How Flying Affects Your Skin

From winter getaways to spring break or traveling for work, often getting from point A to point B requires traveling by air. While flying is one of the fastest ways to travel, it can also be one of the quickest ways to cause imbalance in your skin. So what exactly happens to your skin at 30,000 feet?

1. Dry skin
The World Health Organization reports that humidity levels in aircraft cabins are typically less than 20 percent. Low humidity is one of the most common causes of dry skin. To counter dry skin, bring along a small bottle of moisturizer to apply during travel. Remember to limit the size to no more than 3.4 ounces (100 ml) to comply with TSA requirements.

2. Acne Breakouts
Travel can be stressful. From security lines to flight delays and tight layover windows our stress hormones can be in high gear. These stress hormones can increase redness and flare up conditions like eczema and psoriasis. To prevent added irritation, stick to your regular skincare regimen even while traveling.

3. Fluid Retention
Sitting for long periods of time, as well as too much salt intake, causes water retention. You may notice facial puffiness or swollen feet after hours of air travel. Keep yourself hydrated with water during the flight, wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid crossing your feet. The brisk walk in the airport post-flight will help alleviate fluid retention as well.

4. Increased Risk of Skin Cancer
Pilots, cabin crew and frequent fliers take note on this surprising effect. A scientific review published in JAMA Dermatology found that pilots and cabin crew are occupationally exposed to higher levels of UV radiation than the rest of us, making them twice as likely to develop melanoma. If you frequently find yourself on an airplane, be sure to apply a sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection prior to boarding, especially if you are sitting in the window seat.

Skin Struggles?
If you are struggling skin issues and don’t know where to turn, the skin health experts at Forefront Dermatology are ready to help. To find the Forefront dermatologist nearest you, visit the locations page today.