What’s a better way to spend a well-deserved break from all your responsibilities than a bit of travel? Finally fulfilling your wanderlust may just give you precisely what you need: a change of pace. Your skin, however, may not appreciate it quite as keenly. Try as we might, acne outbreaks often happen whenever we travel. Nobody likes travelling to only for their skin to look similar to the surface of the authentic Italian pizza that they’re posing in front of. But it does little to change the fact that plenty of people do find that their skin tends to break out whenever they travel. Sometimes, it doesn’t even matter if you do wash your face at the end of the day — the pimples and scars will come anyway.
So, what gives, then? Why does this seem to happen all the time in spite of all your best efforts to keep breakouts at bay? Is there anything we can do about it?
Why Is Your Skin So Acne-Prone When You Travel?
Plenty of factors may be involved when it comes to acne breakouts on your travels. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Increased Stress Levels Prior To Travel
Planning for a trip can most certainly be stressful. Unless you’re the sort of person who prefers leaving every part of the planning process to everyone else, chances are, you’ve had to jump through hoops just to make the trip possible in the first place. From travel paperwork to booking tickets, there’s just so much to be done. When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones known as cortisol that can wreak havoc on your skin by increasing the production of sebum. This enables acne-causing bacteria on your skin to proliferate and lead to acne.
Sleep Schedule Changes
Your body doesn’t respond well to any changes in your sleep schedule. But that’s precisely what will happen whenever you travel, especially if your destination is located several time zones apart from your place of origin. It takes about a day per time zone for your body to recover from these changes. This gives your skin less time to recover and repair itself, thus making it more prone to acne. Your body is also less able to control the release of cortisol, which can further worsen matters.
Dry Cabin Air
The optimal humidity for most skin types ranges between 40% to 70%, but the aeroplane cabin goes well under that range. Most of them may be as dry as 20%. Naturally, your skin tends to go berserk as a result. Everyone’s experiences may vary here. Some people find that their skin turns dry and flaky. For the rest of us, however, our bodies might try to protect itself by overcompensating. Instead of drying up completely, our skin turns greasy due to the increase in the production of sebum, which, of course, may lead to acne.
Changes in Climate
It should really dawn on you by now that your body hates change, especially sudden ones. Hence, any change in the environment around you is most definitely going to affect your skin. If you’ve lived in hot and humid Singapore for years, but you’re travelling to dry climate, your skin is suddenly forced to adjust to a much drier climate. The same applies for anyone doing the reverse and moving from a dry to humid climate. Without making the right adjustments to your skincare routine, your skin is not going to be able to cope, which can often manifest as acne.
Food, Food, Food
When you’re travelling, you might be caught by the intense need to go on an epic gastronomical adventure. The only problem here is that some foods do tend to indirectly increase the incidence of acne. Foods that are high on the glycaemic index, for instance, are one of the biggest culprits behind acne. Scientists believe that foods that are high on the glycaemic index tend to cause sudden spikes in blood glucose levels, which, in turn, may lead to inflammation in your body, including your skin. In fact, numerous studies have even discovered that people also tend to see a vast improvement in acne after shifting from high to low glycaemic diet. That’s why you might just find yourself in a bit of a spot in the middle of your trip, especially after you’ve just had an entire day’s worth of sinful delights.
How To Combat Acne Breakouts When You Travel
Fortunately, there are ways you can combat those pesky pimples, starting with the following:
- Keep yourself hydrated at all times
- Take naps whenever you can
- Pack your travel beauty essentials smartly
- Try to find time for exercise to help improve healthy blood circulation
- Never skip sunscreen
- Always find time to remove your makeup before you sleep
The little things can make a difference between the perfect Instagram shot and pizza-face.