Cold weather, alcohol, and oh so much sugar—plenty of contributing factors can cause skin to completely freak the f*ck out this time of year. Another holiday-season skin saboteur? Travel. Air travel, specifically. Every time you board a plane, you’re exposed to stale, crazy-dry, recirculated air, so even if you’re only taking an hour-long flight (lucky!), you end up with a significantly moisture-sapped, duller complexion when you land. And that’s not accounting for what happens on your actual vacation: using strange hotel beauty products, forgetting your favorite sunscreen, surrounded by stress in the form of family dinners. I asked some top dermatologists how to cope.
Keep skin hydrated. “Traveling can wreak havoc on your skin—proper cleansing and hydration will help your skin manage the stress and keep it looking beautiful throughout your trip. This means applying moisturizers; if you’re flying, use the special water sprays and drink water.” —Doris Day, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center
Don’t forget your sunscreen on the plane. “You’re 10,000 feet closer to the sun and at a higher risk of a burn [when you’re in an airplane] than you are on the ground. Studies have shown higher rates of skin cancer in pilots and flight attendants, so the same precautions should be taken if you’re traveling. You may be able to shut your window shade, but you can’t control everyone else’s around you.” —Joshua Zeichner, an assistant professor in the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City
Adapt, don’t reinvent. “Rarely do you need all new products when traveling. Usually a tweak or two will do.” —Ranella Hirsch, a dermatologist in Boston who serves on the editorial board of Dermatology Times
Bring good face wipes with you. “Rather than having to carry on multiple cleansers, or use the soap provided by the hotel on my face, I carry premoistened makeup-remover towelettes—Neutrogena, Garnier or Simple—in a ziplock bag. They’re great to use on the airplane and in the hotel room, and the added bonus is that they don’t count as liquid in your carry-on.” —Heidi Waldorf, the director of laser and cosmetic dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital
Always carry your favorite facial cleanser and moisturizer. “More than any other anti-aging cream, these two are the most important products to keep your skin in balance and maintain its health. Your daily cleanser will ensure that you thoroughly remove impurities and makeup while traveling. Your facial moisturizer will replenish your skin with the needed skin barrier elements to avoid dehydration or irritation from environmental factors and toxins. My favorite cleanser is Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Gentle Scrub. And my favorite facial moisturizer is CeraVe PM.” —Leyda Bowes, a Miami-based dermatologist
How To Keep Your Skin Hydrated When You Travel: