In the past month I’ve spent over 24 hours on board an aeroplane. Typically I would dread flights – firstly because I hate, hate, hate flying and spend the whole time convinced we’re all going to die… but secondly because my skin always kicks off after a flight. However, that all changed this time and a lot of people on instagram asked me to share my tips on how to deal with rosacea and long haul flights. Ask and you shall receive!
(Please excuse the awful phone-camera-quality photo above… obviously taken in-flight!)
Flights are tricky for most people’s skin, even if you are genetically blessed with a perfect epidermis. The air on a flight is incredibly dry (about 20% humidity apparently); it’s also highly pressurised which means less blood flow to the skin. Add into that free booze which also dries the skin; not moving around which can result in water retention; plus anxiety which releases stress hormones which are an instant trigger for skin conditions like rosacea, psoriasis etc. That is quite a lot for your poor skin to deal with, so a bit of pampering is really important if you don’t want to deal with unhappy skin getting in the way of your holiday.
The below may seem really excessive to some, especially if you don’t really have a skincare routine to speak of, but – in my defence – I don’t/can’t sleep on planes so I have alllll the time in the world and I LOVE applying skincare. It relaxes me and helps me to think. Plus you’re just sat there watching films on the world’s tiniest screen so you might as well be doing something useful. Even if you only take one or two of the tips below, your skin will still thank you. And obviously, these are the products I used but if you have your own mask/moisturiser/facial mist/cleanser etc that you prefer, just use them instead!
So, waffle over, here are my tips for handling rosacea and long haul flights. I hope you find them helpful!
FIRST HOUR OF THE FLIGHT:
Almost as soon as the plane is in the air, I remove my contact lenses and make up. I’ve waxed lyrical about Bioderma Sensibio H2O micellar water so many times but it really is wonderful for removing make up, dirt, oil, and doesn’t irritate my skin. This dinky little bottle is 100ml so it’s made for flights and holidays.
THROUGHOUT THE FLIGHT:
Facial mists are a tricky one because if you spritz and go, they can actually dry out your skin as the mist evaporates. In an already dry atmosphere, that is not what you want. However, if you trap that moisture underneath another product (see below) it can be very useful. The Caudalie Eau De Beauté facial mist is a cult product and even my husband likes using it – the smell is very herbal and comforting so I find it incredibly relaxing and this is probably why I chose this spray over ones that are more hydrating. It does contain alcohol and fragrance so it may not be suitable for those sensitive to those ingredients. If so, I also love the Avéne Thermal Water spray, which contains only the magical Avéne water so will be kind to even the most picky of skins.
I’d also recommend avoiding the free booze and sticking to water. I know, I know – so boring! But your skin will thank you. The same goes for salty snacks I’m afraid (which pains me to say as I’m a crisp fiend!)
Every time I go to Sephora, I stock up on their own brand masks. They are absolutely wonderful and are deceptively big. Their sleeping masks are my favourites because they are really affordable, soothing, and easy to pop in your handbag for a flight or take a few for a holiday. I used the Sephora Lotus sleeping mask on the outward flight and the Sephora Rose sleeping mask on the way back, and here is the biggest tip I have for you: just keep applying. I found this tip via the amazing Dr Sam Bunting (who you should all be following as she’s wonderful) and I think it is 80% responsible for my great post-flight skin. The basic concept is that you apply your moisturiser/light mask and then as soon as your skin doesn’t feel sticky/tacky any more… you reapply. Yep. Essentially you are never letting your skin dry out. This meant that I was topping up the Sleeping Mask roughly every 2 hours of my 12 hour flight. Yes, it’s a faff. Yes, I imagine I’ve lost a few of you here. Also, yes, that little pot lasted through about 6 applications – I told you it was deceptively big! But I cannot fully explain how calm and happy my skin was when I got off the plane: my make up went on so well, my skin was glowing, I looked rested even though I hadn’t slept… it was miraculous. Obviously, if you want to sleep on your flight (like a normal person) then just do what you can. Apply a generous layer of the mask before you go to sleep and reapply when you wake up. I’m just telling you what worked for me! On previous holidays I’ve actually used these sleeping masks as my nightly moisturiser and one pot has lasted a week – I just reseal the pot each night. AMAZING LITTLE THINGS.
If I could marry a body lotion, this would be it. The Laura Mercier Ambre Vanillé Soufflé Body Créme smells so incredible that I spent the entire flight resisting the urge to lick myself. I think that’s frowned on. I wouldn’t use this as my regular hand cream as it would bankrupt me but as a treat or a way to perk up your mood, it’s dreamy.
If I had a pound for every time I’ve recommended the Nuxe Rêve De Miel lip balm… I would probably buy stocks in the stuff. I use this lip balm every night before bed and it’s what keeps my lips in tiptop condition even after all the matte lipsticks I wear. A pot lasts forever and I can’t be without it.
The Trilogy Rosehip facial oil* is a great product for rosacea so I always have a bottle in the flat, but these tiny little bottles are great for travelling and are also refillable (sadly I think they were limited edition but I hope they rethink that as they would be so popular). During the flight I applied this to my cuticles and nails to keep them hydrated (and used it as my facial oil while on holiday).
Although I was sat next to the window, I kept my blind closed throughout the flight. The sun and heat through the window has triggered a rosacea flare up in the past so I just keep it closed now. However, if you’re the kind of person who likes to look out of the window PLEASE remember to take sunscreen with you. You are closer to the sun and therefore more prone to sun-damage, something lots of people forget! That doesn’t just count for those with rosacea and long haul flights – that’s all of you *stern look*.
LAST HOUR OF THE FLIGHT:
The Sephora Green Tea eye mask is a dream product: my eyes get so itchy and tired on flights due to the dry air, ocular rosacea and lack of sleep but these perked me right up. I applied them about 40 minutes before we landed to help me look less like a zombie.
Another product that helps to perk everything up is the 111Skin Bio Cellulose Facial Treatment Mask*. Instead of the sheet masks you might be used to, this is made of a solid, gel-like material (it kind of feels like those silicone gel cushions you put in your shoes). Some people hate the texture but I love it: it’s like a dry but slimy feel that is so cooling and soothing – perfect for people like me who suffer with over-heated skin. These are expensive masks (they work out at £17 per mask), which is why I save them for times when I really need them, but I find they are a lot more intensive than the sheet masks. The latter tend to dry out quite quickly, whereas I tend to wear these for nearly an hour because the product isn’t evaporating from the mask as it’s sitting on your skin. I really notice a difference in the fine lines and texture of my skin after using these.
And lastly – phew! – is the Pixi Rose Flash Balm*. I’m not a huge fan of the smell of rose but my skin loves this gel-cream. It’s designed to moisturise, brighten, and revitalise the skin, all of which are things I need right before I step off a plane. I didn’t want to apply make up over all of the hard work I’d done (especially as I knew we were getting into a taxi at the airport and heading straight to our hotel/flat), so I just cleansed my skin with Bioderma, then applied this lovely balm. It added a fresh glow to my skin, without looking greasy or shiny. During the holiday, I also used it as a quick mask on a morning to give me an extra bit of oomph.
And that is how I deal with rosacea and long haul flights! I think by explaining my routine in so much detail it makes it sound really complicated, but actually each step took seconds. I understand that for many people this would seem very high maintenance but, as with anything, you get out what you put in. If your skin is fine after flights, that’s great. I mean…I hate you, but really, good for you! If you like to sleep for 8 hours and don’t have time to keep applying products, just do it a few times before and after your snooze. Perhaps you’ll get bored after a couple of face masks and applying hand cream. That’s fine! Whatever works for you is good. I’m not saying this is the only way to achieve happy post-flight skin, I’m just telling you what I do and you can pick and choose from it… like a delicious, glowy skin buffet.
How do you deal with rosacea and long haul flights? Even if you don’t have rosacea, I’d love to hear what products or tips you utilise to leave you feeling and looking good. Let me know in the comments below.
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