Preventing Holiday-Travel Meltdowns (at Least for Your Skin)

by Elizabeth Siegel

Nicolas MooreNicolas Moore I learned a valuable lesson at Thanksgiving, and it had nothing to do with gratitude (meh, I never said I was perfect): My skin freaks out when I travel. As in red, dry, dull, and blemished. Awesome combo, right? So I called up Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, and Francesca Fusco, a dermatologist in New York City, to find out if I can keep my complexion in check during the final leg of the holidays...or if I just have to stay put in Brooklyn. Here's the advice they gave me (fingers crossed!):

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Moisturize before you fly, no matter your skin type.
"The dry air on planes does more than dry out your skin," says Zeichner. "It also disrupts your skin's natural barrier, which leads to redness, inflammation, and even pimples." Smooth on a moisturizer with barrier-boosting ceramides and sunscreen, like CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion AM SPF 30 ("You're at 10,000 feet or more above the ground; if you're not wearing sunscreen, close the window shade," says Zeichner). If you tend to break out when you travel, layer an acne treatment with benzoyl peroxide on top (Zeichner likes La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, with 5.5-percent benzoyl peroxide). "I've done a lot of research on priming the skin, and using moisturizer first prevents irritation--especially in dry and cold climates--without compromising the efficacy of acne treatments," he says.


Leave your exfoliator at home. One less thing to cram in your carry-on: "Hold off on using scrubs or skin care with exfoliating ingredients, like glycolic acid," says Fusco. "If your skin is temperamental while you travel, they'll make it worse."

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Hit the bottle. You might want to take a break from being green during the rest of your trip (just a mini break!). "Some people break out as a reaction to washing their face with hard, mineral-rich tap water they're not used to," says Fusco. "Consider splurging and rinsing with bottled water while you're traveling."


Drink a ton of water. "You're probably eating more sugar and salt and drinking more alcohol than usual during the holidays," says Fusco, who notes that it really can make your skin drier, duller, and more prone to breakouts. "If you drink a lot of water at the same time, and for about two days after indulging, it'll help flush out whatever you've ingested before it shows up on your face."

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