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Skincare Essentials for Long-Haul Flights

by Shermaine Chua 22 Dec 2023

In an unnatural environment where humidity is low and the recycled air is dry, flying not only takes a toll on our body, but our skin too.

The recirculated air on a plane has a humidity of between 10% and 20% compared to around 40% to 60% on land. For context, even the Sahara desert has a humidity of 25%. And in Singapore? We’re experiencing a humidity of 83.9% – that’s at least 4 times more than what we experience on a plane! Is it, then, any surprise that our skin becomes incredibly dehydrated, especially during a long-haul flight?

How does flying affect our skin?

The low humidity and recycled air can dehydrate your skin. This can disrupt your skin’s barrier and you will see an increase in trans-epidermal water loss, a phenomenon in which water evaporates through the skin and into the air which further exacerbates dehydration.

Dehydration manifests as dryness, itchiness and an uneven complexion, potentially triggering an overproduction of sebum in its efforts to compensate for the lack of moisture. This would then result in clogged pores and acne breakouts.

We don’t need breakouts and flaking skin to add to the stress of travel, here’s how you can better care for your skin before, during and after a flight:

Before a flight

skincare essentials before flight

First and foremost? Avoid wearing makeup during a long-haul flight. When your skin will already be subjected to unfavourable conditions during a flight, having makeup as an additional layer on the surface of your skin is only going to make it harder for your skin to maintain a healthy balance.

When it comes to your pre-flight skincare routine, the objective is to ensure that you’ve loaded up on hydration both from within and without to enhance your skin’s moisture levels. Drink plenty of water and opt for hydrating beverages like coconut water to hydrate from within.

Choose skincare products that don’t strip your skin, but hydrates it and seals the moisture in. End off your routine with sunscreen if it’s a day flight! Studies have shown that UV rays are twice as strong at 30,000 miles above the ground than at ground level so you’ll want to use a good, broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin and prevent premature ageing and pigmentation.

During a flight

in flight travel essentials

Flight restrictions only allow for up to 100ml of liquids, sealed in a ziploc bag, to be packed into your carry-on. So when it comes to bringing along with you skincare for your flight, pack wisely and optimise for hydration. If you’re on a day flight, don’t forget to have a bottle of SPF with you so you can reapply during your long-haul flight – we can’t stress enough the importance of protecting your skin from harmful UV rays!

Your in-flight skincare routine should be focused on combating the stress caused by high altitudes and drier air. Include serums and moisturisers that contain humectants (like hyaluronic acid) to pull moisture in and emollients (like shea butter and oils) to seal it in. But if you would like to take with you only the bare essentials onboard your flight, having a handy bottle of facial mist would be fantastic for keeping your skin moisturised throughout your flight. Simply give your skin a spritz every few hours. 

In-flight essentials for adults:
Seriously Fresh Micellar Water
To refresh and cleanse your skin
Deluxe Hydra Nutrient Mist (15ml)
For all-day hydration, mist every few hours
Cacao Avocado Organic Lip Balm
To keep your lips moisturised and prevent them from cracking
Ultra-Fluid Tinted UV Protector SPF 25 (10ml, decant)
For protection against harmful UV rays


 In-flight essentials for children:
Seriously Fresh Micellar Water (50ml)
To use as a wipe after a meal
Intensive Skin Renewal Gel
For when skin gets sensitive from the dry cabin air
Deluxe Hydra Nutrient Mist (15ml)
For added hydration throughout the flight
Cacao Avocado Organic Lip Balm
To moisturise lips and prevent them from cracking


After a flight

post flight skincare essentials

Your post-flight skincare regimen should be centred around two things: warding off breakouts and restoring lost moisture to your skin.

All those hours packed into an aircraft with hundreds of other travellers inevitably leads to the buildup of dirt and microbes on your skin. To prevent them from clogging your pores, the first thing to do once you’ve disembarked or reached your hotel is to wash your face. Next, replenish your skin’s moisture with your favourite serum and moisturiser. Then, apply a thin layer of a spot treatment on areas where you’re prone to breaking out such as the forehead, nose, chin and jawline. Finish your routine with sunscreen.

Our recommended post-flight essentials for adults:
Mandarin Acai Cleansing Lotion
For your first cleanse
Absolutely Youthful Hydra Cleanser
To double cleanse
Clear Skin Treatment Essence
To provide an extra layer of hydration to your skin
Dose Of Omega 7 Hydrating Emulsion
To deliver much-needed moisture into your skin
Alfalfa & Fig Spot Solution Serum
To prevent breakouts
Ultra-Fluid Tinted UV Protector SPF 25
For protection against harmful UV rays


Our recommended post-flight essentials for children:
Intensive Skin Renewal Gel
To moisturise skin especially in a cool and dry climate
Cell Regeneration Facial Oil Serum (30ml)
For when skin gets extra dry
Deluxe Hydra Nutrient Mist (15ml)
For added hydration throughout the day


We hope this guide has been helpful for you, safe travels!

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