Airplane Acne 101

Let's face it, being cooped up at home can get stressful. We want to go out and live our lives to the fullest. That could mean going out with your friends, and sometimes, that could mean traveling domestically, internationally, or both. Whatever you decide, make sure to have a skincare regiment in place. Flights can be one of the fastest, and, might I add, cheaper alternatives. But, that can come at a cost to your skin. The dry air, which in August is usually 50% to 75% humidity in New York City, in any given airplane cabin it'll be around 20%. That's quite a drop in humidity. Those occasional acne flare-ups can be from your frequent traveling (Cancun baby!) or from work, which we understand far too well, can often be your home away from home to many.

When traveling, you're bound to have experience eating new foods, and be in different climates.  But, that's the beauty of traveling, don't you think?  But, no worries, we'll explain why it happens, and how you can prevent it.



It doesn't take much to get stressed at an airport. Not to mention, getting everything, and everybody ready to go to the airport, albeit, your friends, family, or just yourself. Waiting in line, processing your ticket, and putting your luggage on the conveyor belt can be an immediate stress inducer. Hey, you don't know if your luggage will get lost. While, it doesn't happen as much as one might think, the fact remains, it does happen. Not to mention, that the cabin has a different humidity as mentioned above, it isn't the most opportune place to relax. That and when you're actually at your desired destination. Often times, not everything can be planned out to the minute.

Quick but, practiced solution: Prep and meditation. Let's face it, some of us probably won't pack until the night before or the day of, and with that added stress, you might not be able to go to sleep. That means that you're starting off with a disadvantage. Pack, plan, and have everything confirmed ahead of time, so that everything can be as seamless as possible.

In addition to planning everything in advance, meditation can be as or more useful. As Lee Child once said, "Hope for the best, plan for the worst." Meditation not only allows one to de-stress, but also allows one to control themselves in uncertain environments. For example, have you ever had a little kid kick your seat or maybe the person right in front of you put their seat all the way back? You can't control what others do, but you can control what you think, feel and ultimately do.


Jet Lag

Sleep matters, especially when traveling via airplane. Why? Unless you travel all the time, and I mean like George Clooney in Up In The Air. And even then, his character still had some stress. Sleep is vital!

Let's put aside fears and unrelated stress you'll get on a daily basis. From coast to coast, especially for women, flying can be an issue. Specifically, from east to west. You're going to travel through multiple time zones, and that will disrupt your circadian rhythm. "...that means at a certain point, your internal clock has to be reset," explains Dr. Schultz. He further explains that with the stress your body experiences, the adrenal gland secretes cortisone. If that was all, there wouldn't be a problem, but the adrenal gland actually produces both male and female hormones in both sexes. Of course, more than others, but in this case, it leaks a small amount of male hormone called androgen. Flying west, can cause a delayed sleep-wake phase. This is when you sleep and wake up later. While traveling east, your body is in an advanced sleep phase. In simple terms, when traveling west, the time is delayed, while, traveling east, time will be ahead. So, that means that in South Korea, you'll be roughly 14EST - 17PST hours ahead of the US time, while, Europe to the US, the US is behind. The worst thing you can do is take an all-nighter before your flight. Sleeping on the plane is not as refreshing as if you were well rested beforehand.

Simple fix: When traveling, my personal preference is to stay up throughout the flight, and follow the current time at the destination. But, that is sometimes easier said than done. I prefer this method since your body adjusts your level of tiredness from the light (blue light) or the lack of light around you. This will adjust your circadian rhythm so that you can go to sleep more soundly at the right time. But, it also depends on what time your flight is as well, so, be sure to have a good night's sleep before the flight, even if it is a red eye flight. The key is to naturally adjust to the place you are visiting.

Climate changes

Just the same as the cabin's humidity on a plane is comparably different from the climate where you live, it will be vastly different in the place you're visiting. Due to the change in temperature, especially in warmer areas, breakouts are a dime a dozen. If that isn't shell shock to your skin, I don't know what is.

Simple fix: Apply sunscreen and products with antioxidants. Antioxidants will eliminate the free radicals that will damage your skin.


We often underestimate how much moisture we expel that isn't sweat. But, when you think about it, it's quite a bit. With airplane cabins having less than 20% humidity, we'll certainly lose a fair amount in a matter of a few hours. As low humidity causes dehydrated skin, airplanes are deserts in their own right.

Simple fix: There's really only so much one can do when dehydrated. That's regularly drink water.

Related Reads:

Why You Need To Know The Difference Between Dehydrated & Dry Skin

How to Create a Personalized Skincare Routine for Acne


We understand far too well that we travel the world to experience new and exciting cultures, people and, most importantly, food! That being said, sometimes, you need to be aware of what you eat. It may be a cultural experience for you, but you don't want to have one bad experience that can ultimately spoil an otherwise pleasant trip. Among other things, you probably don't want to go off the beaten path in regard to ingredients. But, you might also want to take note of what you normally eat and how much. Note that gut health is interconnected with the skin.

Quick fix: Drink a lot of water and eat low glycemic foods (foods with low glucose, and that digest slowly).


There can be numerous things that are out of your control, but skincare isn't one of them. If you're up in the air, just follow some of these steps, and you'll be all set. Hydrate, minimize stress, and wear some sunscreen is just a few.

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