9 Beauty Buys That Will Save Your Skin From Holiday Travel

Ah, the anticipation of going on vacation. You download the travel app. Pack a well-edited wardrobe. Grab your passport. Now all that’s left to do is sit back, relax…and age 25 years. A big, pressurized tin can in the sky might be the fastest way to switch time zones, but it can wreak havoc on your skin just as quickly. So, unless you have a Benjamin Button moment in seat 23A, take a few tips from our favorite derms, ahead.
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MISTAKE: You treat your skin like it’s any other day
Without even glancing at your bathroom cabinet, we can pretty much guarantee your regular skin-care regimen is not hydrating enough to prep your face for flying. “The low humidity and recirculating air on the plane is very harsh,” says Jeannette Graf, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

The day before you travel, exfoliate all over and then follow with a thick body lotion and hydrating face mask to increase your skin’s moisture levels. You’ll need something super-rich on the plane too, so skip your usual daytime lotion and take a pot of your night cream or your go-to winter formula.

Regenerating Night Recovery Cream Moisturizer, $20.49, available at Target.
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MISTAKE: You ignore your hands
What is it about the combination of plane air, water, and liquid soap? You get on with regular hands and de-plane with Dumbledore’s.

SOLUTION: Avoid too many Lady Macbeth moments in the bathroom by packing a hand sanitizer with soothing vitamins or aloe vera, which are less drying. Then, pack a travel-size hand salve and reapply it throughout the flight. “Dab a little extra on your cuticles if they start to feel dry,” says Amy Forman Taub, MD, a dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

SPF 40 Forever Young Hand Cream, $12, available at Sephora.
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MISTAKE: You mist your face with water
Here’s the thing: Even though we bang on about how important it is to hydrate your skin, spraying it with regular water can actually dry it out. “It sits on the surface and evaporates, pulling moisture away with it,” says Dr. Graf.

Go for fancy water. “Natural spring water has minerals and a pH level that won’t irritate or dry out your skin,” says Dr. Graf, noting the ones that disperse a super-fine mist are best, as they enable the droplets to absorb quickly.

Eau Thermale Avène
Thermal Spring Water, $9, available at Dermstore.
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MISTAKE: When the seat belt sign goes off, you wash your face
It might feel good to scrub your face clean, but that also strips the skin of its natural oils, which can be even more irritating than the wailing toddler two rows up.

Avoid foaming cleansers and granular scrubs. Instead, opt for wipe-off formulas that remove makeup but keep the skin balanced, says Dr. Graf. Follow with a moisturizer containing SPF and extend it down to your neck and décolletage. “The skin is thinner there and lacking oil glands, so it’s even more prone to dryness and discomfort,” says Dr. Taub.

Micellar Make-Up Remover Wipes, $5.97, available at Walmart.
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MISTAKE: You assume you don’t need sunscreen
Surprise! Those windows still let UV rays through, so you’re just as
vulnerable to damage 35,000 feet in the air.

SOLUTION: Combat dry cabin air and UVA ray exposure with a lightweight, yet rich, moisturizer. Packed with vitamin C to brighten your complexion, antioxidants to fight free radicals, and SPF 30 to ward off skin-damaging rays, this one from Murad fits the bill. Plus, it's small enough to stash in your carry-on for easy application on the go.
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MISTAKE: Under the bright lights of the lavatory, you decide to pop a pimple
Everyone is guilty of losing perspective on a plane — after several hours, we’ve all been tempted to treat fresh acne to a little in-flight extraction. Unfortunately, it introduces bacteria and further inflammation, creating one big, nasty mess.

SOLUTION: If you can, disinfect the area with a spot treatment containing benzoyl peroxide, which fights bacteria. Then wait for it to dry, add a layer of moisturizer, and do.not.touch.it.again.

Clean & Clear
Persa-Gel 10, $4.96, available at Walmart.
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MISTAKE: You throw back a stiff G&T to calm your nerves
No one said looking good was all fun and games. The bottom line is that alcohol is dehydrating, especially on a plane. And when your body is dehydrated, your skin suffers.

SOLUTION: “Avoid alcohol for at least 48 hours before a flight — and drink plenty of water, too,” says Dr. Taub. Stick with this principle in the air, as well. Rather than waiting for the beverage trolley, take a big water bottle on with you and sip it throughout the flight. If you’re still a little jumpy, try dabbing calming essential oils, like ylang ylang or lavender, on your wrists.

Now Essential Oils 100% Pure Lavender, $7.59, available at drugstore.com.
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MISTAKE: To pass the hours, you nosh on bags of pretzels
Let vanity guide you on this one—the combination of high altitude and salty foods is the perfect way to guarantee you arrive at your destination with swollen ankles and baggy undereyes.

SOLUTION: “Airplane food tends to be salty, so I always buy food after security,” says Dr. Graf, who suggests opting for fruit and protein-based snacks, like nuts or a chicken salad, over carbs. If the damage is already done, reach for an eye roller with a metal applicator tip to help minimize the puffiness.

Clinique All About Eyes Serum, $30, available at Macy's.
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MISTAKE: Post-flight, you return to your regular routine
The low humidity on the plane can damage your skin barrier, meaning that formulas you usually slather on weekly, like peels and retinoids, can suddenly cause irritation.

“Avoid any anti-aging ingredients for a day or so after you land,” says Dr. Graf. Keep your routine very simple, opting for gentle cleansers and soothing moisturizers while your skin barrier recovers. And if your face is feeling extra tight, try a hydrating sheet mask.

Dr. Jart+
Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask, $7.50, available at Birchbox.
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