Your Skin: Tips for Flying

Woman on airplane watching a movieWhen it comes to vacationing for spring break, there is one thing almost everyone overlooks: the time you spend in the air can do a number on your skin. While we have already discussed what you need to pack to protect your skin during your vacation, here are a few DOs and DON’Ts to ensure your skin looks its best before, during, and after your flight.

Before your flight:

  • DO…drink water. Pressurized airplane cabins zap moisture out of the air, creating a very dry atmosphere. This can cause dry eyes, dry nasal membranes, and dry skin. Drink plenty of bottled water before and during the flight.
  • DO…apply moisturizer. It is best to apply moisturizer right after you wash your skin, while it is still slightly damp. This will help lock the moisturizer in your skin instead of letting it evaporate into the dry air.
  • DO…apply sunscreen over your moisturizer. There are two types of UV rays: UVA, the long wave, and UVB, the short wave. UVA rays cause long-term skin damage and aging. UVB rays cause short-term sunburns. Car windows let in UVA rays and only filter the UVB rays, but we are unsure whether plane windows filter either of the rays. To be safe, apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on all exposed skin.
  • DON’T…wear wool or other harsh materials. These fabrics can further irritate your skin, causing redness and discomfort.


During your flight:

  • DO…choose an aisle over a window seat. This will minimize your exposure to UV rays. (An added benefit: aisle seats make it easier for you to get up and stretch your legs.) If a window seat is your only option, roll down the window shade to minimize your exposure to UV rays.
  • DO…wear a lip balm. The skin on your lips is very delicate and prone to drying. A lip balm will help prevent dry, chapped lips. Use one with an SPF for added sun protection.
  • DON’T…drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages during the flight. Both are diuretics, causing your body to excrete more water than it normally would. They will actually make you more dehydrated.

After your flight:

  • DO…continue to drink water and apply moisturizer. This will help your skin to look great throughout your vacation.
  • DON’T…forget sunscreen. You are probably headed to a sunny, warm vacation spot. Sunscreen plays an important part in preventing long-term sun damage. Apply it 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapply it every 2 hours or after swimming or heavy sweating. Find out more facts about sunscreen on the American Academy of Dermatology’s Web site.
Published on 03/03/2011 | Last updated on 12/20/2016