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Skin Science

Tips and skincare travel essentials for your next trip

A young adult traveler waves out of a car window.
J Malacoff Headshot
Julia Malacoff June, 01, 2020

Writer, trainer, nail art aficionado

Whether you're traveling for work or play, it can be tempting to let your skincare routine fall by the wayside when you're not at home. It's just for a few days, right? It happens! We totally get it.

But staying on top of your skincare game while on the road is key if you want to look and feel your best when you arrive at your destination. Here are a few tips (and travel skincare essentials) you can use to set yourself up for healthy skin — no matter where you're headed.

Make your products easy-access

If you don't have access to a sink on your trip, then packing a bottled cleanser won't do you much good. Instead, use makeup removing wipes. On long trips, it's a good idea to cleanse your face at the beginning of the journey and start with a clean slate. Then do another round of cleansing once you arrive to remove any bacteria or dirt that accumulated during the trip.

For any products that you only have full-size versions of, consider purchasing travel-size containers that you can fill up. This way, you'll never have to go without your go-to items! Get creative — things that may be just lying around, like contact lens containers, can come in handy when you know you'll only need a little bit of product.

Optimize skin's moisture from the inside out

Young woman on passenger seat near window in airplaneHealthy skin is full of moisture, but air travel can really dry it out. That's what makes water one of the most important travel skincare essentials. In order to look and feel your best, drink at least eight ounces of water for every hour you're in the air.

It's also a good idea to avoid airplane food, as it's often packed with dehydrating sodium. Skip the in-flight meal and pack skin-friendly foods in your carry-on instead. Fresh fruits and veggies with hummus or nut butter are TSA-friendly!

No matter where you're headed, sun protection should be high on your list of priorities. At the very least, make sure you've packed a travel-size sunscreen in stick or liquid form. If you've got an airplane window seat, apply sunscreen during the flight itself. That's right — spending an hour above the clouds is roughly equivalent to spending 20 minutes in a tanning bed, according to a study of flight crews' sun exposure from JAMA Dermatology. Of course, you should also opt for sun protection if you're traveling by car, train or bus; it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Set yourself reminders and notifications

In order to keep your skin looking its best, it's important to maintain consistent, healthy skin habits — no matter what time zone you're in. If you have a tendency to skip parts (or all) of your routines when you're out of your usual environment, try setting daily calendar reminders throughout your trip.

Want to go the extra mile? Include a quick list of the products you need to apply with each reminder. Nothing will be able to stop you from caring for your skin — not even jet lag!

Make travel a chance to treat yourself

You might dread the prospect of a long flight or train ride, but it's actually the perfect opportunity to spend a little more time on your skin. This is especially true if your day-to-day life is too busy for masks and treatments that need to sit on your skin for a while.

Have a few hours until your ETA? Take the chance to sit back and enjoy a radiance-boosting hand mask, finally try out those under-eye gel patches you've heard about or soothe your feet with a moisturizing lotion. For long-haul flights, you could even leave a moisturizing mask on while you sleep and then wash it off in the bathroom or using one of your makeup remover wipes (genius, right?). Afterward, spritz your skin with a mist to lock in that moisture.

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