Physical Health, Tips & Techniques, Travel, Wellness / Self-Care

A Mask-friendly, in-flight Skin Care routine in 5 steps

The travel hacks you need.

words by: Alee Kwong
Aug 24, 2021

Everyone knows that wearing a mask is becoming a part of our everyday lives and that many of us have had to adjust our daily routines around them – like coordinating a mask with your outfit to scheduling a weekly mask washing session. While wearing a mask during a pandemic has many benefits, one huge downside is the effect frequent/long-term mask wearing has on the condition of our skin. Prolonged mask wearing commonly causes skin irritation and clogged pores, both of which results in acne flare-ups.


Many people opt to wear their masks exclusively when they are shopping, dining, and walking indoors and go mask-less when they are outdoors (in my opinion, thread this option with extra care and consideration). But as we are seeing a lot of COVID-19 restrictions lighten up, people are jumping at the chance to do something they’ve waited nearly two years to do – travel.


All airports and airlines requires passengers to wear a mask throughout the airport and for the entirety of their flight. Before the pandemic, air quality conditions were already incredibly poor on aircrafts. The recycled air in conjunction with the painful and impossible sleeping setup was always a bad combo for our skin’s health. Throw in the mask mandate on all flights and you’re just asking to have dull, tired, and angry skin once the plane hits the tarmac. As always, we got you.


1. Change your mask halfway through (depending on your flight time)

The first step to keeping your skin clean while on your flight is making sure you’re switching out your mask. If your flight is anywhere between 6-8 hours, be sure to change your mask halfway through your trip. For international flights that are 8+ hours, change out your mask twice during your flight.


2. Use a hydrogel eye patch

Everyone looks like garbage post-flight. Unless you’re sleeping in a lay-out bed in first class on an international flight, chances are you have a sore neck and the darkest of circles under your eyes from waking up every 35 minutes to adjust yourself in your seat. The best way to combat sad tired eyes is by keeping them looking hydrated and fresh with hydrogel eye patches. Remember, the skin under our eyes is thin and sensitive, so something gentle like the Benton Snail Bee Ultimate Hydrogel Eye Patch ($28) is your best bet. Throw on a pair before your nap and you’ll wake up looking semi-awake before you prepare for your descent.


3. Apply a lightweight, hydrating serum

The name of the game is keeping your skin hydrated. The more hydrated your skin is, the less likely it will be affected by friction from your mask. A solid, no-frills hyaluronic acid like The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid is not only a great product at an ever greater price point ($7.99), but is also TSA-friendly at 30ml (a little over 1oz).


4. Forget sheet masks, go for a sleeping mask

A lot of people like to do a sheet mask during their flight to revitalize their skin. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great option but there are a few reasons why I generally steer clear from using them during my flight – they can be time consuming to apply, it’s uncomfortable under a mask, and it requires you to take off your mask one more time than you should. Instead, I recommend using a sleeping mask. A sleeping mask is basically a deep moisturizer for your skin. It usually comes in a gel formula, which provides lightweight wear comfort and is easier to, well, sleep in. When it comes to all things regarding ultra-hydration, I look to the Korean skincare brand, belief. Another TSA-friendly buy (2.53 oz/75ml), the belief Aqua Bomb Sleeping Mask ($34) is amazing for all skin types and will leave you glowing.


5. Drink water

This one should be a given. It should definitely be common sense, but it’s not. I know it can be tempting to indulge in your favorite alcoholic beverages or sweet soft drinks when the flight attendant comes by with the beverage cart, but if you want to not feel like absolute dookie after your flight, stick strictly to drinking water.


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