6 Things You Must Do For Your Skin Before Your Next Flight

Planes are undeniably gross, a fact that is never more apparent than when the guy sitting next to you hasn't stopped coughing for the past three hours, your contacts have shriveled up in your eyes, and a child just sneezed in your ear on the way to the bathroom. If you needed another reminder, there's also the matter of the recirculated air in the plane's cabin, which works nicely to help spread your seat mate's germs and whatever else might be lurking in the in-flight air supply. (We don't even want to know.)

Vitamins, chugging water, and frequent hand-washing can help you combat some of the health implications, but what about the external damage? Drying cabin air can wreak havoc on the skin, zapping it of moisture and taking a serious toll on its protective barrier, so by the time you get off the plane you're considerably less hydrated and considerably more broken-out.

To counteract all that ew, you have to act ahead of time. So we went straight to the sources, dermatologists Leslie Baumann and Whitney Bowe, to get to the bottom of how we can really protect our skin pre-flight. Ahead, a step-by-step guide to salvaging your complexion from the horrors of in-flight air — because even if you can't stop all those babies from screaming, you've gotta find a way to get some peace of mind.

Step 1: Wash face with a creamy cleanser.

Dr. Baumann suggests starting with a creamy cleanser like this one, which gently removes dirt and debris to leave skin feeling healthy and comfortable, not stripped or over-exfoliated. As an added bonus, the oil-rich formula moisturizes as it cleanses.
NIA24 Gentle Cleansing Cream (5 fl oz.), $33.00 Buy
Dr. Baumann also recommends this cleanser for a gentle, nourishing wash that removes impurities but leaves moisture intact.
PCA Skin Creamy Cleanser (7 oz.), $32.00 Buy
Step 2: Apply a super-powered serum.

"Because they're not weighed down with the types of ingredients that make moisturizers and creams so hydrating, serums are able to quickly penetrate into your skin more deeply," says Dr. Bowe. This one contains vitamin C and ginseng, two powerful antioxidants that Dr. Bowe says help protect your skin from harmful free radicals.
No7 Early Defence Glow Activating Serum - 1oz, $24.99 $22.49, Buy
Another great pre-flight option is Ole Henriksen's best-selling Truth Serum, which is like a multivitamin for your face. Vitamin C, collagen, and orange and green tea extracts help to brighten and smooth your face before take-off, and it can even come packaged in a flight-ready kit with face wipes if you're in for a long journey.
Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, $20.00 Buy
Step 3: Apply a topical probiotic product.

To calm inflammation and keep skin hydrated and radiant, Dr. Bowe suggests incorporating a topical probiotic treatment like this one into your pre-flight skin-care routine — it'll help maintain the health of your skin's invisible barrier and lock in much-needed moisture. "This formula impressively incorporates sources of pre-biotics, probiotics, and post-biotics to penetrate your skin at the cellular level," Dr. Bowe says. "This helps strengthen the skin’s immune system and restore its healthy balance."
LaFlore Laflore Probiotic Serum Concentrate, $155.00 Buy
Step 4: Apply a rich moisturizer.

This one's a no-brainer: A really rich moisturizer is a must-have for hydration, the way you wouldn't set foot on a plane without a bottle of water. Dr. Baumann recommends packing yours in your carry-on so you can reapply every hour or so throughout the flight. This classic cream leaves skin smooth, soft, and protected.
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream, $29.50 Buy
Step 5: Apply sunscreen with SPF 30+.

Of course, sunscreen is the most important step in any skin-care routine, but its in-flight importance is highly underestimated. Dr. Bowe says that many people don't realize that the sun's rays can penetrate airplane windows, leaving you just as exposed to UV light as you would be outside. She especially likes this formula for flying, as it's non-comedogenic and won't clog pores.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk (5 fl oz.), $26.99 Buy
For an added layer of moisture and protection, Elemis' Travel Pro-Collagen Marine Cream has SPF 30 and mixes chlorella and ginkgo biloba to hydrate the skin and visibly improve the appearance of fine lines. According to the brand, most customers see a visible improvement in 14 days — which is the best excuse to book a two-week vacation if you ask us.
Elemis Travel Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF30 15ml, $44.20 Buy
Step 6: If you plan on wearing makeup...

The less makeup you can wear, the better, but if you refuse to take flight without a little bit of coverage, use mineral or non-comedogenic products that won't clog your pores. Dr. Bowe says a lightweight tinted moisturizer that contains antioxidant properties, like this one, is your best bet. The SPF 20 is just a bonus.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20, $45.00 Buy
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