How To Care For Your Skin While Traveling

February 11, 2021

Skincare is a high priority for many people and whether for cosmetic or health reasons, nourishing your skin — the body’s largest organ — can be challenging. This is especially true when traveling. 

Traveling presents an array of logistical challenges in terms of making sure you have all the medications you need and making sure you are prepared for the climate, sunshine levels, humidity, and wind shear of a different country.

Skin concerns range widely from person to person, including anxiety over everything from wrinkles, elasticity, and dryness to texture and uneven pigmentation. Dermatologists report that they commonly hear from patients who experience irritated skin, eczema, allergy rashes, or acne while traveling. Some patients are even having trouble maintaining their skincare regimen due to wearing a face mask all the time. 

2020 certainly was not the best year for traveling due to the pandemic. 2021 will likely be more of the same, but if you are planning your next international adventure nonetheless, it is important to consider skincare. Here are a few tips for establishing a healthy and sustainable skincare regimen and routine:

~Keep a regular routine – The more consistent you are with your skincare regimen, the less likely you are to get a breakout. When traveling, make sure you have a special skincare bug-out bag with travel-sized versions of all your products. Also, since part of our regular routine now involves wearing a face mask when in public, pack accordingly and make sure you clean your mask regularly, and take other precautions. 

~Prioritize the essentials – If for whatever reason, your packing time and space are limited, make sure you bring essential skincare products like sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), makeup wipes, face cleanser, and moisturizer. Toners, serums, and other special elixirs are great if you can remember them, but do not forget the basics. 

~Do not use hotel products – This should not come as a surprise to you, but hotels usually do not stock the most high-quality soaps and shampoos. You should bring your own soaps to ensure you remain consistent, avoid allergic reactions, and keep your skin from drying or breaking out due to crappy low-grade soap that is full of chemicals. 

~Focus on hydration – This is not about drinking water (though that actually is an important tip that plays into having healthy skin), but countering the dryness that can come about during plane trips. Due to the high elevation, air pressure, and other factors, plane rides are notorious for drying out the skin. To counter this, plan ahead and bring good moisturizers and applicating sponges (both daytime and nighttime). Additionally, you might want to bring hydrating sheet masks, under-eye masks, and facial mists to apply to your face during the flight. 

~Get yourself a humidifier – Personal, bedside humidifiers are portable, inexpensive, and a good way to protect against dry skin while traveling. There is no way to control the climate and humidity of your travel destination, but running a humidifier while you sleep will keep your skin and lips moisturized and hydrated. 

~Plan for emergencies – Skincare is not just cosmetic; it also applies to injuries, such as an accident that leads to cuts or scrapes. When traveling, you should pack antibiotic ointments to ensure that a skin wound does not fester or get infected. If you are prone to acne outbreaks, you should also bring ointments that help with containing that. Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are popular for this, but you may have your own specially prescribed treatment.

Much of responsible skincare is just common sense: regularly washing and cleaning it; applying sunscreen if you are going to be out in the sun all day; keeping your skin moisturized, etc. But traveling presents special challenges that need to be taken into consideration. 

If you are going to be traveling this year, you should obviously be extremely careful to wear a mask and protect yourself against covid transmission, but you should also think about your skin. If you do not already have a skincare routine, this might be a good time to adopt one. If you do have a routine, stick with it!

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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