what airplanes actually do to our skin and how you can keep your glow

The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and celebration…and for many of us, it requires some traveling! There’s no doubt that airplane travel is not ideal for your body–all of that sitting in small, cramped seats, avoiding your coughing, contagious neighbor, and losing sleep are just a few of the unhealthy effects of flying. While we can’t avoid all of the negative effects of traveling, today we are providing some tips on how you can take care of your skin… pre, mid, and post-flight!

But first, let’s break down some facts about what exactly airplanes and flying do to our skin. It’s not just in your mind – there’s science behind it!

Planes Dehydrate Our Skin…Even More Than You Think!

While we don’t normally think of humidity as a good thing, humidity in the air is necessary for keeping healthy moisture levels in our skin. On planes, however, humidity in aircraft cabins tends to be VERY dry…usually, under 20%. To put that in perspective, most homes usually average around 40% humidity levels! This explains why you feel like your lip balm or moisturizer instantly dries up 20 minutes after being on a flight.

And why is dry skin so bad? Well, lots of reasons. The skin is the body’s largest organ, after all–and, like any other organ, it needs to be hydrated in order to perform and thrive. When the the skin is dehydrated, it becomes flaky, itchy, and red…even worse, excessive dry skin can cause fine lines to develop! Dry skin can also cause the body to make an excess of oil production in an attempt to counteract the dryness, which can cause a buildup of sebum and bacteria in the pores, potentially causing acne and/or inflammation.

Low Air Pressure Reduces Oxygen Flow and Impacts Your Complexion (AKA Your Glow)

In addition to the dryness on planes, another cringe-worthy skin hazard is the low air pressure. Thanks to cabin pressure controllers, we don’t feel the actual pressure of the cruising height for the airplane (usually around 35,000 feet). However, there is still an decrease in air pressure that can cause a lot of changes in our bodies.

Your body essentially feels as though you were standing on top of a mountain–usually at an elevation of around 7,000 feet. With the lower air pressure, the blood is not able to carry as much oxygen. Weaker oxygen flow throughout the body and face (or what can be known as hypoxia) can occur, causing the skin to appear dull and complexion to worsen. Just remember — increased circulation is key to a healthy glow.

*Random side note: The reduced oxygen flow to tissues also explains why you may have some fluid build up or swelling in your feet (and why your shoes feel tighter!).

So here are our top tips for keeping your skin happy and less breakout prone in the air!

Exfoliate before traveling

Exfoliation is the key to removing acne-causing bacteria, dirt, and dry skin build up. Our Sea Moss Exfoliator removes build up without damaging the healthy cells below!

Exfoliate the night before or morning of your flight to reduce your chances of breaking out mid-flight due to clogged pores. Also, by removing the dead cells sitting on the skin’s surface, you’ll allow your skin to actually absorb and retain more nutrients and hydration from moisturizers…even in dry environments.

Massage and hydrate skin with moisturizers during your flight

To counteract the drying effects of flying, make sure to carry our moisturizers with you on your flight. Our top recommendation is the perfectly travel-sized MYMATCHA stick… especially for the area around your eyes. Matcha is rich in chlorophyll, antioxidants, and polyphenols, which are all important compounds to help regenerate and repair the skin (especially in dry environments!). And, while you don’t want to be CONSUMING caffeine while traveling, applying caffeine topically can actually help improve circulation and complexion. Massage the stick onto extra dry, dull areas of the skin!

Another flying favorite of ours is the Raspberry Jasmine All-Over Oil. Unprocessed raspberry seed and baobab oil help promote collagen production and rejuvenate the skin, while the soothing scent of jasmine essential oil will naturally help to calm you! This oil is also packaged with a rolling top, allowing you to massage the oil directly onto the skin. Gently roll the oil all over the face (and body!), concentrating on extra dry areas. The best part? The massaging action actually helps offset the high altitude as it increases blood circulation of the face, improving complexion, reducing dullness, and delivering hydration!

Keeping your skin moisturized will make sure it doesn’t go into overdrive and produce unnecessary sebum, which can clog pores and lead to breakouts! While we’ve listed our MYMATCHA and Raspberry Jasmine Oil, all of our moisturizers are actually TSA friendly and can be taken with you on the plane!

Avoid the harsh UV rays

The air at a plane’s cruising altitude is much thinner than at lower elevations. Combined with the fact that we are closer to the sun, UV rays are actually much stronger while we’re flying. This makes your skin more susceptible to UV ray damage. Plane windows also cannot be counted on to block any UV rays, either!

As fun as it can be to daydream out the plane window, the best thing for your skin is to avoid the window seat or keep the blind shut to avoid UV exposure. Another helpful tip is to wear sunscreen during your flight–while it may seem strange to be wearing sunscreen in an “indoor” environment, your skin will thank you!

Internal hydration is key

In the plane’s extremely dry environment, moisture from your body, especially in wetter areas like the mouth, is released into the dry air, inducing dehydration. Start hydrating from the inside out to protect your skin and overall well-being. Drink lots of water leading up to and during the flight.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine

We get it–sometimes, nothing sounds better than a martini to get you through a bumpy flight, or a cup of joe to relieve that travel-induced headache. But while alcohol and caffeine may seem to take the edge off, they can actually make your flight experience much harder on your body and mind. Alcohol and caffeine are both considered to be diuretics, meaning they cause the body to produce more urine, resulting in greater water loss. The lack of humidity on the plane is enough to dehydrate you, so help your body retain any moisture it has by avoiding unnecessary, excess water loss!

Reduce stress and practice calmness

Yes, traveling is stressful–there’s no way to avoid the unexpected delays, tight spaces, and crowds… especially during the holidays. But there are a few things that you can do to decrease stress, which will help to improve your mood, skin, and overall well-being.

We swear by meditation on a plane, especially if you feel more irritated in tight spaces or by flying in general. There are so many great meditation apps out there, so plug in your headphones, close your eyes, and put your mind and body at ease through concentration and intention!

Not really the meditating type? Put together a playlist of relaxing music, podcasts, or audiobooks that will take your mind off the plane and into a more peaceful state. We also love to utilize the powerful effects of aromatherapy mid-flight. Essential oils such as lavender, ylang ylang, and bergamot are some of the most stress-relieving and mood-boosting oils, and are easy to pack in your carry-on for a mid-flight pick me up.

We hope that these tips leave you and your skin a lil’ happier and healthier during your holiday travels! Let us know your skincare travel tricks below, or email us at info@cocokind.com with any questions! 











Cassie of CassieSays.com on

This is AMAZING! I brought my MYMATCHA stick with me on a trip to Denver two weeks ago and it was a life saver. Thanks for the info & tips!


Sylvia on

Great information. I’m going to copy it and include it in the 10-day gift I am gifting. Win- win for your skin!


Leanne on

Thank you for this! So do you recommend flying makeup free so you can re moisturize while you’re in flight?

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