Here are some travel tips for your skin this winter that will leave you with travel-happy skin!
Dry skin from the airplane environment. Pressurized air has very little humidity, so skin becomes dehydrated and dry. The longer the flight, the more moisture gets depleted from your skin. This is especially difficult for people with naturally dry skin or those with eczema. When the skin becomes more dry, it can feel tight and itchy and cause an eczema flare. What can you do? To help prevent moisture loss, drink plenty of fluids before, during and after the flight. Coffee and alcohol don’t count. Apply moisturizers more frequently leading up to and the day of your flight. Refresh your skin with a natural water mist during the flight followed by your facial moisturizer.
High altitude. If you’re headed skiing, the mountains overall have lower oxygen levels, higher UV light exposure, low humidity, higher winds and lower temperatures. All of these factors put your skin at a higher risk for dryness and sunburn. Dry skin from the low humidity, cold and higher winds, will lead to cracked itchy skin and chapped lips. Apply thick moisturizing cream after showers and prior to going outside, especially before skiing, both to hydrate and to protect. Higher altitude means closer to the sun and the need for better sun protection – reapply often! Remember, UV rays reflect tremendously from the snow.
Changes in humidity. Traveling often means a change in climate. Our skin is naturally composed of mostly water. When we are in low humidity environments, the water in our skin evaporates. This leads to dryness or flares in eczema. In high humidity environments, dry skin might improve and eczema may feel much better, but for those with oilier complexions, it may flare acne or rosacea breakouts. Prepare for the type of environment you are headed to before you travel. Pack the appropriate gentle cleanser, creamier vs lighter moisturizers, or oil-blotting papers. Beware of hotel skin products (soaps, lotions) as these are new to your skin and are often more drying than what you are used to at home.
Hot tub folliculitis. Say what?? Yes, it’s a thing, and trust us, you don’t want it. Soaking in a hot tub can certainly be relaxing, but it can come with a skin infection a few days after exposure from swimming in a warm pool or lake, or most often from a hot tub. The bacteria Pseudomonas gets trapped in our skin follicles and causes an itchy bumpy rash. Anyone can get it from a single exposure, but not everyone will. Don’t be the one! It usually clears on its own, but often lasts for weeks so many people will end up seeing us for treatment.
Sunburn. It is easy to forget proper sun protection at some point when traveling. Sunburns may seem like a temporary problem, but there are longterm effects. Even just a few over a lifetime can cause premature aging (wrinkles and sunspots) along with the increased risk of all types of skin cancers. Be smart with your sun protection – reapply every two hours and keep it with you when you go walking or exploring. Use a broad-spectrum product with SPF >30, ideally containing zinc or titanium. UVA (the more cancer-causing form of UV light) penetrates normal clothing, so investing in SPF shirts/clothes is well worth it.
Travel safely this February for school vacation or anytime you might get away!