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Travel. Fitness. And Everything in Between.

Skin Care Travel Tips: 9 Questions to a Former Miss Tennessee

Jessica discovered her passion for skincare while managing a Med Spa in Nashville, TN. After completing her undergraduate degree at Middle Tennessee State University, she moved to Chicago and attended The Aveda Institute where she received her basic 750 hrs for a license in aesthetics. Jessica then went on to further her knowledge of skincare in a medical setting and received 200 hrs advanced training at TrueU University, focusing on advanced exfoliation techniques and the treatment of hyperpigmentation, acne, and anti-aging. Jessica specializes in the Hydrafacial, Micro-Needling, and eyebrow microblading Northwestern Plastic Surgery in Chicago.


Whether we are on the road or up in the air, not many realize that our skin gets quite the mileage when traveling. Compared to women, men usually don’t pay enough attention on how to take care of their skin and the necessity of doing so.

Myself, I travel quite a bit throughout the year to different destinations with various climates. Quite often, it’s usually by air, land, and sea. I’m either on a long-haul 15-hour trans-pacific flight, stuck in a desert-dry, pressurized cabin. Or on the road, exposed to the often times polluted air while trekking overland somewhere in Southeast Asia. Perhaps drenched under the sun while island hopping in the tropical islands of the Philippines.

Unfortunately, I’m no spring chicken anymore (womp womp)! As much as I love to wander and explore different places, I’m starting to see the effects of traveling taking a toll on my aging (sniff sniff) skin.

I recently sat down with Jess Hibler, Aesthetician from Northwestern Specialists in Plastic Surgery in Chicago, to give me some pointers on skin care while on the road…or air.

Jess Hibler
1) I’m in the plane – a lot. And sometimes for 15 or 16 hours straight. Is there anything that happens to our skin being in an airplane for that long?

Jess: Being in a plane for even a short flight will zap the moisture from your skin. Skin is at its best when humidity is between 40-70 percent. The humidity in a plane is typically around 20-30 percent, so you have to be proactive about staying hydrated. Dehydrated skin leads to inflamed, red, hypersensitive skin and can often lead to breakouts because the skin over produces oil to try and compensate.

Solution: water, water, and more water. Staying hydrated from the inside out if your best defense, and remember for every in-flight alcoholic beverage you should have 2 glasses of water.

Products/Services to pack/keep in mind: Use a product with hylaronic acid like Jan Marini HYLA serum. Hylaronic acid is a water loving molecule that attracts and hold moisture in the skin and it’s light and non-greasy so it’s great even for the acne prone. You should reapply every 2 hours while in flight.

2) I travel to Asia a lot – usually in countries where it’s hot and humid. What shall I keep in mind?

Jess: The most common issue associated with tropical climates is increased oil production and breakouts. When you’re in warm humid climate there is a lot of moisture in the air and that causes the pores to open up making your skin more sensitive to dirt, bacteria, and allergens. Using preventative skin care and keeping your skin as clean as possible can help combat this.

Solution: Keep your skin as clean as possible, make sure to wash morning and night. I like a wash that has an exfoliant in it like Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser, it has salicylic to help fight off acne and it’s foaming so it will break up any excess oil you’ve developed throughout the day. I also like to carry wipes so you can keep clean after the beach, or a workout. I like Simple Micellar cleansing wipes. Also, adding in a glycolic moisturizer will help keep oil production at bay as well as quickly heal any acne that might pop up. I recommend Glytone 10% lotion.

Products/Services to pack/keep in mind: Schedule a Hydrafacial as soon as you get home. It’s a super exfoliating machine facial that will clean up any bacteria that you picked up on your trip, and it will help to restore skins’ hydration to it’s natural balance.

3) Ok, but what if I go somewhere cold?

Jess: SPF! When traveling to cold climates people tend to neglect their sunscreen, it is equally important to wear SPF on a mountain as it is the beach. Especially important if you’ll be in snow or ice which reflects the sun back on your face. Also, it is important to keep the skin moisturized – select a heavier lotion when visiting cold climates.

Products/services to pack/keep in mind: My favorite cold weather sunscreen is ELTA MD Daily shield, it’s a SPF 45 and contains hylaronic acid that will keep skin hydrated even in harsh wind and cold weather.

4) If I’m not flying from one destination to another, I tend to take overnight buses or trains (mostly in Europe or Asia). Any skin care tips while on the road?

Jess: Keep the skin clean, you will be exposed to all sorts of pollution while on the road. Avoid wearing makeup if possible, and keep those face wipes handy for a quick clean up. SPF is also vital when you’re on the road.

People underestimate the amount of sun exposure you get in a car. If you don’t believe me, Google “Truck driver sun damage” and prepare to be traumatized! I also always keep a facial mist with me for a quick refresher.

Products/services to pack/keep in mind: Avene thermal spring water facial spray

5) I have combination/oily skin. Any tips on how to manage this while traveling somewhere warm?

Jess: The most factor in skin care is to have balanced skin, this means finding the right products for your specific skin type and adjusting as needed for different seasons and climates. Transition to lighter non-greasy lotion in the summer or in warmer climates, and add in a cleanser that combats oil build up like Neutrogena Salicylic wash. For those that are acne prone, add in a spot treatment like benzoyl peroxide for anything that might pop up.

6) Ok – Maybe a little bit more specific. What should I know before if I’m island hopping?

Jess: Salt water is amazing for all skin types! Especially those that are breakout prone or oilier skin types. Salt water is very cleansing, it helps heal current acne lesions and thwarts bacteria build up.

Salt water is balancing and detoxifying – so make sure you don’t skip out on a swim while you are island hopping. Just don’t forget to reapply SPF! Even if your skin type is not prone to burning, it is equally or even more important to apply SPF every day, and multiple times a day if you are in direct sun exposure.

7) What about hiking in the mountains?

Jess: A heavy barrier cream plus SPF is beneficial any time you’re in a snowy environment. Epionce medical barrier cream is a great protectant from wind, and frigid temps. I prescribe this to all my clients during Chicago weather as well.

8) What about those who have dry skin?

Jess: Prevention. Dryer skin types are prone to premature aging. Using good products and getting preventative treatments like microneedling will keep skin balanced and prevent premature aging. Microneedling is also referred to as “collagen induction therapy”. During the treatment, the faced is numbed with a topical lidocaine.

A device with fine needles creates tiny punctures in the top layer of the skin, this creates a wound response in the skin and increases collagen and elastin production. Results can include improved texture and firmness, as well as a reduction in scars, pore size, and stretch marks. Microneedling may also be combined with a topical treatment, like PRP (platelet rich plasma) or another vitamin-rich serum. Microneedling is a great preventative treatment for all skin types.

9) I prefer to travel light. So I hate packing with all these products because they take up too much space in my luggage. At the end of the day, which products do I really need?

Jess: Find travel friendly products and sizes that are convenient and you’ll be more likely to use them. I love facial wipes with micellar water because they pack well and no risk of a spill. a moisturizer with a chemical exfoliant (glycolic, salicylic, retinol etc.) and an SPF are must haves! Sephora is the best for travel and sample sizes, or ask your esthetician for samples of the products you already love.

Products/services you offer: All of our Jan Marini products come in travel sizes, and we’re always happy to give samples when we know clients are traveling. Doing your homework and keeping up with your routine makes my job so much easier!

Contact Jessica at NSPS and schedule a free consultation!

Northwestern Plastics
676 North Saint Clair Street, Suite 1575
Chicago, Illinois 60611
(312) 266-6240

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One Comment

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