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Airplane Skin: What It Is & How to Avoid It

If you’re an avid traveler, you may have noticed your skin doesn’t quite feel its best after a flight. Even a short trip can leave your complexion looking dull, dehydrated, and all-around lackluster. But don’t worry – there are steps you can take before and after your flight to keep your skin healthy and minimize the negative effects of flying. 

What is Airplane Skin?

Airplane skin refers to the general changes a person may notice in their complexion during and after a flight. It can be broken down into a few key categories:

  • Dehydration: The dry, recycled air in a plane’s cabin can wreak havoc on the skin. Airplanes famously have super low humidity levels, which can lead to a dehydrated complexion. This means it can feel tight and parched, and may be especially prone to irritation and redness. 

  • Oiliness: You may have noticed your skin looking particularly shiny after flying. That’s all thanks to the dehydrating effects of the dry air. When the skin becomes dehydrated, it can overcompensate by producing an excess of oil. 

  • Sunburn and Sun Damage: When you’re flying at 36,000 feet, you’re that much closer to the sun – which means you are even more exposed to its harmful rays. While signs of sun damage won’t come to the surface immediately, if you skip the sunscreen during a daytime flight, you may step off the plane with a sunburn. 

  • Acne: Flying can trigger blemishes in a few different ways. First, general travel stress can lead to breakouts. Additionally, the bacteria present on the seats – especially on head rests – can find its way to the skin. Pair that with the increase in oil production, and you have the perfect breeding ground for breakouts. 

  • Small Batch Serums

    What Skin Types are Prone to Post-Flight Skin Issues?

    Bad news: no skin type is exempt from the effects of flying, although the specific changes may differ from person to person. Those with oily skin may notice their skin feeling greasier. This skin type is also particularly prone to post-flight blemishes. On the opposite end of the spectrum, anyone with dry skin might feel their complexion feeling particularly parched during and after their travels. Additionally, regardless of skin type, you may notice dehydration, acne, and sun damage directly caused by air travel. 

    Do You Need Pre-Flight Routines?

    If you want to keep your skin calm and balanced during air travel, it’s a good idea to give your skin a little extra TLC before you hop on a flight. In addition to following a skincare routine dedicated to caring for your pre- and post-flight skin, we also recommend staying on top of your water intake to help counteract the dehydrating effects of flying (on both your skin and your body!). These small adjustments can make a world of difference when it comes to your complexion. 

    How To Build Your Air Travel Skincare Routine

    Creating an airplane-ready skincare routine doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, you can protect your skin against the detrimental effects of air travel using just a few key products. Here’s how we recommend caring for your skin pre- and post-flight. 


  • Apply a Hydrating Serum to Clean Skin: For all skin types, one of the best lines of defense against plane air is a hydrating serum, like ourHyaluronic Pure Boost Serum. The lightweight serum has a super gentle formula powered by hyaluronic acid, a humectant that holds water to the skin to keep it comfortable and hydrated.

  • Layer on a Moisturizer: Next, you’ll want to follow up with a moisturizer that is suitable for your skin type. It will help seal in your serum and keep your skin optimally moisturized throughout the flight. 

  • Use a Lip Balm and Eye Cream: Don’t forget these sensitive areas! If the skin around your eyes is particularly prone to dryness, we recommend applying a rich, moisturizing eye cream. We also suggest everyone bring a lip balm on their flight to fight chapped lips. 

  • Protect with Sunscreen: If you’re flying during the day, be sure to keep your skin protected from the sun. Make sure you bring your sunscreen onboard as well so that you can reapply. 

  • Post-Flight:

  • Refresh with a Gentle Cleanser: You’ll want to wash away all the excess oil and debris that has collected on your skin throughout the flight. Reach for an effective yet gentle face wash that will cleanse away impurities without stripping the skin’s natural moisture. 

  • Apply a Hydrating Serum and Moisturizer: After your flight, you’ll want to follow up with the same serum and moisturizer you used pre-flight to restore moisture levels and rehydrate the skin for a comfortable and soft complexion. The evening after flying, we recommend passing on more aggressive treatments that you may use in your normal routine (like retinol or chemical exfoliants), as they may irritate and dry out the complexion. 

  • Key Takeaways

    Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is to stick to a gentle, hydrating skincare routine before and after flying. Along with drinking plenty of water throughout your travels (and layering on the sunscreen), this will help you avoid airplane skin and maintain a healthy complexion!