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A Travel Pro’s Tips for Staying Moisturized on Long Flights

We can all agree that travel is pretty amazing, right? Can we also agree that getting to our favorite destinations can be a total nightmare? Even if we assume your flight is on time, your luggage doesn’t get lost and you don’t miss your connecting flight, the actual travel part of traveling can take quite a toll on you physically. Sure, you may feel jet-lagged, but the worst part for me is the extreme dryness that accompanies travel, particularly long flights. I have combination skin, and it gets so dried-out when I fly for more than a few hours, it causes pretty uncomfortable dryness and irritation.

First, let’s discuss why we get so dried-out when we travel. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, a clinical instructor in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, told Allure, “Typically, skin is comfortable when the humidity is between 40 to 70 percent, most airplane cabins are at about 20 percent. That’s less than half of what we are used to.” On top of that, the high altitude of airplanes can decrease blood flow to the skin, which can result in a super-dull appearance.

I always hear tips like “Drink as much water as possible,” and “Avoid alcohol,” and I do those things too, but they’re not always enough. I’ve been on plenty of flights that are over 10 hours, and no matter how much water I drink, my skin, eyes and nose will still be dry as a bone. Luckily, I have figured out a beauty routine that keeps everything moisturized and comfortable so I am ready to go as soon as the plane lands. Here are the five products (in addition to lots of water!) you need to ensure a comfy and moisturized flight.

1. A moisture mask

My moisture routine starts the night before I travel. I use this moisturizing water mask by Laneige the night before a flight. It gives my skin a nice head start and feels super-luxurious.

Image: Laneige

Water Sleeping Mask, $25 at Laneige

2. A sheet mask

Hear me out on this one. It may look odd to those around you, but there is no better method of moisturizing your skin on a long flight. I usually bring a couple of masks with me in my carry-on and use one every four to five hours of flight time. They’re super-easy to carry around, and you just toss them in the trash when you’re done. Just make sure to choose a mask specifically meant for hydration, and avoid brightening, clarifying or exfoliating masks. This mask by Dr.Jart+ is my favorite.

Image: Sephora

Dr.Jart+ Hydration Lover mask, $12 at Sephora

3. Lip balm

I’ve tried more expensive lip balms than I can count, but this super-cheap one by Vaseline works better than anything else I have ever tried. It’s super-thick and keeps you moisturized for hours. You do have to use your finger to apply it, so just make sure to wash your hands first because as we all know, planes are ridiculously dirty, and every surface is crawling with germs.

Image: Target

Vaseline Lip Therapy, $1.89 at Target

4. Saline nasal spray

My skin and lips aren’t the only body parts to take a beating on long flights. My nose gets super-dried-out too, and it can be uncomfortable and can even cause nosebleeds. To combat the dryness, I use a saline nasal spray every one to two hours. This spray is my favorite because it’s small, light and TSA-approved. It does come in a few different sizes, so just make sure you pick up the one that is less than 3 ounces.

Image: Arm & Hammer

Arm & Hammer Simply Saline Nasal Mist, prices vary, but it can be found at Target, Walmart and most grocery stores

5. Hydrating eye drops

This is actually a recommendation from my eye doctor. I told her what a terrible time I have with dry eyes on a plane, and she suggested using some lubricating drops. If you have eye problems, you should check with your doctor to make sure these will work for you, but my doctor said these OTC lubricating eye drops are pretty darn safe and fine to use for long flights.

Image: Target

Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops, $10.99 at Target

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