Everyone needs a change of scenery from time to time and there’s a lot to choose from. You can relax on a beach, hit the slopes, hike trails, or walk the ancient, cobbled streets of a European destination.
No matter where you’re going or what you’re doing, it seems you can’t escape your acne. A flare-up might start right before you leave or at some point after you arrive. It doesn’t really matter because there’s never a convenient time.
If you want to look great in those selfies you post on social media, you will have to face the acne. Be prepared to deal with it on the go. Here are a few tips for managing acne while you’re on vacation.
Pack Your Acne Treatment
It doesn’t matter whether you use antibiotics, retinoids, the pill, or spironolactone to control your acne. Make sure you pack your acne treatment. Your breakout-prone areas will thank you for it.
Vacations, by definition, disrupt your normal routine, and those disruptions can lead to breakouts. Differences in weather, time zones, cuisine, and exotic location are some of the reasons you travel. Although you can’t control those differences, you can try to maintain your skincare regimen while you’re out.
Make sure you pack enough supplies to get you through the duration, including travel days. If flying put a couple of days’ worth in your carry-on, in case your luggage doesn’t arrive when you do. You can pack up to 3.4 ounces of liquids, creams, pastes, or gels.
Don’t forget to take patches, sheets, and other spot treatments which you can use overnight or on the go. It’s tough to wash your face in an airplane or public restroom. So, keep portable treatment on hand to keep your pores clean.
Your trouble spots won’t appreciate taking a break, even if the rest of you needs it. Vacation also isn’t the time to try something new in lieu of your normal acne treatment. Don’t leave home without it.
Traveling is a major zapper of hydration and adequate water consumption is beneficial for your skin. There is no conclusive scientific evidence that proper hydration reduces acne, but there are some links.
Drinking water does help keep your skin from drying out. That means you won’t need to use a moisturizer that could break you out. It also means your pores won’t gape more, letting oil and dirt submerge even deeper than usual.
Airplane cabins are notoriously dry, with humidity levels at only 10% to 20% instead of the normal 30% to 65%. So are trains, automobiles, and most inside spaces like hotel rooms and museums. Air conditioning removes humidity to keep you cool and comfortable.
Drink water throughout your flight instead of caffeine, soft drinks, or alcohol. When you reach your destination, carry your refillable water bottle with you wherever you go. Drink a glass of water with every meal, even if you drink another beverage as well.
If you’re traveling to a spot where the water quality is dicey, drink bottled water or use a straw filter. Whatever you do, don’t let your water consumption go down on vacation. Proper hydration benefits your body in numerous ways, including its ability to help you put on a happy face.
Watch What You Consume
Part of the fun of vacationing is experiencing the food and beverage culture of another place. You can have a mimosa or bloody mary with your breakfast on the beach and no one will judge. You can randomly stop for an éclair or scoop of gelato without worrying about the extra calories.
Sadly, your acne doesn’t take a holiday. If alcohol, sugar, dairy, or spicy foods break you out in the real world, they will do so on vacation as well. Of course, this shouldn’t keep you from indulging at all. You should just do so sparingly with those acne triggers. Make sure you eat at least one healthy meal a day to help put the kibosh on breakouts.
Pack some healthy snacks before you leave home and keep them in your backpack when you head out for sightseeing. Especially the first few days, your internal hunger clock will be off-kilter. Carrying a healthy snack will help you avoid always reaching for those tempting but unhealthy ones.
Even though you’re on vacation, the everything-in-moderation rule applies. Enjoy those new and different things to eat and drink judiciously. You may stop an inconvenient indulgence-triggered breakout.
Time It Right
Women often schedule events around their monthly cycles. A vacation is certainly more enjoyable if you can leave Aunt Flo at home. That’s particularly true if you plan on spending a lot of time in a bathing suit.
If your acne flare-ups are triggered by hormones, that’s another terrific reason to time your vacation right. You need to figure in both the length of your period and the length of your trip. Finding the sweet spot between premenstrual breakouts and the end of your period can be tricky.
Acne often strikes right before your period begins and lasts for the duration. That’s because your estrogen and progesterone levels plummet and your androgen hormones, including testosterone, rise. Testosterone causes the production of sebum (an oily, waxy substance) in hair follicles to go into overdrive.
Although not cyclical, high testosterone production in guys causes the same sebum-production issue. While normal amounts of sebum keep skin healthy, overproduction traps dead skin cells and dirt, causing blemishes. Men should avoid anabolic steroids, corticosteroids, and refined carbohydrates; also exercise regularly and get enough sleep to regulate testosterone levels.
For women, the cyclical nature makes it easier to plan around unless you have irregular periods. Keep those in mind as you schedule your getaway, and you might avoid an annoying outbreak.
Of course, stress may trigger your acne, so as you plan your trip and while you’re traveling, try to relax. Enjoying yourself is, after all, the point. Be prepared, manage any pesky pimples that appear, and knock your selfie-self out.