Wanderlusters, this one’s for you: don’t let your skin care routine suffer during your upcoming travels. We know that one of the easiest things to compromise on when you’re trying to pack light is your skin care routine, but we’ve got all the top skin care tips to help you keep your skin glowing whether you’re travelling near or far.
Let’s be honest: the worst part about gearing up for vacation season is the packing. But, is it ever worth sacrificing your skin care just to avoid the stress of taking your routine on the go? Instead of getting lazy with your skin care this summer, check out our best skin care travel tips so that you your skin doesn’t have to suffer whether you’re headed on a 16-hour road trip down the coast or hopping on a plane to the Bahamas.
Back to basics
Our #1 travel tip for maintaining a skin care routine on the go? Keep it simple! Don’t try to introduce a new routine and don’t try to complicate things when you’re about to hit the road. Skin issues are most likely to pop up when you’re adjusting to a new climate, so stick to what you know works for your skin – and most importantly, don’t forget the SPF!
The destination matters
Before you start throwing everything on your bathroom counter into your toiletries bag, consider your end destination:
- Hot & humid: Headed to a tropical destination this summer like Miami or perhaps the Caribbean? Consider packing lightweight formulas that won’t clog your pores. We recommend a Lightweight Moisturizing Lotion as a good option or our Exfoliating Glycolic Peel, which helps unclog pores.
- Warm & dry: Maybe you’re headed down south to Palm Springs or over to the Mediterranean where it tends to be warmer and drier? “Serums are an ideal choice for weather that’s hot and dry,” says Dr. Rivers. “Pack something with antioxidants or hyaluronic acid to neutralize free radical damage to your skin, which can cause both skin cancer and premature aging1 .”
Moisturizers are your best friend
Regardless of where you’re going, the stress of travelling will undoubtedly take a toll on your skin. Prepare for dry skin (especially if you’re travelling by plane!) by bringing along a moisturizer to help counteract the elements at your final destination. And when you’re there, taking shorter, lukewarm showers or baths (think 5 to 10 minutes) and applying moisturizer immediately after will help trap any existing moisture in your skin and help with the healing process2 .
Don’t forget the SPF
Whether it’s a balmy 35 degrees or a breezy 23 degrees at your destination, never underestimate the importance of protecting your skin against harmful UV rays by making sure your packing list includes an SPF moisturizer. A minimum SPF of 30 is recommended, and best practices include applying sunscreen approximately 30 minutes before sun exposure3 , and reapplying regularly.
Always keep in mind that SPF protection should only be one part of your skin care regimen – things like wearing a wide-brimmed hat, seeking shade, and wearing UV-blocking sunglasses are also great tactics for protecting your skin in the sun4 .
Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more
While the best solution for dry skin is still to treat it externally (i.e. using moisturizers regularly), it never hurts to stay hydrated, especially in warmer weather. Drinking enough water every day is beneficial for your overall health – that includes your skin! – and will help prevent dehydration, among other things, especially in the summer months5 . Like any other organ in your body, your skin requires a sufficient amount of water to function at its best6 . So, if you’re not getting enough water, it’ll show in the dry, tight, and flaky appearance of your skin.
Take it off
We’ve all been there: at the end of a long day (never mind a full day of travelling!), the last thing you want to do is take your make up off your face. But, one of the best things you can do for your skin, especially when you’re on the go, is clean the make-up off your face before you hit the sheets.
Make-up that’s repeatedly left overnight on your skin can do a lot of damage: it can clog pores, cause breakouts, and let’s not forget – you’re completely missing out on the moisturizing and/or anti-aging benefits of the moisturizers and serums you would normally use on your skin as part of your nighttime routine7 ! Even if you tend to go make-up free when you’re travelling, we always recommend using a cleanser before moisturizing to gently remove impurities and restore your skin to its natural pH after a long day. Dr. Rivers developed the Riversol Micellar Water and Microfibre Cloth to work together to completely remove even waterproof, or long-wear make-up without irritation.
Pack the (travel-sized) essentials
Frequent fliers know that one of the biggest hassles of travelling by plane is making sure everything in their carry-ons are TSA approved. This typically means any liquids larger than 100ml are not prohibited in your carry-on luggage8 .
Our best pre-flight travel tip to minimize hassle? Prepare beforehand so you can avoid having to toss any of your precious, but oversized skin care products away at the airport by opting for travel-sized items only in your carry-on. The pressurized environment on a plane tends to suck all the moisture out of your skin so pack products that will instantly re-hydrate your skin even when you’re 35,000 feet in the air and breeze through airport security while you’re at it.
At the end of the day, everyone’s skin care needs are different, but everyone still has a skin care routine. Don’t leave it behind when you’re about to hit the road. Take it with you – your skin will thank you!
- The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2017. Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605218/
- American Academy of Dermatology. 2018. Dermatologists’ top tips for relieving dry skin. Retriever from: https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/skin-care/dry-skin
- Faruk Khan, M.O. US Pharmacist. 20 July 2009. Why Patients Need Protection From the Sun. Retrieved from: https://www.uspharmacist.com/article/why-patients-need-protection-from-the-sun
- Saini, Ritu; Szemplinski, Andrea. 28 August 2013. Skin Cancer Foundation. How to Choose the Right Sunscreen for Your Skin Type. Retrieved from: https://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/choosing
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Get the Facts: Drinking Water and Intake. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/plain-water-the-healthier-choice.html
- UW Health. 11 September 2016. The Benefits of Drinking Water for Your Skin. Retrieved from: https://www.uwhealth.org/madison-plastic-surgery/the-benefits-of-drinking-water-for-your-skin/26334
- Carter, Kiera. 5 August 2013. Prevention. How One Woman Aged 10 Years in 30 Days. Retrieved from: https://www.prevention.com/beauty/skin-care/a20456571/what-happens-when-you-sleep-in-makeup/
- Government of Canada. Liquids, aerosols and gels. Retrieved from: https://travel.gc.ca/air/liquids
- Subramanyan, Kumar. 21 January 2004. Wiley Online Library, Role of mild cleansing in the management of patient skin. Retrieved from: