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5 Expert Tips for Travel Skin Care

My job takes me all over the world to lecture on the latest advances in skin care and cosmetic procedures, so I’ve had my luggage lost enough times to rely on carry on bags whenever possible. Since current rules make it tough to get all the hair and skin care products that I use through security, I’ve developed a few tricks to ensure my ultra-sensitive skin survives the trip.


1. Know the rules
All of the liquids you bring on the plane must fit in a one-quart, zip-top bag and no container can be larger than 3.4 ounces. Tweezers, nail scissors, and other sharp grooming instruments are no-nos. Rules do change, so check for updates before you fly.

2. Determine your vital skin care products

I never travel without the 5 essentials:

  • cleanser
  • moisturizer with sunscreen
  • night treatment
  • lip hydrator
  • hand and body lotion

Air travel dries out your skin, so choose a nonfoaming cleanser like Cetaphil or Cera-Ve that won’t strip vital fats from your skin. If you have oily skin, opt for a sunscreen without moisturizer, such Jan Marini Antioxidant SPF 30, otherwise, a moisturizer with SPF is fine—I use La Roche Posay Hydraphase UV. For nighttime, you need a product specific to your skin type, such as an acne treatment or anti-inflammatory cream. Since I have sensitive skin, I use Caudalie Vinosource Cream Mask, which comes in a convenient travel kit.

3. Pack for specific destinations

Consider the climate at your destination. If it is drier than you are accustomed to, then you need a heavier moisturizer; if it’s more humid, you might not need moisturizer at all. Those travelling to hot, sunny places or ski resorts (where sun reflects off snow) should be particularly vigilant about sun protection. TIP: Keep in mind that SPF loses its potency over time, so buy sunscreen once you’re there instead of digging out that old tube from last summer.

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4. Pare down

Figure out what doesn’t need to go in that zip-top bag—including cleansing wipes, such as the ones by Ponds or Dermalogica, and products that come in solid form, like bars and sticks. For example, take a lip balm in stick form, like Hwood Beauty Pom-Rose Lip Tea, and opt for a solid deodorant and bar soap like Dove. You can even buy shampoo and body lotion in bar form—try the Godiva Shampoo Bar or Therapy Massage Bar from Lush. Or just skip traveling with body lotion and use the complimentary one at your hotel.

5. Be a savvy shopper

Why buy what you can get for free? Pack perfume samples instead of a full-size bottle, and ask your dermatologist if she has sample sizes of your skincare prescriptions.
Where possible, take inexpensive products you can abandon in favor of the great finds you discover on your trip—I’m always coming home with some type of skin care discovery! Some stores, such as CVS and Sephora, offer travel-size sections, and web retailers like SkinCareRX or feature products at many price points that meet the 3.4-ounce rule.

Photo Credits: Courtesy Jan Marini, La Roche-Posay, and Caudalíe

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