Article 14

How long-haul flights impact the skin

When travelling on long haul flights our body and specifically our skin is exposed to many abnormal factors that can disrupt the harmony of bright, clear and hydrated skin. By understanding these factors, we can proactively take care of our skin before, during and after long-haul flights to ensure it maintains its health and condition.  

Dehydration and Sebum Overcompensation
The most common way a long-haul flight will affect your skin is by causing dehydration which leads to dull, dry, irritated, and red skin. This dehydration is initiated by low levels of humidity. Normal humidity levels in our day-to-day life usually sit somewhere between 40% and 70%, however, aeroplane cabin humidity levels typically sit around 20%, which is less than half the humidity level our skin is accustomed to. Air in the cabin is made up of approximately 60% fresh air and 40% recycled air, with the fresh air being brought in containing naturally low humidity levels due to the high altitude.

Low humidity levels are a key factor leading to skin dehydration on long haul flights as it can increase the rate at which moisture evaporates from the skin. When the skin is dehydrated it is also common for it to overcompensate for the lack of moisture by producing more sebum (oil), which ultimately disrupts the delicate balance of the skin’s natural moisturisation process and can contribute to break outs. The most effective way to combat both skin dehydration and sebum overcompensation is to moisturise your skin before and throughout your flight to assist your skin in maintaining harmonic hydration. The Emma Lewisham Supernatural Sleeping Mask is an extremely effective product to help you maintain hydrated skin during your long-haul flight. In addition to your skincare, it’s important to support your skin by drinking lots of water.


Supernatural Sleeping Mask is extremely effective to help maintain hydrated skin during your long-haul flight.

UV Radiation
It is easy to think you wouldn’t need to apply your daily SPF while travelling, however it is important not to skip sunscreen, especially if you want to keep your window visor up during your flight. The UV rays at higher altitudes can be more significantly stronger and drive an increased level of sun-related skin damage. It is also important to note that plane windows are usually made from polycarbonate plastic or layered composite glass which allow only minimal transmission of UVB rays (which are responsible for burning) yet still allow notable transmission of UVA rays (which are responsible for photo-aging). It is known that when a plane travels through cloud, UVA rays can be reflected by up to 85% due to the increased number and size of particles in the atmosphere. This indicates the vital importance of wearing sunscreen and taking sun protection measures during long-haul flights. Emma Lewisham’s Skin Shield SPF 30 helps protect the skin from these damaging impacts by providing broad spectrum protection and preventing the initiation of premature aging.  

Jetlag is often associated with long-haul flights. Jetlag is when your internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm, which regulates your sleep cycles are disrupted by a change in time zones. As a result you may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night or feeling exhausted during the day while your body adjusts to the new time zone. Changing time zones and disrupting your natural circadian rhythm can have detrimental effects on the skin, resulting in the appearance of dark circles around the eyes from fatigue as well as dehydration-based exacerbation of the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Your circadian rhythm repeats roughly every 24 hours, and your skin reaches its peak reparative stage between 10pm and midnight, therefore not getting sleep when your body expects it can disrupt these rejuvenation processes. To combat the effects of jetlag and circadian rhythm disruption, in addition to proactively altering your sleep times during your long-haul flights, the Emma Lewisham Skin Reset Eye Crème and Supernatural Sleeping Mask can help support the skins recovery and assist in decreasing dark circles under the eyes and reducing fine lines. 

Next article