Travelling can often be stressful – between tedious packing, getting to the airport on time and the gnawing worry that your luggage might get lost somewhere along the way, there’s not much room left for enthusiasm.

What’s more, spending more than a couple of hours in a cramped seat of an aircraft flying 35,000ft above ground is a torture on its own.

And yet, travel woes don’t end there. Travelling, especially on a plane, can be a pain for your skin as well.

The main culprit for skin issues during air travel is the lack of moisture in the cabin. This can cause your complexion to become dull and flaky.

Moreover, because of overall stress and lack of proper sleep on red-eye flights, your skin may act up and end up being inflamed or covered in breakouts by the time you land.

The good news is that long flights can be a great excuse to pamper yourself and arrive at your destination sporting soft, radiant-looking skin.

With a little bit of advanced planning, you will be able to pack a punch in those 100ml or less.

Fasten your seatbelt and let’s find out how to beat those annoying travel skin issues!

Makeup Leftovers

There is nothing worse than having day-old make-up sit on your face when you are traveling long distances.

We totally get it if you want to look glammed up for the airport (not everyone is into the sweatpants and messy buns look), but it’s important not to let all that gunk accumulate on your face for prolonged periods of time.


Because you may end up with way worse skin under all that makeup by the time you step off the plane.

This is why, if you want to minimize the occurrence of breakouts, it’s best that you forego the base products and start your journey make-up free.

And if you feel like you absolutely can’t go around without at least a bit of foundation – opt for something lightweight like tinted moisturizer or BB cream.

You might also want to prep your skin with a silicon primer, so you have a protective barrier between your skin and the makeup product.

Dirt and Bacteria

If you do choose to wear makeup to the airport, you might want to consider removing it when you board the plane.

The combination of dry cabin air and product-saturated skin can result in breakouts and dull, brittle complexion.

You can easily rectify this problem by gently removing makeup from your skin and making sure it’s being hydrated throughout the duration of your flight.

Since airplanes (and TSA rules) don’t exactly lend themselves well to an elaborate cleansing routine, you’ll have to choose something simple and compact.

Make-up wipes are an ideal cleansing product when on the go and will do a fine job of removing makeup, grease and pollutants from your face, as well as prep your skin for additional layers of moisture.

Dry, Dehydrated Skin

Pressurized cabin air is notoriously dry and can wreak havoc on your skin.

This is why it’s important to keep hydrated around the clock, especially if you’re on a long-haul flight.

The most obvious way you can do this is from the inside –  by drinking plenty of water.

When it comes to your face, it’s crucial to pack a product that can achieve a lot with a little.

Look for moisturizers that are infused with soothing ingredients like botanical oils and Aloe Vera, which will help boost your skin’s moisture levels and keep it hydrated throughout the journey.

If you are on a red eye, you might want to consider taking your mid-air moisturizing routine a step further by using a face mask.

Ideally, you should choose a product that’s rich in moisture, yet travel-friendly, like the increasingly popular Korean sheet masks. They usually come in individual packaging, so they are super-easy to apply and remove – even mid-flight.

All you have to do is sit back with your in-flight entertainment of choice and let the mask do its job – your skin will look plump and fresh when you show up at the arrivals gate!

Puffy, Irritated Eyes

Airplanes aren’t exactly the best place to catch up on sleep.

Between the uncomfortable seats, the restless passenger that somehow always ends up sitting next to you and constant interruptions for meals, drinks or turbulence warnings, it’s a miracle if you manage to squeeze in an hour-long nap during your long haul flight.

All this can result in puffy and irritated eyes.

One way you can prevent this is by drenching your under-eye area with nourishing gel patches.

Slap them on while you watch that latest Hollywood blockbuster and you will leave the plane with a refreshed, brightened look.

Another tool that can instantly fix dehydrated, puffy eyes is an eye roller. This airport security-friendly accessory will cool down your skin and give you a relaxing massage in the process.

If your eyes tend to dry out and become itchy due to pressurized air, just slip a small bottle of eye drops into your purse before you go onto the plane.

To give your eyes that extra awake look, make sure to perk up your lashes with an eyelash curler just before you land.

Set the curl with a bit of clear, glossy mascara and no one will guess you’ve just been on a red eye!

Chapped Lips

There has been a lot of talk about skin, but the truth is, the first place you will start to notice cabin air’s disastrous effects is your lips.

The lack of moisture in the air will quickly cause your lips to become dry, chapped and irritated.

Here are some preventive measures you can take to stop your lips from feeling parched during travel.

Make sure to exfoliate your lips before you leave your house. You can do this either with a lip scrub or a DIY mixture of your own.

If you prefer the homemade option, just combine the following ingredients:

  • One teaspoon of softened coconut oil
  • One teaspoon of brown sugar
  • One teaspoon of honey

Mix them well, then apply them on your lips, massaging them in gentle, circular motions.

Not only will a quick scrub before travelling boost the blood flow and remove any dead skin cells, it will also prep your lips so they can fully absorb all the hydrating products once on the plane.

While you’re up in the air, make sure to regularly coat your lips with a moisturizing balm.

If you want to go the extra mile, pack a lip mask that will make your lips even more supple and soft (bonus point: you will also have an excuse not to chit-chat with your fellow passengers).

Finally, if you want to bring back color into your lips before landing, apply a lightweight, moisturizing lip product (tint or gloss) and your lips will be as lush as ever.

Cracked Hands

Another victim of moisture-starved cabin air are your hands.

You might notice your hands getting dry, itchy and extra-sensitive during long-haul flights, especially if you are travelling during winter, when your hands are already exposed to harsh weather conditions.

The best way to counterbalance the lack of moisture in the air is to keep your hands hydrated around the clock.

Pack your favorite hand cream in your cabin luggage and slather it on your hands every couple of hours.

Not only will this keep the skin on your hand smooth and supple, it will also help prevent the adverse effects of harsh commercial-grade soaps that are often found in public restrooms.

Also, stay away from bold nail polishes, as they can easily chip during travel, which will make your hands look untidy.

Opt instead for a clean, polish-free look. If you can’t live without lacquered nails, go for a clear or nude polish.

Greasy Hair and T-zone

The biggest irony of airplane’s arid air is that it will simultaneously dry out your skin while causing your glands to produce more oil, resulting in your nose, forehead, chin and hair getting greasier than usual.

We know, it’s a real doozy.

Still, there are some ways you can prevent looking like a big shiny blob when you step out of the arrivals.

First of all, as tasty as they can be, try to avoid the dry airport snacks that are saturated with salt and oils. Opt instead for healthier bites, like fruit and nuts.

Next, make sure you stay hydrated during your flight. Drinking plenty of fluids like water and tea will prevent your skin from producing excess sebum.

If you still notice shine on your T-zone, it’s best to embark on your trip armed with blotting paper, which you can reach for any time you feel like you need to de-grease your skin.

If you want to block the shine completely before you leave the plane, pack a small brush and translucent powder and dust the critical areas.

Finally, if your hair is the one that bears the brunt of your oil glands’ hard work, then you might want to consider packing a travel-sized dry shampoo in your cabin luggage.

Dry shampoo has been a godsend for anyone who battles a greasy scalp and can be a lifesaver during long journeys.

Simply spritz in intro your roots and use your fingers to distribute to product.

You will be left with bouncy, voluminous hair free of grease.

Sun Damage

Regardless of whether you’re one of those people who uses sunscreen as part of their everyday skin care routine (which you should be!) or not, skipping out on this essential product if you’re travelling during the day is a big no-no.

Even though you might think being on a plane shields you from the harmful effects of the sun, the opposite may very well be true.

The air at higher altitudes tends to be thinner, and the sun’s damaging UV rays even more intense.

If you happen to be seated in the window seat, this means the sun can even further dry out your skin and contribute to age spots, hyperpigmentation and accelerated signs of aging.

Needless to say, sunscreen is a must-have item on long haul daytime flights!

Just grab a travel-sized product with a lightweight, water-resistant formula. Apply it before your flight and reapply often if you happen to be exposed to sun for prolonged periods of time.

Dull Complexion

Perhaps, despite your best efforts, you still aren’t pleased with the state of your skin by the end of your flight.

Luckily, the seatbelt sign has just lit up and everyone is preparing for descent, which means you have an extra 15 minutes to get your face in tip-top shape.

If you’ve been taking care of your skin for the duration of the flight, i.e. your skin is clean and prepped with moisturizer or primer, you can then proceed to perk it up using a couple of makeup tricks that can completely transform your face.

The key to nailing the natural, yet glowing look while travelling is to use moisture-packed products that will counteract that nasty cabin air your skin had to endure for hours.

If you feel like you need proper coverage, go for an easy-to-use, hydrating formula. Cushion foundations can be great for this purpose, as they are travel-friendly and super-convenient to apply when on the go.

Concealer is arguably even more potent when it comes brightening up your face after a long, arduous flight.

Apply it under your eyes, around your nostrils and anywhere else you have redness or blemishes. Blend it out using your fingers.

Brush out your brows or apply a tiny bit of brow mascara if you feel like they need more definition.

Add a dab of pink-based liquid blush to bring back life into your cheeks and diffuse it using the warmth of your fingertips.

Finally, add a coat of your favorite tinted lip balm and you are ready for touchdown!