflight skincare to avoid dehydration…

Go bare-faced

“Remove all makeup before boarding,” advises Dr Ejikeme. “Pack a kit in your hand luggage which includes a makeup remover, and make sure to take off all traces of makeup when you get on the plane.”

This is particularly important when you’re travelling for longer than a couple of hours. Skipping your usual cleansing routine can result in an unsightly blemish breakout the next day, so it’s best to prep ahead of time. If you’re travelling shorter distances and want to wear a bit of a base, make sure to opt for non-comedogenic and skincare-infused formulas.

Layer your skincare

“If you have oily or acne prone skin and get on that plane and do nothing to your skin, the next day your skin will feel dry which can then result in breakouts,” explains Dr Ejikeme. “If you have dry skin the opposite happens, your skin will get even more parched, and even increase in sensitivity.”

“Start with a product containing hyaluronic acid. If you have oily skin, ensure the product is gel-based and oil-free. If you have dry skin, you can use something thicker,” Dr Ejikeme says.

“Then, before you land, apply a high factor sunscreen. When you step off the plane, your skin will be in the same condition as when you took off and will start your holiday off on the right foot with no sensitivity, irritation or unwanted spots.”

We love:Wild Science Lab Bright Start SPF30

This broad spectrum SPF shields your skin while also leaving a lovely glow (it smells incredible, too!). This travel size tube is perfect for popping in your handbag or carry-on luggage.

This travel-friendly buy would usually cost you £12, but you can snap one up in this month’s Hit Refresh OK! Beauty Box from just £4.95* here – which contains four other amazing beauty buys totalling over £110.

Top tip: A mist is the perfect on-board companion (ensure it’s under 100ml!). Take Dr Ejikeme’s advice and opt for something containing hyaluronic acid to ensure your skin’s moisture levels stay topped up in the drying in-cabin atmosphere.

We love: Evolve Organic Daily Defence Moisture Mist, £9 here

A 30ml travel-friendly size and packed with hyaluronic acid, pack this in your hand luggage and spritz your face with it every few hours to stay feeling and looking fresh.

To look hydrated, stay hydrated

It’s as simple as that. “The first thing to do is to drink lots of water,” says Dr Ejikeme. “Aim to avoid bubbly and caffeinated drinks. Instead, drink one to two litres of water whilst in the air, especially if you’re on a long-haul flight.”

*£4.95 for new subscribers. Each box costs £15 thereafter.

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