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Skincare Secrets for Travelers


As the body’s largest organ, your skin can have a large impact on everything you do, including your next vacation. You can put your best face forward wherever you go with these tips from Dr. Karen Stolman, a dermatologist and author of “Everyday Natural Skincare” and “Everyday Acne Care.”

To guard against surprise breakouts or unexpected dry skin, consider your destination. “Check the climate of the place you’re traveling to and compare that to the climate you live in,” Stolman said. Adjust your moisturizing routine to account for changes in humidity.

Also think about how much sun you’ll be soaking up. Microdermabrasion and products containing retinoids and alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids can make skin extra sensitive. Either cut down on these or ramp up your use of sunscreen, hats and shade to protect yourself. Men might consider shaving less frequently, as a freshly shaven face is also more sun-sensitive. “You might want to let that 5 o’clock shadow keep growing,” Stolman said.

You should pack the following in your checked luggage.

  • Facial cleanser.
  • Face and body sunblocks, SPF 30 or higher.
  • Topical steroid cream (hydrocortisone) and over-the-counter oral antihistamine for rashes or bug bites.
  • Razor and shaving cream.

Stick to products you normally use and avoid springing for something new and travel-size on your skin, or trusting it to the hotel soap and “I-forgot-my-razor” razor.

During long travel days, it’s best to wear no makeup, which traps pollutants from the air and oils from your skin, creating a grimy residue. In your carry-on, pack hypoallergenic baby wipes, face lotion, lip balm and hand cream for a mid-trip refresh. “If you cannot get to the sink and you cannot cleanse in your usual way, a baby wipe is better than no cleansing,” Stolman said.

Air on airplanes can be especially dry, so follow that wipe down with a splash of fresh water and lotion containing hyaluronic acid, gylcerine or sorbitol to trap the moisture and let your skin soak it up.

Sticking as closely as possible to your usual skincare routine and planning ahead for the rigors of travel will help you avoid dry skin, breakouts and other problems, so that your vacation photos won’t need retouching.

Read more about wellness while traveling.


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