8 Airplane Skin Care Tips for Long Flights

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Got a long flight coming up?

You probably already know the havoc that this can cause for your skin, so here are eight airplane skin care tips to ensure that your skin stays refreshed and rejuvenated throughout your journey.

Cleanse Your Skin at the Start of the Flight

You probably already applied a few skin care products before leaving home, and may even be wearing some makeup over the top of that.

Well, once you’re on the plane and settled in your seat, it’s time for all of that to come off.


Because the air on a plane is so dry, and the key to ensuring that your skin stays happy during your long flight is to keep it moisturized and hydrated.

You won’t be able to apply any products onto your skin if you are already wearing some (well, you could, but they wouldn’t be able to penetrate into your skin and have a noticeable effect).

Of course, with liquid restrictions on flights, a liquid cleanser can be quite cumbersome. By all means, pack this in your checked bags, as you will still need a good cleanser once you reach your destination.

However, for the flight itself, cleansing wipes are all you need.

Simply swipe a couple of wipes across your face to clear away any makeup and creams, along with the dust, dirt and grime that will have settled onto your skin while you were at the airport. You will likely be surprised by how much comes off!

Illustration of using cleansing wipes

Worried about the negative environmental impact that cleansing wipes can have?

There are now plenty of biodegradable and compostable wipes available, making these completely eco-friendly.

What should you do once you’ve cleansed?

Either follow the next tip of applying a face mask, or move straight down to the third tip and go for a thick moisturizer instead. Either way, just make sure that you never leave your skin bare after cleansing, especially when on a plane.

Treat Your Skin to a Sheet Mask

This is an airplane skin care tip that so many celebrities swear by…

In fact, you have likely already seen quite a few social media posts of celebrities relaxing on a flight with a sheet mask on their face.

Why has it become so common to wear a face mask on a plane?

Because face masks provide the skin with an intense dose of moisture, antioxidants and other nutrients – basically everything that your skin needs in order to thrive while on the flight. Ideally, look for a hydrating face mask, as this is what your skin needs the most when dealing with the dry air on a plane.

These are some beneficial ingredients to keep an eye out for when it comes to a hydrating sheet mask:

  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Caffeine
  • Ceramides
  • Aloe Vera
  • Shea Butter
  • Cucumber Extract

Sheet masks are usually individually-wrapped, making them easy to slip into your bag.

Don’t want to apply a sheet mask in front of other passengers?

A cream mask may be better suited to you then. These can be rubbed into the skin, just like a moisturizer, but provide the powerful benefits of a face mask.

Use a Rich and Thick Moisturizer

No matter your skin type, a rich and thick moisturizer is a must for the plane. Those with oily skin may think that this is a bit much, but it really is key when it comes to keeping your skin healthy on a long flight.

Wondering if you can use a thin lotion or a serum instead?

Under normal circumstances, this might be fine for your skin. However, the air on a plane is so incredibly dry. It doesn’t take long at all for your skin’s moisture to evaporate into this dry air, leaving your skin totally parched.

The best way to stop this moisture from evaporating is with a moisturizer.

Many people think that the main role of a moisturizer is to literally add moisture to the skin, but it actually does so much more than this…

When applied to the skin, moisturizers form a thin film over the skin’s surface. This prevents the skin’s moisture from evaporating, while also keeping any impurities, allergens and dirt from entering into your skin. The thicker a moisturizer is, the better it will be able to do this.

Can’t find a travel-sized version of your favorite moisturizer?

If this is the case, you may need to put some of your moisturizer into a smaller container. If you have sample-sized containers from other skin care products, simply wash these out and add your moisturizer in.

Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen

Did you think that you would be able to take a break from your sunscreen while on a plane?

Think again…

While the windows on planes do block out UVB rays, UVA rays still shine right through, entering into your skin. What’s even worse is that UVA rays penetrate so much deeper into the skin than UVB rays.

What do UVA rays do to the skin?

Not only are they linked to accelerated skin aging, meaning wrinkles, dark spots and sagging skin, but they also play a role in the development of certain skin cancers.

Many would say that UVA rays are more dangerous than UVB rays…

While you can feel the burning sensation that UVB rays cause on the skin, UVA rays are known as the silent killers.

If you don’t want to have to bring any extra products on to the plane with you, look for a moisturizer that contains SPF. However, make sure that you apply a thick and even layer of this in order to provide your skin with the SPF number stated on the bottle.

Never Mist Without Moisturizing Immediately Afterwards

One common airplane tip that so many people now follow is to mist the skin at regular intervals during a long flight.

However, this can actually cause more harm than good…


As mentioned above, airplane air is so dry. When you mist your skin with a water-based product, it doesn’t take long for this water to evaporate into the air. As it does so, it will also take with it any additional moisture from your skin.

Now, there is no denying that a facial mist can really help to refresh and perk up your skin.

Rather than avoiding the mist altogether, all you need to do is make sure that you apply a layer of moisturizer to your skin after you spray it with your facial mist.

Yes, this is something that you will need to do each and every time you use your mist, even if your mist already contains a few moisturizing ingredients.

If you don’t have the patience for this, then skip the mist and stick to a trusty moisturizer instead.

Stay Hydrated from Within

You probably already know how important it is to keep your body hydrated while you are flying.

This isn’t only good for your health, but for your skin too.

No matter how much you hydrate your skin externally, this won’t make much of a difference unless your body is also hydrated from within.

Here are a few in-flight hydration tips to keep in mind:

  • Stay away from coffee or alcohol
  • Carry a refillable water bottle with you and fill this up whenever you pass a water fountain. Relying on the small cups of water provided to passengers on a flight will not be enough to keep your body hydrated
  • Sip a few herbal teas on the plane. These will not only help with hydration, but will also provide your body with other important antioxidants
  • Stay away from salty airplane snacks and meals
  • Ask your flight attendant for a glass of water. They usually make a point to offer beverages every 2-3 hours anyway, so make sure you take advantage of this

Drinking a glass of warm lemon water before you get on the plane can also help.


Not only will this increase your body’s hydration levels, but it will also give your immune system a huge boost, ensuring that your body does not fall prey to the many germs that live on airplanes.

Use a Facial Oil on Dry Skin

Is your skin type dry?

If your answer is yes, then your skin will find it especially hard to cope with the dry air on a plane.

One way to help it with this is with the use of a facial oil.

Remember the way in which moisturizers work? (It was discussed earlier on.)

Well, a facial oil works in a similar way, but with more intense results.

As you likely already know, oil and water do not mix. By applying an oil to your skin, you basically lock in every bit of moisture that is already within your skin, preventing this from evaporating.

If you do decide to use a facial oil on a plane, make sure that you only do this once you have already applied any other skin care products you plan on using.


Because in the same way that an oil locks water into your skin, it will also prevent any water-based products from entering your skin if you apply them over the top of the oil.

Wondering if there’s a facial oil that can be used on oily skin too?

There are actually a couple of oils out there that can be extremely beneficial to those with oily skin.

One of these is jojoba oil. This oil has a molecular structure that is extremely similar to that of the skin’s natural sebum. When you apply jojoba oil onto oily skin, your skin is tricked into thinking that it has produced that oil itself. This then leads to your skin cutting back on its own oil production, leaving your skin far less oily in the long run.

Squalane is another oil that is great for oily skin, thanks to its lightweight and non-greasy texture. 

Catch Up on Sleep

Planning on spending your entire journey binging on the in-flight movies and other entertainment?

This may be tempting, but it would be so much better for your skin if you set aside enough time for sleep too.

Sleep is so important for your skin, as this is the time when your skin cells heal and regenerate.

Find it hard to fall asleep on a plane?

You’re not alone – this is a problem that so many people have!

Here are a few tips to help you out with that:

  • A window seat usually means less disturbance from people walking up and down the aisle. You also won’t have to deal with your fellow passengers climbing over you whenever they need the bathroom
  • While the seats with extra legroom may be tempting, keep in mind that these are often saved for families with children, so you could end up next to a crying baby for the entire flight
  • Stay away from caffeine or sugar-filled food and drinks
  • Natural sleeping aids, such as melatonin, can encourage your body to fall asleep
  • Bring a neck pillow with you, as this will help to keep your head comfortable while you drift off
  • Bring your own noise-cancelling headphones, and make sure that you have some calming playlists saved on your phone or tablet
  • Keep your seatbelt buckled over the top of your blanket. This is a signal to the flight attendants that you don’t want to be disturbed
  • Use an eye mask to prevent the lights in the plane from disturbing you

Everyone has their own way of falling asleep on a plane, so find what works for you, especially if you regularly take long flights.

You want your skin to look its very best when you reach your destination, making it important to know how to properly care for your skin while in the air. From keeping your skin moisturized to keeping your body hydrated, these eight tips will ensure that you are giving your skin everything it needs to cope with air travel.

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