In-flight Skincare-or how not to have a Break-out after Long-Haul Travel

ImageWhen I get on a plane these days, I treat it like a military operation-I’ve had too many instances where I’ve arrived at the other end crispy dry, broken-out and red-eyed (aka jet-lag acne….sounds so glam ironically). Not the best thing if you’re travelling for business and expected to ‘perform’ at the other end. So I’ve devised a kit of products, which I know will maintain the status-quo-and mean that I get off the plane looking fresh, hydrated and ready to work.  You will need to go to a store like Muji to get some of those small travel-sized pots to decant the bigger products into, in order to keep the powers that be happy re the 100ml threshold.

Remember what you’re battling against is a) horrendously low humidity, meaning skin WILL get dry and b) stress; air-travel is inherently a stress on our systems, particularly if it’s long-haul, and disrupts sleep. For those who are acne-prone and already teetering on the brink of a fresh break-out because their skin is clogged, this combination is enough to send the process into freefall and trigger a fresh flurry of lovely, bumpy red numbers.

So once you’ve boarded, settled and the seat-belts sign is off, get thee to the bathroom with your kit.

1)   Remove  make-up. I recommend using a micellar lotion with a cotton pad-I like Avene Micellar Lotion as it’s non-comedogenic (I know I sound like a broken record but this is SO important) and take all your make-up off. Wash-off cleansers are not practical on airplanes-I know, I’ve tried (and flooded the bathroom floor, resulting in unpleasant wet socks. Nice.)

2)   Problem-solve. Apply a gentle-but-therapeutic product to bare skin, targeting all trouble-prone areas to suppress any imminent ruptures. I like La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo particularly in this context because the gentle BHA works as an an anti-inflammatory, exfoliant and clog-clearer; whilst niacinamide has anti-acne benefits but will also help fortify your skin’s barrier function, helping to prevent moisture loss and keep skin supple.

3)   Hydrate. This is something all acne-sufferers are terrified of. I see it in their eyes when I tell them they will need moisturiser to manage the side-effects of their acne meds. But have faith-there are products out there which will not make acne flare-and, yes, you guessed it, they’re non-comedogenic. If you let acne-prone skin dry out, not only will it get dry (doh!), it will revert to its ‘stressed state’ response and break-out. So: the products I will happily spoon on to an acne sufferer’s skin are: anything Cetaphil-the Moisturising Lotion is great for most, but if very dry especially in winter, then it’s good to have the Cream too. And they come in really handy 14g samples sized tubes-perfect for air-travel. I also love Effaclar H Compensating Moisturiser from La Roche Posay.

4)   Soothe. Areas like the lips and hands really suffer, so be sure to apply a lip balm regularly and pamper your hands and cuticles. Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream cannot be beaten for lips and cuticles. Cetaphil Moisturising Cream will serve double-duty for hands too.

Depending on the length of the flight, I will repeat steps 2 and 3 every so often (3 especially). Take your own eye-mask, cashmere wrap and socks (even in Economy, this brings a touch of First-Class to the whole experience) and try to relax/sleep.  Minimize alcohol and drink lots of water.

Before landing, I will cleanse and apply a light layer of moisturiser. Then conceal any areas of redness  and dark circles with a little Vichy Dermablend Liquid Foundation. Add a pop of blush to the cheek, a layer of gloss (Nars Pillowtalk is my current fave) and a touch of mascara and I’m ready to get things done.-just add a  well-cut navy blazer for polish a la Elle Macpherson and feel……well, a little bit smug.

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