Are you a frequent flier or making a long haul flight for business or pleasure? If you are, know that flying can age you. De-hydration, reduced oxygen, confined space, bad food and over-exposure to too many people and their germs takes its toll on your face and body. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself.
Keeping your skin hydrated actually starts at home, not on the plane.
- Exfoliating your skin is important because it gets rid of the top layer of dead skin cells that prevent any moisturizer from absorbing into the skin. Swapping out your daily facial cleanser with a gentle exfoliating scrub with smaller granules the morning of your travel date will do the trick.
- Apply a cool, wet cloth gently onto your skin before applying moisturizer. The lotion will absorb and retain better in the skin when your face is damp.
- Apply a fairly dense moisturizer the morning of your flight – like shea butter. Your skin’s going to need all the moisturizing it can get so you’ll need to re-apply in-flight.
- Go easy on the make-up. In fact, it’s best if you don’t wear any at all – then again, (as my grandmother always told me) you never know who you could meet…
Keeping your skin hydrated also starts at home, not on the plane – start being attentive 48 hours in advance.
- Drink coconut water for those extra electrolytes.
- Add lemon to your water or coconut water to keep your body PH alkaline and to pump some protective and anti-aging vitamin C into your body
- Eat lots of essential fats from sources such as oily fish, walnuts, flax seed powder and kiwis.
- Get organized and pack some in-flight snacks. Ideally, you will want to avoid your average plane-fare. Nuts (walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds etc) are great as are carrots, apples, salmon and avocados. The anti-inflammatory fats in nuts keep you feeling full so you won’t reach for processed, packaged goodies and the Omega-3 acids will make your complexion glow. The vitamin Cs in the veggies and fruits will boost immunity and anti-aging.
- Get the oxygen circulating throughout your body by working out or doing yoga the morning you fly. Even a quick run around the block will do wonders for your circulation.
- Make sure your body is in loose-comfortable clothing to ensure circulation in-flight
- Start taking extra vitamin C, Echinacea, and American ginseng a few days before you fly to boost the immune system and counteract any bugs, viruses and bacteria that you may be exposed to floating around in the circulated cabin air and while traveling.
- Supplement: Along with water, essential fatty acids (EFAs) really help hold water in your skin. EFAs like borage seed oil, evening primrose oil, and the omega-3s (think fish oil) help to moisturize your skin from the inside out. Pack some essential fatty acids (EFAs) into your carry-on to help provide extra hydration from the inside out. Begin taking your EFAs five days before departure for extra protection.
- Swallow a small clove of garlic whole (no biting so reduced smell). Garlic has strong antibiotic powers and will protect you on the long flight. You can always cut it up of course and eat it to ward off in-flight vampires… Just bless them with a breathy breath and basta to babble!
- A trick for getting rid of under-eye puffiness: Ask for a ice cube and a napkin. Hold this up to your eye for a minute or so, and the swelling will go down. If you feel shy asking for just one ice cube, you can always ask for a whole cup
- Face spritz. This will give you a delicious refreshing boost and will help to keep your skin hydrated. Rose water spritz is my personal fav.
- Perhaps the most important thing you can do on a long-haul flight is stay hydrated. So avoid alcohol and caffeine during a flight, as they act as diuretics (they squeeze water out of your cells), causing further dehydration. The cabin pressure has a nasty effect of doubling the effects of alcohol too; two drinks on the ground can equal one in the air. Alcohol is also a depressant so you will feel even more rough once you land.
- Avoid all carbonated and soft drinks too, as they can cause bloating through the expansion of stomach gases on descent.
- Drink a ton of water.
- If you can, avoiding all airline food can really be the difference between arriving feeling fresh, or fatigued and foggy. When the plane takes off, your whole body goes out of balance, including your digestive organs. Altitude and pressure changes at each landing and takeoff upset all body systems, and the low pressure on board can make your body swell up like the Michelin man, and expanded intestines it makes it incredibly difficult to digest! The dry, re-circulated air in the cabin can also cause your body to lose the water necessary to move food along your digestive tract. Also, at high altitudes, the brain senses there’s less oxygen, so it begins shunting oxygenated blood to crucial organs like the brain and heart, away from the digestive organs that are needed to digest.
- Foods that are heavy in fat are something you particularly want to steer clear of when flying, as they take lots of energy to digest. Fats require more water, time and energy to be broken down than do carbs like veggies and whole grains. On top of all the added stress on your digestive system, most plane meals are basically just a cheap frozen meal—high in fat, salt, preservatives—and other nasties, that will make you feel less than fabulous when you arrive. Even the so-called gourmet meals are less than healthy. So by skipping airline meals, you’ll arrive far fresher and have an easier time dealing with jetlag, even in business or first class.
- On a long haul flight feast on fresh fruit and vegetables, raw nuts like almonds, unsalted peanuts, sunflower or pumpkins seeds (high in essential fatty acids which also help to hydrate your skin from the inside out) raisins, and other portable foods like a high-quality energy bar. Stay away from salt or sodium saturated foods (this includes most plane food) as they can cause fluid retention, bloating and swollen ankles on arrival. Remember that heavy food can interfere with digestion and circulation.
- Take those Essential Fatty Acid supplements!
- Fill a travel mug with fresh ginger slices, lemon wedges, and a fat glop of honey. Then, on the plane, ask a nice attendant to fill the mug with hot water and let it steep until spicy and strong. I find that sipping this inflight drink is better than all the free drinks and bad airplane food in the world, and it helps me relax enough to doze off. It’s also good for stuffy noses and dry throats, and extremely healing for upset digestions. Honey is anti-bacterial so it helps boots your immunity. The lemon wedges alkalize your body and give it vitamin C while the ginger detoxes and aids circulation and digestion.
- Make sure to take a stroll a couple of times throughout the flight when the “fasten seatbelt” sign is off. The blood circulation you’ll get walking around will do wonders for holding off bloat and keeping your skin rosy and “awake” looking after you de-board.
- Exercise in your seat; ankle rotations/circles, toe lifts, and heel raises to keep your circulation moving.
- Women on the pill are at a far higher risk of blood clots when airborne, so they should stay hydrated and walk whenever possible.
- Compression stockings, available at most chemists and medical supply stores, have also been shown to reduce the risk of clots; so wear them during and also the day after a flight.
- Avoid lowering your seat all the way back. Fluid may retain in your eyes, causing bags to develop.
- Put on those noise-cancelling headphones and drown out the snores (and farts) of the oldies and the screams of children!
- If it’s a night flight pop a magnesium/melatonin supplement to aid sleep and support the body and get your shut eye
- Put on those black-out eyes shades to encourage melatonin production. Remember, it’s a good hormone!
- Colds may be more than 100 times more likely to be transmitted on a plane than on the ground. Colds spread easily in planes because of low humidity, which dries up the body’s first line of defense – mucus. So, once again, stay hydrated.
- Wash your hands regularly – and always before meals – while you’re in the air.
- Long haul flights can be particularly uncomfortable for the ankles and feet due to the build of fluid. The night before your flight pop a Circulation Patch- onto the soles of your feet to stimulate the key reflexology points to help support healthy blood flow. Or just buy some essential menthol oil and place in a tiny bottle (flight restrictions on liquids) to rub on feet in-flight.
- I know it sounds crazy but, I pat eucalyptus oil under my nose in-flight. In addition to clearing the air passages, inhaling eucalyptus has been shown to cause an increase in the uptake of oxygen from the lungs to the bloodstream and can also provide protection against respiratory infections. Always a good plan in a people-packed-plane!
- Take vitamin C, Echinacea, and American ginseng in-flight to boost immunity.
- Another way to protect yourself from dehydration and other airborne nasties is to apply almond oil, or jojoba oil, or even olive oil inside your nostrils to protect the delicate mucous membranes from the abusive dry cabin air.
- Tea tree oil has powerful antiseptic and immune stimulating properties. It disinfects and is excellent to use as a hand wash while traveling. Use one drop on your hands after you’ve used public bathrooms.
- Carry some peppermint oil on the plane too. Peppermint is refreshing, stimulating, helps with any motion sickness, and is great for any digestive problems. The recirculated air in planes can make you and your sinuses feel stuffy. Rub a dab of essential oil on your temples to help relieve congestion.
- Inhale a drop of lavender or peppermint oil from a handkerchief or tissue to ease any nausea or travel sickness, and inhale some peppermint or lemongrass to feel alert before a meeting or for when you need to be sharp.
Airplanes tend to wreck skin. And blackheads seem to develop almost overnight during a long flight.
- Gently exfoliate your skin after a long flight to perk up circulation and then apply a hydrating mask for a radiant glow. You can carry a bottle of massage oil like jojoba oil for your face and body to hydrate and boost your skin’s moisture after a long flight.
- A sauna will definitely help sweat out impurities and boost your immunity. If you cannot get into a real sauna, take a hot bath or shower.
- Moisturize and massage skin deeply after your shower.
- I always ask for a lemon at my hotel or of my host. Fresh lemon juice on the skin after a shower helps to brighten it.
- Lavender is the all-purpose essential oil; it’s relaxing, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial, it works well on insect bites, stings, and bruises. At the end of a long day or when you arrive after a long trip, put five to eight drops of lavender essential oil in a bath and just soak and relax. Drop a few drops of lavender on your pillow slip to get rid of stuffy hotel smells and to help you sleep.
- If you’re staying in a hotel, the air quality in many hotels isn’t great, especially if you can’t open any windows. You can travel with a scent-ball diffuser that plugs into any electrical outlet. You can add essential oils that refresh the stale hotel air. Lemon grass does a great job at freshening the air. It has an uplifting, grassy-citrus scent and it’s energizing.
- Again, lots of water and coconut water! Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
- Continue eating healthy food with plenty of Omega-3s to help your skin recover and boost immunity. Take a few spoonfuls of olive oil before bed followed by a glass of warm lemon water to flush out toxins
- Take those vitamin supplements as well to give your skin and body an extra ‘post-trauma’ boost!
- Light exercise: swimming, walking and sex (not always so “light” eh!) are great for revving up the circulation of the body, flushing out toxins, improving nutrient and oxygen delivery to all your cells (including your skin cells) and helping you recover from a flight. It will also help you get a better night’s sleep.
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