Charleston Dermatology Blog

Healthy Skin & Air Travel

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With the hectic holiday season in full swing, air travel is at an all-time high. And if you are one of the lucky ones who will be spending time in the air over the next few weeks, you’ll inevitably experience the issues that come from being at 35,000 feet.

While traveling by air, your body loses roughly one cup of water per hour that you spend in the sky. Pair that with the fact that an airplane’s cabin is less than 20 percent humidity (compared to an average home that is at least 30 percent humidity or higher), and you can quickly see why your skin tends to dry out a lot faster when you’re flying.

To help you combat the dry air you’ll face on airplanes, we’re sharing some useful tips to keep your skin looking holiday picture-perfect!


Drink as much water as you can. As we mentioned previously, your body loses more water when you’re on an airplane and there is less humidity in the cabin. Drinking water when you’re traveling is essential both for the health of your skin and your body. Avoid the temptation of drinking coffee, alcohol or soda on your flight and opt for water or herbal tea instead. Pro Tip: You can get a refill on your water, all you have to do is ask!


Take a break mid-flight to clean your face with a gentle cleanser or cleansing wipes. This will help remove any dirt or dead skin cells that may have built up while you’ve been traveling and will give your skin a much-needed refresh before you land. If possible, consider applying some oil or moisturizer afterward to help lock in moisture. Which brings us to our next tip…


If there’s one thing you can do to help keep your skin looking and feeling its best while you travel, it’s moisturizing. Don’t fall into the trap of using hydrating sprays or water-based products when you’re traveling. When the air is dry — like it is on an airplane — it looks for water wherever it can. Which means, the air will soak up any water you may have on your skin. The best type of moisturizing products are ones that are oil or cream-based, as these will lock moisture in. For longer flights, considering using a moisturizing mask mid-flight to give your skin a hydration boost.


Using toner before or during your flight will help your skin maintain evenly balanced moisture levels. Skin is naturally acidic, typically with a pH balance of between five and six on a scale of 0 to 14. When the pH balance of our skin gets out of whack because of the alkaline nature of soap, toner can help restore balance, keeping oily skin from getting too greasy and keeping dry skin retain moisture.

However you choose to celebrate this holiday season, we hope you remember to take care of your skin health by following these helpful tips and making sure to balance those holiday sweets with some fruit and vegetables every now and then. And, as always, start 2019 off on the right foot by scheduling your annual dermatology check-up!

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