Your Guide To Low-Maintenance Travel Skin Care

skincareyoucanskiponvacation_slide3_MaddyIllustrated by Madelyn Somers.
Summer may be coming to a close quickly, but there is still some time to sneak in a getaway. If you're heading out of town, the last thing you want to worry about is a comprehensive skin-care routine. But, you also don’t want to forgo that gorgeous, healthy complexion. I travel often, but I’m always sure to keep up my skin-care routine no matter where I am — as I know my skin will pay the price if I don’t. (Think: dehydration, increased oil, and breakouts.) Read on for my advice on the products you should never leave home without.
"Skin-care essentials" means different things to different people depending on age, skin type, and individual complexion concerns, but some things hold true no matter your skin type. For example, every skin-care routine, at home or away, must include the daily basics: cleanser, alcohol-free toner, and a daytime moisturizer with SPF. Always look for a cleanser that is sulfate-free, as sulfates can cause surface dehydration and skin tightness in some skin types. Toner should be alcohol-free, because alcohol strips the skin of water, resulting in dead-cell buildup that can lead to a dull complexion and breakouts.
skincareyoucanskiponvacation_slide2_MaddyIllustrated by Madelyn Somers.
Lastly, use a daytime moisturizer with a minimum of SPF 30 to protect skin from harmful UV rays. At night, be sure to cleanse (don’t let your skin marinate in a day’s worth of oil, makeup, and bacteria!) and tone, but use a non-sunscreen moisturizer. When using toner, be sure to leave it damp on the skin and immediately follow with moisturizer. This gives your skin cells an instant drink of moisture for a healthy, fresh glow. Of course, you'll want to make sure the products you use are properly suited for your skin type for best results.
If you are away for a few days and skip your weekly mask, scrub, or acid peel, it likely won’t have a major effect on your skin. If you don’t want to take both a cleanser and exfoliating scrub, bring the latter, as it can multitask as your cleanser for a few days since most facial scrubs also contain cleansing agents. However, be sure to rub it very lightly over the skin since you’ll be using it daily.
For those who have acne or hyperpigmentation, packing a product to treat these issues might be worth considering. If breakouts are a major concern, tote a spot treatment to help keep unsightly blemishes at bay. Make sure it’s one with alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic, glycolic, or salicylic acids — these tend to work most effectively.
If hyperpigmentation is an issue, bringing along an antioxidant serum to prevent your spots from getting darker is probably a good idea — especially if you plan to spend a lot of time in the sun. Applying an antioxidant serum (notably one containing vitamin C) under daytime sunscreen can help protect the skin from sun damage and keep pigment cells asleep or keep melanocytes from overproducing melanin, which is what causes dark spots.
Staying on top of your skin and maintaining a good regimen is important for a healthy complexion, but sticking with only the basics for a few days on a short vacation will certainly not be detrimental to your overall skin health. In spite of a brief low-maintenance routine, hopefully your complexion will radiate with that enviable post-vacation glow on your return.

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