Updated: Dec 2, 2019
Fun fact: I used to work as a flight attendant years ago in Singapore, it was the best few years of my life travelling the world with my best girl friends.
Back then, however, I could never quite figure out why I would breakout particularly on my upper lip & lower chin after a long flight (especially over winter).
I realised now that travelling frequently into different time zones can mess up our biological clock, sleep patterns, digestion and hormones - thus leading to a higher probability of skin problems.
The main causes of travel acne:
1: Dry cabin air
The stale cabin air causes skin to go into an overdrive, producing more oil in order to rehydrate, and unfortunately causing clogged pores and breakouts.
2: Salty aircraft food
Do you know that we are unable to taste sweetness or saltiness while in an airplane due to low humidity, pressure and high altitude? Thus, most foods catered onboard tend to be saltier and sweeter to compensate for our lack of taste inflight. Keep this in mind whenever you travel, it would be best to either just pack your own snacks or skip meals altogether.
Travelling tends to change your biological clock and btw, have you ever noticed that your periods would be irregular especially whilst on a holiday? These changes in time zone & the overall stress of a trip can sometimes cause our hormones to go haywire, causing... you guessed it right: breakouts.
Here’s what you can do to prevent spots naturally if you are travelling this holiday season:
(tried and tested by an ex -flight attendant with problem-prone skin)
1. Level up your hydration at least up to a week before the trip. It sounds so simple but most of us aren’t drinking enough water, so drink up ladies. No, coffee does not count as water.
2. Support your system with nourishing herbal teas - try stress & anti inflammatory blends containing spearmint (helps hormonal acne, slows down oil production), astralagus (stress relieving, aids in wound healing, manages stress) , reishi (anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, regulates hormones), dandelion (immune enhancing properties, supports liver functions, aids digestion, reduces hormonal acne), chamomile tea (relaxing, great for irritated, red complexion). All these are safe, natural blends that are mostly safe to use & has proven to help improve skin health. However, if you have an existing condition or if you are on medication, remember to check in with your doctor .
Support your system with nourishing herbal teas - try stress & anti inflammatory blends containing spearmint (helps hormonal acne, slows down oil production), astralagus (stress relieving, aids in wound healing, manages stress) , reishi (anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, regulates hormones), dandelion (immune enhancing properties, aids digestion), chamomile tea (relaxing, great for irritated, red complexion).
3. Reduce inflammation: supplement with Evening Primrose Oil & zinc.
4. Include anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric into your meals and/or drinks.
5. Lightly exfoliate your skin 2 -3 days before the flight.
6. Lastly, include as much fermented food (tempeh, kimchi) and/or supplement with probiotics in your meals the week leading up to your travel date. Do you tend to experience bloating or constipation during the first few days of your holidays? Changes in meal times & sleep patterns can confuse our body's circadian rhythm and affect our digestive system.
I learnt that making sure to eat as much vegetables and fermented food especially a few days before the trip helps combat bloating and constipation. How does our digestion affect our skin health? Going to the bathroom every morning helps our system eliminate waste efficiently (it would otherwise show up in dull or spotty skin). According to Ayurveda expert, Nomita of Coco Glo, we should eat certain foods depending on the seasons. In the winter (dry season), we should incorporate heavier, moist foods such as pumpkin, olive oil & soups to help supplement the body as it goes through the seasonal change. This in turn, would result in healthier, glowing skin.
Over the years, I learnt that achieving clear skin over the holiday period boils down to managing three variables : dry skin, digestion & stress. I realised that the point is not to achieve perfection but to be able arrive at a state where we feel comfortable in our own skin.
This experience (with my skin over the years) has been transformative for me in that I now understand better what foods, plants & herbs work best for me (& skin health) without having to rely on medication. I am just so happy to be able to now look in the mirror and not worry about pimples. This is truly freedom for me & has given me greater self-confidence. Ahh, bliss.
If you do find yourself with a pimple or two at the end of a long flight, no stress! Just know that if you keep calm, continue to hydrate & nourish yourself with fresh vegetables, fruits & herbal tea plus stick to your usual skincare routine, the pimple should heal in a day or two.
Cold winter aggravates ‘Vata’ in the body which can cause physical and emotional imbalances which may manifest in the body as dull & dry skin, constipation and anxiety... Nomita, Coco Glo
I hope this helps you over the holiday season this year :) You don’t have to make all the changes and do everything all at once, but just experiment on yourself with these natural remedies and see what works best for you.
Lastly, there are also obviously other drivers that would help support your skin health such as lifestyle ( ie exercise, sleep, work-life balance), diet, emotional state, skincare and etc, but the tips that I have shared above are ones that I have found easiest to incorporate into my lifestyle &
that I have also found effective).
Do you have natural clear skin tips you’d like to share with the ZS Communitea? Leave us a comment, let’s connect! x