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3 Reasons Your Skin Might Look Worse When You Travel + How To Deal

Hannah Frye
Author:
November 22, 2023
Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
By Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
Woman doing skincare in the mirror
Image by Daniel de la Hoz / iStock
November 22, 2023
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I swear my complexion has more travel anxiety than I do. On any given day away from home, I’m highly susceptible to increased dryness, breakouts, and texture.

If you're in the same boat, you’ll be glad to know I asked board-certified dermatologist Rebecca Marcus, M.D., FAAD to explain why this happens and what to do about it. To come, some quick travel skin tips. 

1.

The reason: A change in weather

“Flying on airplanes is extremely dehydrating to the skin, and changes in your ambient environment may dehydrate skin if you are going to an area with dryer air or less humidity, such as the mountains,” she says.

What to do about it

To avoid skin dryness, you’ll want to call upon super hydrating products–probably more than you’re used to. Rather than travel with a light gel, bring along a rich hydrating cream. You may even consider layering noncomedogenic oils on top with ingredients like jojoba, rosehip, and grapeseed oil to lock in the moisture. If you’re out and about, reapply these moisturizers at the first sign of dryness to prevent a disrupted skin barrier (flushing, peeling, irritation, etc.)
2.

The reason: Your diet & sleep patterns are up for grabs

During most travel be it for vacation, holidays, or work, you’ll probably eat and sleep a bit differently than you’re used to—and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, Marcus warns that these changes can show up as dull, lackluster skin appearance, puffy eyes, and the like. 

While you should get the most of your days off, it’s important to know that your food lineup and your sleep patterns will impact your skin during travel, so have some extra help on hand. 

What to do about it

You may consider tossing some skin supplements and sleep supplements in your travel bag for extra support. In addition, drink plenty of water and seek out nutrient-dense snacks in between celebratory meals. 
3.

The reason: You’re skipping skin care steps

Some people may bring their entire product lineup with them, but most people will cut down their skin care routine to save suitcase space. This is totally reasonable, but you may want to be a bit more intentional about where you’re cutting—are you leaving behind your treatment steps that keep your skin smooth and taut? Forgetting your trusty SPF? Skipping the double-cleansing step?

What to do about it

There’s no saying you need to bring it all, but try to evaluate what steps in your routine are most essential and bring them along, even if you have to invest in refillable travel-size bottles. The more you can stick with your routine, the better—especially when it comes to treatments like retinol, chemical exfoliants, vitamin C, and so on. 

The takeaway

Traveling can wreak havoc on your skin thanks to a change in weather and humidity, lack of sleep, nutrition shifts, and a half-done skin care routine. To mitigate dry skin and breakouts during travel, be mindful of what products you bring along, prioritize rich hydrating creams, and sneak in a nap or healthy snack when you can. Here, more ways to relieve dry winter skin

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