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Skincare Routine While Traveling

Every year, more than 72 million Brits head to foreign shores in search of sun, slopes or cities to break away from the UK’s usual doom and gloom. Having been on quite a few holidays, weekend breaks and overnight escapes in the past few years, I’ve learned a few valuable lessons about packing, especially when it comes to makeup and skincare.

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After my complexion took a drastic turn for the worst one trip abroad, I learned very quickly which essential items are needed for every trip (no matter how brief) and which products from my 7-step routine I could safely leave at home.

Here, I will divulge my 4 best kept holiday skincare secrets to make packing that bit easier, without sacrificing your strict daily bathroom ritual that keeps your skin clear and poreless.

1. Pack a Tonne of Masks

If you’re a face mask obsessive like me, fitting in a mask at least 3 days per week is elementary when you’re at home; simply reach for your nearest pot of clay mask and wash off when set, cleaning up any mess as you go. When you’re off exploring the world or are away for the weekend, packing these clunky pots is not ideal, and application/removal is not exactly a proper process. Masking almost always results in a horrible muddy mess all over the sink!

A cleaner alternative would be to reach for a perfectly packaged sheet mask – I love the refreshing feeling you get when you first place a sheet mask on your face as the creams and serums begin to sink in. They’re simple, effective, easy to remove and take up very little space in your luggage. Sheet masks can come in various styles; some are a gel, some made with fabric, all soaked and enriched with nutrient-packed serums.

Favorite ingredients include Vitamin C, collagen, coconut and aloe vera, which can all be used to address different skin problems. My favorite sheet masks are drenched in clay and seaweed to clarify, brighten and soothe my skin, exactly what your skin needs after a long day touring a new city. All you need to do is pack a few must-have sheet masks in your luggage and apply as and when required for a little refresher or quick skin fix, wherever you are in the world!

2. Know Your Skin

It’s always important to know what your skin needs and what each of your skin care product is supposed to do to your skin; what issue it addresses, what ingredients are included and whether it’s suitable for your skin type.

When creating a more concise holiday skincare routine than your existing one at home, you need to choose products that complement each other and don’t negatively affect other products’ ingredients. Using a product that enriches your skin with moisture, followed by another product that strips it of natural oils, isn’t going to work.

A skincare regime needs to address your specific skin issues; whether it’s to reduce signs of aging, help the skin retain more moisture, or simply to get rid of your morning under-eye circles, every product you use needs to work seamlessly with each other.

If you have dry skin, all products need to address this, as well as the main skincare issue you may have. You also need to make sure the makeup and skincare products are suitable for your skin type, so you don’t end up making your skin worse.

Taking an online beauty quiz will help you better understand your skin’s needs, so you know which products to use to create your bespoke holiday skincare routine. In addition to all this, you must think about what type of environment you will be in while on holiday.

If you’re in a hot country, look for mattifying skincare products that will keep the shininess at a minimum as well as stopping any sweat from clogging your pores. If you’re in a cold environment, you’ll need to think about what products can stop your skin drying out and look for best facial toner, moisturizing serums and creams. Just a little planning can help your skin tremendously!

3. Look for DIY Alternatives

Packing light is achievable, even when you’re in the middle of a week-long skin detox or trialing a new skincare regime. If you’re anxious about space in your luggage, you can look for everyday household items to supplement your holiday skincare routine, leaving you more packing space for the essentials – shoes!

There’s a lot you can do with products around your home, Airbnb, villa, and hotel – as long as you have access to ice cubes, lemons, oats and honey (all of which you can pinch from your hotel’s breakfast buffet), you can make your skincare products!

Ice is great for tightening pores, oats and honey would make a fab nourishing and exfoliant, and lemons are useful for reducing redness and getting rid of under-eye circles. [1]

Facial Mask

Give a try to DIY Alternatives, facial mask, exfoliation and other as per your skin type.

With you sourcing all essential face products, you can be certain that they are completely natural, chemical-free, and products that can only benefit your skin, reducing the hoard of bottles, pots, and sachets you were hoping to bring with you.

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4. Opt for Multi-Use Products

My best skincare tips were saved until last! Using a multi-use product is a great time and space saving travel essential that can potentially cut your holiday skincare routine down to just one item. Replacing your cleanser, exfoliator, moisturizer, mask, balm, and serum, an all-in-one product can be used for everything imaginable!

Other uses outside of the standard skincare uses for multi-use products include applying to your cuticles and hands to keep them full of moisture and avoid the inevitable drying of the sun/cold we all suffer from all year round and adding a little to your foundation to also create a dewy, natural-looking glow, meaning you can also cut down on how much makeup and other toiletries you bring! [2]

Packing a product that can also double as an SPF sun cream (you can usually find SPF in moisturizers) will free up even more suitcase space too!

As we finally approach summer, the sandy shores of the Mediterranean are beckoning my name, urging me to book a holiday right here and now. Using the handy holiday skincare routine tips I’ve picked up over the years, I’m already envisioning the travel skincare essentials I’ll need to pack so I can maintain my skin and avoid the dreaded holiday breakout.

With these extremely helpful tips, I hope your skincare travel tips are more compact and concise than ever before, making packing light a reality!

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2 Sources

We review published medical research in respected scientific journals to arrive at our conclusions about a product or health topic. This ensures the highest standard of scientific accuracy.

[1] Park M, Kim H, Kim S, Lee J, Kim S, Byun JW, Hwang-Bo J, Park KH. Changes in skin wrinkles and pores due to long-term mask wear. Skin Res Technol. 2021 Sep;27(5):785-788. doi: 10.1111/srt.13019. Epub 2021 Feb 27. PMID: 33638266; PMCID: PMC8014490.
[2] Bouslimani, A., da Silva, R., Kosciolek, T. et al. The impact of skin care products on skin chemistry and microbiome dynamics. BMC Biol 17, 47 (2019).
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MaryBeth Parisi, MD

Dr. MaryBeth Parisi is a board-certified Harvard trained Dermatologist. She has over 18 years of experience in the field of skin care.