Tips to keep your skin healthy while traveling

Going on vacation? Lucky you! But remember, every time you board a plane, head to the beach, or enjoy that mountaintop view, you are exposing your skin to a new and often stressful environment.


Dr. Helen Malone, a dermatologist at Baylor College of Medicine, says the main issue with flying on an airplane is that the humidity on the plane is very low.

In fact, the humidity on an airplane is normally below 20%, which can cause skin irritation and dryness. Malone suggests using an ultra-hydrating moisturizer before the flight and taking a break from products that tend to dry out your skin, such as retinol.

Dr. Helen Malone
Skin care in dry climates

Traveling to a drier climate? Malone recommends these tips to protect your skin from the harsh weather:

  • Use a daily moisturizer
  • Avoid scented products
  • Avoid bathing more than once a day
  • Consider a sensitive-skin body wash, which can help prevent excessive drying

No matter where you are traveling you should protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays at all times (even while on an airplane). Malone says the most necessary item to pack is a broad spectrum titanium- or zinc-based sunscreen with at least an SPF 30.

Destinations with drier air can also cause rashes like eczema, especially to those who suffer from dry skin already.

Skin care in hot and humid climates

Heat, high humidity, and the stress involved with traveling can cause conditions such as rosacea, which causes redness and small bumps on the face. If these skin conditions are an issue while traveling, Malone recommends visiting a dermatologist prior to your trip for proper treatment.

“Individuals with rosacea are typically put on a topical regimen,” Malone said. “I also recommend an oral antibiotic if a patient is going to be in a situation that would cause a flare up, such as traveling to a sunny environment or doing something that’s stressful, to prevent breakouts.”

Keeping skin moisturized

While makeup is safe to wear throughout the day, it’s important to always add a sunscreen and hydrating moisturizer to your makeup routine while traveling. Malone recommends using a tinted moisturizer with SPF to hydrate your face and provide protection. Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated is also important.

“If you are going to dry climates you should bring moisturizer – even if you don’t normally need it,” she said. “Using sunscreen is the most important thing you can do to prevent skin aging and also prevent skin cancer.”

Dr. Malone is cosmetics director and assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology at Baylor. Learn more about the Dermatology Clinic.

-By Kaylee Dusang

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