We’ve all come to accept that skin changes with age, and the way it looks has a lot to do with our DNA (this is called intrinsic aging). But did you know that almost 85 percent of our skin’s “visible age” can be controlled by our lifestyle choices and habits?1 This is excellent news, because it means we can consciously make skin-friendly choices – eating lots of vegetables, getting quality sleep, and committing to a highly effective skincare ritual, to name a few.
What we do now can help us look radiant and youthful well into the future.
We may have our skincare routines at home down pat, but traveling presents a whole new host of challenges. Skin can be shocked by a different environment, whether it’s a markedly hotter or colder environment, or one with more humidity. Our skin, like our entire body as a whole, has an “immunity” that can weaken under climatic attack. It’s important to nurture it the same way you do when you up your vitamin intake in the winter.2
Learn the basics of how skincare while you travel based on various environmental circumstances.
Extreme heat means you’re likely being exposed to UV rays more intensely than usual. While the immediate, visible skin effects include tanning and a rise in temperature, UV rays also cause cellular damage within the layers of the skin. This causes premature aging, which in turn leads to wrinkles, dark spots, and even thickened skin.3
If you’re travelling to a destination that’s hot and dry, make sun care your top priority. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), peak UV hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during daylight savings time. If you can stay indoors, or take extra precautions like wearing a wide-brimmed hat and waterproof sunscreen, your skin will thank you.4
And don’t forget to carry a broad-spectrum sunscreen around with you to reapply every few hours. According to the American Cancer Society, you should choose one that’s waterproof and is at least SPF 30.5 To keep skin supple in high heat, choose a light moisturizer with ultra-hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, since sun exposure causes drying.
If you’re heading to a tropical destination, expect a lot of sweat on top of the heat. Sweat doesn’t evaporate or “disappear” from your skin, which can lead to clogged pores along with that incredibly uncomfortable feeling of stickiness.6
In a humid climate, you want to focus on maintaining skin’s balance by using lightly textured skin care that helps mattify and combat potential breakouts. After you cleanse and tone, use a mattifying, non-comedogenic serum or lotion, then follow with a weightless, broad-spectrum sunscreen. Carry oil-blotting papers with you, to keep your skin from becoming swampy. Use a hydrating mist to refresh skin every so often.
Skin Care In Extreme Cold and Harsh Winds
Heading to a snowy place? Extreme cold and harsh winds dry out skin fast, causing flakiness, irritation, itching, burning, redness, and patchy spots. According to the American Skin Association, dry skin (also called xerosis) is often exacerbated by extreme cold and low-humidity conditions, as the cold winds tend to strip the skin of its natural oil barrier.7 Balance dry skin by applying rich moisturizers and creams, like Lift + Firm, to help form a protective layer to prevent water loss.
Also, make sure your cleanser and toner don’t contain abrasive chemicals that strip the skin’s natural oils. Alcohol and salicylic acid are two popular ingredients in skin care that can expedite dryness.
Finally, a wintery climate doesn’t mean you can skip sun protection. In fact, snow can reflect almost 80 percent of the sun’s rays, and a higher altitude puts you at increased risk for skin damage.8 Grab that broad-spectrum sunscreen before you hit the slopes!
Control Your Skincare Climate
If you take care of your skin according to your current climate and environment, you can help your largest living organ remain healthy and radiant, despite all the abrupt changes. Even if you’re not quite digging the humidity or winds, your skin doesn’t have to show it. After all, if you’re traveling, the last thing you want to worry about is fussy, irritated skin.
For more travel skincare tips, keep reading here:
1 Staurowsky C. Extrinsic Aging: Avoiding the Preventable. Dermascopecom. 2013. Accessed April 12, 2017.
2 Bangert C, Brunner P, Stingl G. Immune functions of the skin. Clinics in Dermatology. 2011;29(4):360-376. doi:10.1016/j.clindermatol.2011.01.006.
3 Cho S, Shin M, Kim Y et al. Effects of Infrared Radiation and Heat on Human Skin Aging in vivo. Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings. 2009;14(1):15-19. doi:10.1038/jidsymp.2009.7.
4 Questions & Answers on Skin Cancer Prevention. 2002.
5 Simon S. Choose the Right Sunscreen. Cancerorg. 2016. Accessed April 12, 2017.
6 Goad N. The impact of ambient humidity on healthy and diseased skin.
7 Dry Skin  |  American Skin Association. Americanskinorg. Accessed April 12, 2017.
8 Essential Outdoor Sun Safety Tips for Winter – SkinCancer.org. Skincancerorg. 2010. Accessed April 12, 2017.