Skincare tips for traveling

How to prevent acne breakouts while traveling.

5 minute read

We’re here to tell you what we know, but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider about your specific health concerns.

Table of Contents

Wherever you’re going, travel presents a lot of acne-triggering opportunities: The long flights, fast food, and sudden changes of routine can do a number on your skin. Fortunately, all it takes to prevent breakouts is a little forethought — and your Curology custom formula.

Start hydrating the night before you fly

The recirculated air in planes can be really drying, so stay on top of your hydration the entire time. Drink plenty of water, and use a little extra moisturizer. Don’t put anything but a moisturizing sunscreen on your skin while you’re flying, and hold off on applying any heavy makeup until you get to your destination. You can even do a sleeping mask in-flight to keep your skin hydrated and in good condition.

Bring hand sanitizer (and don’t touch your face!)

Airplanes and airports are rife with places for bacteria to grow, so wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer frequently. And don’t touch your face!

Watch what you eat

We get it — eating is half the fun of going on a vacation! Just be careful to limit your intake of dairy and high-glycemic-index foods (foods loaded with sugars and starches that are digested quickly, sending insulin levels sky-high and triggering more oil production in the sebaceous glands), as these are common contributors to acne. Avoid sugary snacks and drinks, and (again) make sure to drink plenty of water.


Pack your Curology bottle

Per TSA regulations, carry-on liquids or creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or less per container. Curology members have no problems here! Our two-month bottle of night cream, which is 24ml, can go right in your carry-on bag.

In case of pimple emergency, reach for your emergency spot patches (aka hydrocolloid acne covers)

What do you do if a pimple decides to pop up when you’re traveling? Shrink it down to size with an acne cover or pimple patch, aka hydrocolloid bandage. Hydrocolloid bandages absorb buildup from pimples, and provide a moist environment to speed up the healing and decrease potential for scarring.

Men's Acne Guide

They say necessity is the mother of invention, which is why we made acne patches designed to blend into your skin—and even under makeup. The Emergency Spot Patch by Curology is so low-profile, you can wear it out and about during the day. Thin enough to layer under makeup, this hydrocolloid patch absorbs pus and oil without using active ingredients that might irritate your skin. Our spot patch is here to support you—without stealing the spotlight.

Of course, any hydrocolloid bandage found at your local pharmacy will do. You can wear one overnight or even on the plane. Do make sure to apply any acne patch or hydrocolloid bandage before applying your custom Curology cream (or other creamy skincare products such as moisturizer) to allow the patch to stick to your face and do its thing.

Bring a face mist

Facial misting sprays such as Evian Mineral Water Spray or Avene Thermal Spring Water are a soothing treat for dry, flaky, easily irritated skin. After spraying the mist evenly over your face, apply serum or moisturizer while still damp to seal in the hydration. Bonus: a spritz or two of light, water-based facial mist is a great pick-me-up when you’re feeling the slog of a long flight. Just stash a travel-sized bottle in your carry-on.

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Avoid using face wipes

Convenient as they are in on-the-go situations, most face wipes can be really irritating to the skin. Your best, safest bet is to use micellar water wipes, like Bioderma Sensibo H2O Biodegradable Wipes ($9.90 on Amazon). Another great option: carry-on-friendly sized bottles of Bioderma’s micellar water (Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water, 3.3Fl.Oz., $6.90 on Amazon) that you can apply to a cotton pad and swipe gently on your face to cleanse anywhere, anytime.

Bring a good SPF


Sun damage can trigger acne-causing inflammation and irritation in the skin, so sun protection is essential if you’re vacationing in the great outdoors. Remember: SPF is important whether you’re at the beach or downhill skiing — snow reflects the sun’s harmful UV rays!

Curology's skincare experts don’t advise seeking the sun for any reason. But, have you ever wondered why your acne improves after a day at the beach? Light in the UV range has been shown to decrease inflammation such as acne. But with the sun, a little goes a long way. Anything beyond 5 minutes per day of direct sunlight and the aging and carcinogenic effects are the obvious trade-off. Not to mention, you may get a sunburn!

Take your vitamins


You can boost your sun protection by taking an oral dietary supplement called Heliocare (in addition to wearing hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen, of course). Heliocare capsules contain antioxidant-packed Polypodium leucotomos, an extract of a fern found in Central and South America used for centuries to treat skin disorders. The antioxidants help fight the free radicals produced during sun exposure, decreasing sunburn response and helping to prevent sun damage. You might take a capsule every day, increasing to two capsules on days with more sun exposure.


Come on in, the water is fine

Some people notice that their skin gets a little clearer when they’ve been swimming in the ocean — possibly because of the salt water — though that one may not be backed up by hard data. However, there is another reason your skin can benefit from a swim in the ocean (or a salt water pool): reduced stress levels. Learn about our recommended skincare guide for swimmers here.

Come home clear, calm, and refreshed

Traveling can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be so stressful on your skin. Drink lots of water, relax and recharge, and keep applying your Curology cream at night and SPF during the day. And of course, you can ask your Curology provider any questions you need answered wherever you’ve got internet access.

• • •

Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).

We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.


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