Air travel zaps skin of moisture. It’s probably not a newsflash for frequent flyers, but there’s something about the stale cabin air that leeches the hydration right out of skin. That’s why it’s important to slather your skin with a quality moisturizer before you step on board -- and even again before you land, if it's a long flight. You’ll arrive in style like a true jet setter.
Before you leave for the airport, wash your face with warm water. Make sure it’s not too hot, which can strip your skin of moisture. When you’re done, pat your skin dry -- don’t rub. Rubbing can cause irritation and dryness. Then apply a quality moisturizer to lock in hydration.
Dry and Normal Skin
A heavier, oil-based moisturizer will keep even the driest skin hydrated. Seek out ingredients such as antioxidants, grape seed oil or dimethicone, suggests MayoClinic.com. Even normal skin can become dried out faster than you can say, "Clear skies ahead," during air travel. Keep normal skin hydrated with a lightweight water-based moisturizer; look for a product that contains either cetyl alcohol or cyclomethicone, a silicone-derived ingredient.
Oily and Combination Skin
If you have oily skin, you might be considering skipping moisturizer altogether -- don't. Long flights can dry out and remove essential oils from even the oiliest of skin. Look for a water-based product labeled "non-comedogenic." That means it won't clog pores with unnecessary oils but will keep skin smooth and hydrated. For combination skin that's dry in some areas and oily in others, use different moisturizers for the different areas, says Marie Claire magazine. If your T-zone is oily, apply a lightweight moisturizer there; for dry skin on cheeks, apply a heavier formula.
Sensitive skin is prone to redness or irritation -- both of which can be exacerbated by air travel. Be sure to moisturize, but stick to a moisturizer made especially for sensitive skin. Look for ingredients such as chamomile or aloe which soothe the skin. Avoid anything containing acids, fragrances and dyes which can irritate skin.
If you plan on storing your moisturizer in your carry-on bag, make sure it fits the size regulations. As of February 2013, TSA rules state that liquids, aerosols and gels -- including your moisturizer -- must be smaller than 3.4 ounces or 100 ml. All your liquid carry-on items combined must fit into one quart-size plastic bag. Don’t try to bring your entire tube of moisturizer. There’s a good chance it will be thrown away, and no one wants to waste perfectly good face cream.
Most airlines allow you to buy bottled water after the security checkpoint. Buy a bottle and drink up. The more water you drink before and during the flight, the less parched your skin will look and feel when you depart. Once on board, skip caffeinated beverages and alcohol, as these can leach more moisture out of your skin; stick to water.