SISU Model Airport

In-Flight Skincare Saviours

September 26, 2018

Did you know airplanes are more than twice as dehydrating as the Sahara Desert? While the Sahara has a humidity level of 25 percent, the air in those tubes in the sky has only 12 percent humidity.

This lack of moisture in the atmosphere can do a real number on our skin, especially if it’s a long haul flight. The damage it does can take weeks to repair: breakouts, irritation, redness, dryness, and – of course – total dehydration (which can in turn cause more breakouts, irritation and redness). This demands a strategy and the right tactics for avoiding the worst. That same approach can also ensure you come off the plane with a vibrant glow – not rough and haggard.

The strategy part is easy to guess: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. And then hydrate some more. While you’re in the air, it’s your full-time job (that allows you to read, sleep or watch films). It’s also a good idea to take a chelated magnesium tablet or two along with the water, to ensure you don’t dilute the electrolytes in your body. This will help prevent swelling, cramps, and tummy discomfort. Magnesium is also a natural relaxer, so it can help you nap. (As opposed to many natural water sources, bottled water often doesn’t have magnesium. So don’t count on getting it there.)

woman drinking water

It’s best to cleanse and prep your skin before boarding. That way, once you’re in the air, it’s just a matter of maintenance. If you can’t cleanse properly, use cleansing wipes the right way once you get to your seat. Then crack on with the next steps.

Depending on how long it’s been since you exfoliated, you may want to use an acid wipe to turn over dead cells so your hydrating products can really penetrate. Individually wrapped acid pads, like Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel wipes, are extremely travel-friendly, can be used at home, and don’t need to go in your little bag of liquids. If you have room for a little bottle, Pixi Glow Tonic is a mild, effective (and wonderful smelling) exfoliant with glycolic acid.

Next, neutralize the acid and add a layer of moisture with a hydrating spritz. Many face sprays contain alcohol, so avoid those. A travel size of Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray is a fabulous choice. (Bonus: You can buy the smaller one as part of the Clinique All About Moisture Kit, which also includes the 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator and All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage. All three are ideal for travel. If you just want the spritz, buy the full size and decant into a travel-size misting bottle.)

This will add another layer to your hydration ‘sandwich’ when spritzed on after cleansing and before applying serum. It will boost moisture and protect skin from environmental pollutants common in recirculated airplane air.

woman airplane

An ultra-hydrating serum is absolutely crucial to this line of defense. Go for one brimming with hyaluronic acid – the substance our body makes that is also what dermal fillers and lip fillers are made of. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, so really locks in hydration. Vichy Aqualia Thermal Hydrating Face Serum is filled with HA, and goes well with an oil-free moisturiser such as Origins VitaZing SPF15 Energy-Boosting Tinted Moisturizer with Mangosteen or Nivea Daily Essentials Oil-Free Moisturising Day Cream. If you already have dry skin, go for something like with high-quality, plant-based oils, like REN Satin Perfection BB Cream.

Alternatively, this might be where you pull out the big guns and go for a mask. Even if your flight is only a couple of hours long, this is still worth doing. If you’re flying long haul, it’s an absolute must. Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask  is an oil-free yet creamy layer that blends into skin like a moisturizer, so it doesn’t look like you’re wearing a mask.

Again, if you already have dry skin, you should go for something that contains healthy plant oils. Sukin Hydrating Facial Masque has mango seed butter, plus avocado and jojoba oils, for an intense skin drink. If you prefer a sheet mask, try Soap & Glory Speed Plump Miracle Moisture Mask, which has both hyaluronic acid and sweet orange oil.

woman applying lip balm

Don’t neglect your lips, unless you like that chapped, chewed up, burning sensation of dehydration. Don’t be fooled by the name of Clinique Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask – it’s intensely hydrating and makes a great primer for lipstick during the day. Good old Lanolips 101 Ointment, a favourite of beauty editors everywhere, works a treat for both lips and hands.

At this point, you could leave well enough alone. Just re-spritz every couple of hours and add another layer of your mask or moisturiser if your skin seems to need it. But if you have naturally dry skin, it would be wise to ice the cake with one or two drops of a final, moisture-imparting barrier. Superfacialist Rose Miracle Makeover Facial Oil is so popular it’s often sold out, packed with beneficial plant oils like carrot, raspberry, avocado and calendula oils. Sanctuary Spa Therapist Secret Facial Oil is another highly rated option, with nourishing rosehip, sunflower, jojoba, wheatgerm, frankincense, and rose oils. And if you feel like an indulgent treat, Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil is a cult classic, containing rosewood, patchouli, hazelnut, and blue orchid oils to prevent moisture loss. All three of these options give a beautiful radiance, protecting skin while you (try to) sleep or watch in-flight movies.

If you need to step off the plane looking more sleek than spa-like, that’s easy. Use a tissue to wipe any excess mask or oil from your face, then follow with the tinted BB cream of your choice. Garnier BB Cream Tinted Moisturiser (with SPF 15) and Olay Complete BB Cream SPF 15 Skin Perfecting Tinted Moisturiser both have legions of fans. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, go for Seventeen BB Magic Blemish Balm, which has SPF 25, mattifies skin and minimizes the appearance of pores.

To finish, pull out your blusher/lip tint to bring life to both your mouth and cheeks. Stila Convertible Colour and Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm & Blush are splendid multitaskers that brighten and come in several colours. Then take out your travel mini of Benefit They’re Real! or Benefit Roller Lash and lengthen those lashes. No one will ever guess you’ve just stepped off an airplane.

And if you return home feeling like you need a skin detox and rehydration, you can always book into SISU for an Intraceuticals Oxygen Facial!

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