Thanksgiving is just one week away, and the HuffPost Style editors are counting down the hours until we are reunited with family, friends and home-cooked meals. But what we dread most about the busy holiday travel season is the toll it takes on our skin. Our faces end up puffy, dry and damn-near unrecognizable by the time we reach our final destination.
"Traveling is often stressful and stress leads to dehydration," Dr. Howard Murad, a renowned dermatologist and the creator of Murad skincare, told us. "When looking at how we can maintain proper hydration, it's important that we address the issues using an inclusive health three-pronged approach: looking better, which is achieved through the topical use of high-performance and efficacious products; living better with a diet high in water-rich foods to fuel your body to optimal levels of health; and feeling better through emotional self-care and stress management."
So how do we apply Murad's holistic philosophy to skincare when we're in the throes of holiday travel? We've got your ultimate guide to staying beautiful no matter your mode of transportation.
Before you board your flight...
Stock up on raw fruits and veggies. "There are a couple of reasons that you get puffy when flying. The first is that you tend to eat foods that are dehydrating and high in salt," Murad explains. "Try to stay away from eating the high-salt content snacks, like pretzels and peanuts. Eating raw fruits and vegetables will not only help keep you hydrated and prevent puffiness and bloating, you'll get the added boost of important antioxidants, fiber and other nutrients."
Put on an all-purpose cream. It takes about 30 minutes for a moisturizer to absorb, according to Murad, so he recommends applying it about 30 minutes before boarding. Depending on how dry your skin is, reapply up to every hour throughout the flight.
Once you're on-board...
Eat your healthy snacks. "Oftentimes, you lose valuable nutrients when the body is flushed with too much water and just find yourself running to the bathroom every five minutes. Eating your water in the form of raw vegetables and fruits allows a slow release of hydration to the body, without all the trips to the bathroom you get when you flush your body with glass after glass of water," Murad says.
Stretch your legs. The second reason you may experience puffiness or bloating is because when you are sitting on the airplane, you may not be getting enough circulation. Murad believes you can help prevent this by getting up to walk around and stretching periodically throughout the flight.
Tap into your inner zen master. "If you approach things with a positive attitude and allow yourself to be flexible, the stresses of traveling will be much easier to handle and will not be so harmful," he adds.
Before you hop on the highway...
Clean up your vehicle. There can be a great deal of germs and dirt on windows and seat belts, and "by exposing yourself to those harmful toxins, you may be damaging the skin," Murad says.
Put on sunscreen. "Sun damage is very prevalent in cars as the UV rays can penetrate glass windows," explains Murad. "Always be sure to wear an SPF [sunscreen] that contains antioxidants to help prevent sun damage, and remember to apply sunscreen even if it isn’t sunny outside."
Once you're on the road...
Try not to drink too much coffee. Caffeine is a major cause of dehydration. Opt for refreshing smoothies or fruit juices to keep you hydrated during your trip. Murad also suggests making your own at home (a wallet-friendly tip) and storing them in a thermos to enjoy later.
Skip the fast food and processed snacks. Foods that lack water and are high in salt such as chips, peanuts and pretzels should be avoided. This also includes foods that were previously frozen or dehydrated, like a fast food hamburger and French fries, according to the dermatologist. "Eating your water to stay hydrated and moisturized will not only help keep you hydrated and prevent puffiness and bloating, you'll get the added boost of important antioxidants, fiber and other nutrients," says Dr. Murad.
Listen to some music or an audiobook. A well-curated playlist (we prefer Beyoncé) or a good audio read helps to make the miles fly by. And if you're on a long-distance trip, making a few rest stops will help to minimize stress levels.
Before you plop down in your window seat...
Taking the night train? Wash off all your makeup. Washing your face before bedtime, whether on a train or not, has less to do with the act of removing the makeup and more to do with properly cleansing, treating and moisturizing the skin, Murad says. This allow your skin to protect and repair itself while you are sleeping.
Smooth on a serum. On trains, the air conditioning or heat (this time of year, it would likely be heat) can be very dehydrating. Murad recommends taking care of your skin and body in the same way you would in preparation for flying to prevent dehydration. "Use a serum along with a rich moisturizer that contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and hydrators to prevent free-radical damage and dehydration that is often a result of traveling," he says.
While you're watching the world pass by...
Order nutritional meals. Eating omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods, like cold-water fish, almonds, walnuts and avocados, as well as foods like eggs and beans, Murad says. "You will notice an increased level of cell-turnover and a plump, glowing texture."
"Additionally, try to incorporate an antioxidant supplement to fight free-radical damage along with a fish oil supplement to encourage hydration," he says.
Spark up a light conversation. If you're not getting disgruntled vibes from your seatmate, or you're next to an antsy kid, get to know your fellow train-rider. Maybe even play a game of Words With Friends. It'll keep everyone sane.
Before you set sail...
Properly cleanse and moisturize your skin. "Based on years of research and seeing patients, I know that skincare is health care; to properly take care of your skin, you should use a cleanser, serum and moisturizer (with SPF during the day) that are rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C," says Murad.
As you're tugging along...
Eat your sunscreen. To boost the efficacy of topical sunscreen, Murad suggests arming yourself with fruits that contain nutrients that can protect you from the inside out. He explains, "Pomegranates are a great source of pomphenol and ellagic acid, one of nature's most powerful antioxidants. Pomphenol has actually been proven to improve the SPF of topical sunscreens and because free radical damage affects every cell in the body, pomphenol is a great way to prevent damage from occurring inside the body. Foods such as pomegranates, goji berries, tomatoes, watermelon, broccoli, cabbage, mangoes, strawberries and green tea help protect skin from harmful free radicals which result in pigment changes and aging skin."
Be mindful of how much time you spend on deck. Murad believes salt water and ocean air can be very good for the skin. "Salts help to draw out toxins, dirt, and pollutants that can build up in the pores over time. Additionally, the salt in salt water can help exfoliate the surface of the skin, removing dead skin cells and increasing cell turnover, which helps skin appear younger, healthier and feel softer. Ocean air is typically fresh air that is charged with healthy negative ions, which can help balance serotonin levels, a chemical that is linked with mood and stress."
"However, spending too much time in the salt water can cause dehydration," he cautions. "So make sure to have a good moisturizer on hand."
These stars sure make traveling look easy:
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