Air travels are exhausting, especially a 14-hour international flight that can leave you lifeless and nauseated for days. “The pressure, temperature, and oxygen levels in the cabin fluctuate, and the humidity level is lower than it is at sea level,” says Matthew Goldman, MD. A combination of all these factors disrupts your normal body functions, and no one is spared. Besides your usual post-flight malaises, have you ever experienced flakiness, chapped lips, puffy face, or overall dehydrated skin? Melissa Levin, an NYC-based dermatologist told Allure that most airline cabins maintain a 20% humidity while human skin is used to a level between 40% to 70%. Consequently, your skin becomes dry, flaky, irritated, and sometimes even greasy. First-class or economy, short trip or long haul, flying can damage your skin regardless. Let’s first take a look at the common in-flight skin issues and their causes, then we will teach you some tricks to maintain a healthy glow even if you are part of every airline’s frequent flyer program.
A plane cabin has the humidity of a desert, and that is not an exaggeration. 50% of the air circulating in the cabin is pulled from the outside, and air at high altitudes is almost completely without moisture, explains Dr. Goldman. Your body needs water to survive, so does your skin. Dehydrated skin can lead to premature wrinkles, dullness, and your skin will produce more oil to compensate for the lack of moisture thus making your face greasy and prone to irritations.
A common misconception is that wearing sunscreen isn’t necessary when you are flying because you are in a sheltered environment. However, in a 2014 study, scientists discovered that pilots and cabin crew have a higher chance of developing melanoma because of their frequent exposure to UV radiation and the stronger UV radiation presence at high altitudes. In short, the air is thinner and the UV radiation is stronger when you are flying, and UV lights are majorly responsible for skin aging and skin cancer.
Long periods of sitting in the same position, on top of the salt intake from airplane snacks can cause water retention, which in turn causes puffiness and bloating. It is fairly common for people to notice dark eyes, puffy face and swollen feet after a long eventless flight due to water retention and slow blood circulation.
Flying is stressful and tiring. The uncomfortable environment that confines you, the occasional turbulences, the layover, the luggage, the queue, the customs clearance…they all take tolls on your mentality. Stress hormones often trigger irritations like eczema and psoriasis. Besides, your skin needs to replenish and recharge to stay healthy, yet your body can’t rest or indulge in nourishment properly when you are flying long distance.
Let’s start by taking off your makeup before the long flight. Your caked-up face might get away with a short one-hour flight, but a full coverage makeup in a high-stress, low-humidity environment is a guarantee to clogged pores and even acne. Make sure you complete your skincare routine before boarding the planeto protect your skin from the harsh cabin environment and further damages, don’t wait until your skin starts to feel the pressure.
You need to take extra care of your skin which means no skipping steps, and possibly add a few more if you could. For a short flight, remove your makeup and use a rich moisturizer before the takeoff. For a long flight, use hydrating serums, rich moisturizers, and a sleeping pack to lock in as many nutrients and moisture as possible.
We have gone through the hazards of a typical airplane cabin - low humidity, irregular pressure and oxygen level, high UV radiation, and enclosed limited space. What you need to do now is to take measures to minimize the impact of these skin disruptors. Staying hydrated is always the solution to most health problems, therefore, drink as much water as possible to replenish the moisture in your body and your skin.
Oia’s Anti-Wrinkle Patches are perfect for a skin pick-me-up during any flight. These 100% medical-grade silicone patches can stay on comfortably throughout the flight, keeping your skin hydrated and protected under an occlusive layer away from the outside environment, to further prevent dehydration and any wrinkle formation. Last but not the least, always wear sunscreen during the day regardless of the weather condition, especially when you are in a window seat. UV lights can penetrate through clouds and windows, do not let your guard down.
It is important to let your body and skin recharge after a long journey. A hot bath, a good sleep, lots of water, some nutritious yet comforting food always do the trick. Give your face a thorough double cleanse and a good exfoliation after the flight to remove toxins and boost cell regeneration, follow by serums containing hydrators and vitamins to nourish the skin, and always finish up with a good moisturizer.
To reduce post-flight puffiness, dark under-eye circles, and fine lines, Oia’s hydrogel patches are here to help. Oia’s gold-infused Rejuvenating Hydrogel Patches deeply hydrate and effectively minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and red algae. Oia’s Restoring Hydrogel Eye Patches are packed with natural antioxidants and nourishing ingredients such as snail filtrate, collagen, red ginseng, seaweed, and spirulina, perfect for you to relax and re-feed your skin the necessary nutrients and moisture that are depleted by air travels.
Don’t let flying come between you and your perfect skin. Stick to your usual skincare routine, drink lots of water, try to move around as much as possible, pop on some Oia patches and you will be glowing “effortlessly” throughout the journey.
Let us know if Oia has helped you combat any travel skin concerns, or share your best travel skincare tips with us and the rest of Oia community on social media. We would love to be part of your skincare journey to better skin, and your voice will always be part of our learning and growth.