How to care for your skin while travelling

Travel wreaks havoc on our skin. Changing time zones, jet lag, recycled aeroplane air, different climates. All of these things give your skin a hard time often before you’ve even had your chance to sip a coconut cocktail by the pool so how do you care for your skin while travelling?

Want my expert tips? Keep reading!

Before you go:

Buy all of your regular skin care in travel sizes

This is vital, as making last minute changes to your skin care can be devastating for your skin.

You invest in great skin care? Great!

Make sure you have everything you normally use either in the travel size or decanted into smaller bottles. You don’t want it getting confiscated through security.

Keep one set in your checked bags, a smaller set in your carry on to apply during your flight.

“I didn’t take my normal face and make up products as they were expensive. I was doing over a dozen flights and I was worried about losing my bag, so I took cheaper alternative products that were supposedly “natural”.

Big Mistake!!

Within a week my skin was noticeably dryer and by the time I got home my skin was dull and breaking out like a teenager. It has taken 3 months of using my normal products to get my skin balanced and looking normal again” Katherine (via Facebook)

Hydration, hydration, hydration

The day before you fly, make sure you’re extra hydrated by drinking enough water and taking omegas (fish oil or flax seed oil etc.). Omegas help to retain cellular hydration.

Note: They should be part of your every day skin care regime anyway.

Make sure you keep topped up during transit. I have been known to stand in the airport security line chugging a 1 litre bottle of water to empty, so that I can take it through and refill on the other side (and find a bathroom fast! Ha ha!).

Book a facial

Arrange a facial for the day or two before you leave to add hydration from the outside in, ensuring your therapist finishes off with an oil based moisturiser to lock in the hydration. My favourite is a corneotherapy facial with an LED add on.

In transit:

Upon boarding

Don’t use the “hot refresher towel” to wipe your face.

Within minutes your skin will be drying out. Think of it like licking your lips on a windy day. You know it’s only making things worse, but your lips feel so dry and licking soothes them… for all of 20 seconds.

A similar thing happens when you’re in dry recycled aeroplane air and wet your face. Water disrupts your skin’s barrier, opening the ‘roof’ and allowing evaporation of moisture.

If you feel the need to freshen up, wait until the captain has switched off the seatbelt sign and pop to the bathroom with your travel size skin care.

tip: use the hot towel to wipe over the surfaces you’ll be touching- your tray table, remote control and arm rest!

Dry burning nostrils

So many of my clients complain of this when they fly.

I’ve even had one lady tell me she tried snorting water in the lavatory to desperately get some relief, but again, like licking chapped lips, this is only a temporary fix and as she reported, only made things a whole lot worse.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

You have two options:

  • If you’re sleeping your flight away, drape a scarf across your face, creating an air pocket. Your warm breath will keep the air pocket warm and moist and this will help stop your nose, and skin, from drying out. (I do this and look like a complete looney but most of the time I’m sleeping so couldn’t care less.)
  • Lip balm. Pop a little on your finger and coat the inside of your nose. Don’t laugh until you’ve tried it. It works like a charm. Goodbye fiery, burning nostrils at every single breath. A life saver on a long haul flight.

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise

Don’t miss an opportunity to moisturise.

Try and fly make up free (if you’re fair haired like me, book a lash and brow tint before you leave!). Every time you use the bathroom, take your moisturiser with you and apply generously.

I have a very lipid dry skin type; I can’t get enough moisturiser. If you ever bump into me in the aisle, destination bathroom, you’ll see I have my trusty travel skin care in hand!

If flying makes you oily, your moisturiser will help to keep you balanced.

At your destination:


Every country has different water. Sometimes you can’t drink from the tap, others, the water feels so hard and harsh it makes your hair ‘crunchy’.

When I travel to countries with unfavourable water, I cleanse using my cleansing milk and on my second cleanse remove with a tissue negating the need for water.

If your cleanser is gel based or foaming, once you jump out of the shower, rinse with a tiny amount of filtered water to restore balance to your skin. Follow with your regular skin care.

In countries where clean drinking water isn’t ‘on tap’, I find myself drinking less. I lose my good water drinking habits.

Make sure you stay mindful about your water intake keeping up your two litres per day.

(Now I write this, I wonder if this might also have something to do with the fact that toilets in some countries I’ve visited are less than charming and the less I have to ‘go’ the better!)

Happy Hour

It’s true, we all indulge a little more when we are on holidays. Cocktails by the pool, the swim up bar, room service and drinks with new friends.

Alcohol and sugary cocktails are a nightmare for skin. Sugar feeds inflammation and can feed pimples, heat rashes and niggling skin things.

I know you’re on holidays so I’m not going to be the wet blanket, just take it easy and if you do have a skin blow-out, you’ll know what the likely cause is.

Fun in the sun

Chlorinated swimming pools, too much sun on the beach. I’m not here to be a kill-joy but simply to remind you to rinse the salt and chlorine as soon as you head back to the hotel.

If you’ve gotten sunburnt (gasp!) make sure you give yourself some time off the beach the following day. Have a cool shower and slather yourself in moisturiser.

Hit the shops instead and make sure you drink plenty of water- your skin becomes easily dehydrated when it is burnt. It needs loads of water to kick start the repair process.

I truly believe that travel is one of the BEST investments you can make for personal growth and adventure, as long as you care for your skin whilst at it!

Where will your next flight take you?

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