Dry skin on airplanes

Ian and I have been on planes a lot recently. The last time we were about to board flights going in opposite directions, we were complaining about how dry the air is on those planes… making you thirsty, and worse, drying up your skin.

And why does your skin get so dry? All of these reasons are caused by the high altitudes (>25,000 ft) at which many planes fly:

  1. Low humidity: Relative humidity is less than 25% on airplanes, and can go as low as 1%. This is way worse than the Sahara, apparently. Here are some things you can do to fight that dry air, although I don’t intend to apply an edible vegetable oil inside my nostrils.
  2. Low oxygen content: Healthy skin needs oxygen ((“Special Focus Topic: Skin Care.” DOI: 10.1177/014572170403000616; 2004; 30; 952 The Diabetes Educator.))  ((The Look You Like: Medical Answers to 400 Questions on Skin and Hair Care (p. 116) [This article states the importance of oxygen for skin, but also suggests you can't just apply oxygen to skin to make up for it (which is what a LOT of skin care products would have you think).])), and it doesn’t get it at those high altitudes.
  3. High ozone levels: “the combination of ozone and the oils in skin, hair and clothing is producing toxic chemicals known to cause headaches, nasal irritation, and a number of other symptoms associated with ‘sick building syndrome’, including dry, itchy skin.” ((http://www.theopenpress.com/index.php?a=press&id=23934)) Installing ozone-destroying catalysts in all planes could help.

I can’t even imagine what it’s like for flight attendants’ skin. :(

November 15, 2007. travel. 1 Comment.

One Comment

  1. Rachel replied:

    I like this suggestion:

    Spritz your face often; use an empty perfume atomizer and refill it from your own drinking water or buy a water spritzer (used for ironing).

    BONUS: Annoy your seatmates! Use it on that annoying brat kicking your seat.

    November 16th, 2007 at 2:28 pm. Permalink.

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