Roaming the world certainly has its advantages. The exposure to new cultures, foods, people, feeling of freedom – it’s all great. There are, however, a few downsides to a life spent on the road. One of the smaller, albeit annoying ones is skincare. As magical as it is to travel between the snowy and windswept Swiss Alps to the hot, muggy beaches of Phuket, you’re skin is likely to be just as confused as your circadian rhythms by the time you land.
Several years of heavy traveling combined with insanely sensitive skin has allowed me to hone in on a fairly reliable skincare regimen for my life on the road, which I feel compelled to share.
In lieu of a normal moisturizer, I opt for after-sun moisturizing cream with aloe. This is especially helpful following long airplane flights or when your skin is feeling a bit dry. I apply it twice a day – once before bed to keep my skin hydrated throughout the night and once in the morning. If I’m staying anywhere for more than two weeks, I tend to buy a bottle at my destination to avoid any air-travel issues. However, they do come in 4oz bottles or smaller which are perfect for weekend getaways. Make sure to buy the lotion, not the gel.
Unless I’m off to a special event, I leave the makeup behind when I travel and just take BB cream. BB stands for blemish balm and combines concealer, foundation, moisturizer and sunscreen all in one package! BB cream has revolutionized my travel life and I don’t know how I lived without it. One application in the morning is enough to last the rest of the day and it actually improves the complexion of the skin over time.
I haven’t been able to test the difference between the higher-end brands and the drugstore versions, but for me the most important element is the sunscreen – I look for SPF 15+ UVA/UVB at the very least. Those with fairer skin (I’m Asian) might was SPF 30+.
Dry, patchy and unruly skin is inevitable when traveling. My ultra-sensitive skin responds horribly to airplane travel, dry air and just gets irritated very easily. For this, I employ two solutions.
Sensicure is a bit of an indulgence at $35/bottle, but provides a protective coating on irritated skin and calms it down faster than anything I’ve ever tried. For problem spots, I use a dab of calamine/zinc cream which treats raw or windswept skin really well and is available at most drug stores for a few dollars.
Somehow I managed to inherit skin that is both prone to dryness AND oily. I travel to Thailand a lot and this wreaks havoc on my sebaceous glands. My best solution for this has been using simple, cheap, drugstore blotting wipes. I often buy them at 7/11 in Thailand for a dollar or two. A quick blot every few hours manages my oily skin fairly well. About every other day, I use an apricot scrub to help scrub away any layers of sebum regular soap and water won’t penetrate. There are scrubs with acne medication for those that suffer from acne as well.
Aside from Sensicure, all of the products mentioned can be found at most drugstores for $5/bottle or less. I’ve found that when it comes to skincare on the road, the simpler, the better.