Here's what it takes to save your skin while flying.
Be it for work or pleasure, flying abroad or even within the country has become a common feature for many. Being in flight can be fun, especially if it's your first time but, besides the check-in and other things, you also need to take a closer look at yourself. Without being aware, many changes are happening in the body; in the skin as well as hair while we are cruising between the clouds! The air at high altitudes is dry and the oxygen content is low. This results in dry itchy skin and a myriad other symptoms that are more serious and irritating. Cabin air reduces humidity to an uncomfortable 10-20 per cent leading to dryness in the mouth, throat, eyes and skin.
Plenty of water
It is easy to get dehydrated while soaring high. So, it is extremely important to drink plenty of water regularly before and during the flight. Pure water is an elixir for skin; don't underestimate its power! Hence go for a bottle of water rather than alcohol and caffeinated drinks. Those only dehydrate you further leading to fatigue and exacerbating the ensuing jet lag after a long flight.
Besides sipping water, there are other things that you should do to prevent a stressed-out skin that feels like a parched field. Intensively moisturising the skin of exposed body parts helps a lot. Pack in a crème that leaves your skin feeling smooth and luxurious!
Look for active ingredients like urea, shea butter and lactic acid. These are deep moisturising agents that hydrate the skin. My personal experience made me realise that improper hydration of the body and skin during long haul flights made my hands and feet appear as if they have aged 10 years! Applying deep moisturising crèmes after the flight reversed my skin dryness. Hence, my advice would be to moisturise skin before, during and after the flight to maintain the skin's suppleness.
Another thing to do is to apply a moisturising mask just before boarding and leaving it on the skin throughout the flight. Also, the eyes are one of the first features to show travel fatigue. Frequent flyers commonly complain of puffiness, bags, dark circles, dry and irritable eyes. Thus, lubricating the eye with eye drops helps, especially when wearing contact lenses. Though, it is best to use reading glasses in the flight rather than using contact lenses.
Besides dry skin and puffy eyes, there are also the chances of getting sunburn. The concentration of ultraviolet (UV) rays – the ones that can cause sunburn, skin cancer, and other problems – is greater as altitude increases. This can lead to skin damage of several varieties, ranging from premature aging and wrinkles to skin cancer.
A sunscreen is of utmost important to offer protection against the harsh UV rays. To internally boost your skin's protection (from sun exposure) make it a habit to consume an antioxidant and oil capsule daily and not just while travelling. This certainly helps in maintaining youthful skin on a long-term basis.
So keep in mind these tips before and during your next flight and feel the difference in your skin. Happy flying!
The writer is a Mumbai-based dermatologist