How to Avoid “Airplane Acne”

Whether you’re traveling for the holidays, a much needed vacation, or an important meeting, your trip can be ruined when you’re greeted by an unwelcome acne breakout upon your arrival at your destination.
Woman sitting in airplane seat

Whether you’re traveling for the holidays, a much needed vacation, or an important meeting, your trip can be ruined when you’re greeted by an unwelcome acne breakout upon your arrival at your destination. Airplane acne is a real thing, and many travelers are affected by it.

Dr. Saedi Nazanin headshot

Dr. Nazanin Saedi

The dry air on airplanes can irritate your skin, no matter what type you have. For those with already dry skin, the air on a plane can exacerbate the dryness, while those with oily skin could produce excess oils to compensate for the dryness.

Here is what you can do before, during, and after your travel to ensure your skin stays flawless when you fly.

Before: Clean your skin and moisturize with a thick, non-fragranced cream. It is best to refrain from makeup on an airplane as to not clog your pores, but if you are going to wear makeup, use a non-comedogenic type.

During: Avoid touching your face, as many people do when they rest their head on their hands while reading or watching a movie on the plane. You could transfer dirt and impurities onto your skin that will cause you to break out.

After: Shortly after the flight, cleanse your skin so you can quickly wash away any impurities. Bring a travel size moisturizer that you can use when you land so you can get going and get glowing!

Aside from the air associated with traveling on planes, packing, going through TSA, and navigating the airport can be a stressful experience. Elevated stress levels can cause breakouts, so it is important to focus on alleviating your stress before, during, and after your travel.

Dr. Nazanin Saedi is a dermatologist and the director of the Jefferson Laser Surgery and Cosmetic Dermatology Center.

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