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Skincare Travel Essentials

Not sure what to pack now that travel and holidays are back on the agenda? Read on to discover which skincare products deserve a precious place in your suitcase – and what should stay at home.

Travel isn’t something that many of us have had to think about too much over the past 18 months. The COVID pandemic – and its ensuing lockdowns  – kept most of us at home throughout 2020 and the first half of 2021. Now that restrictions have eased, however, travel is back on the agenda, both within the UK and even further afield. All of which means it’s time to turn your attention back to your skincare travel essentials, and how to keep your complexion clear and glowing while on the go.

Adapt not Reinvent

As the saying goes, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. A holiday (or business trip) is not the best time to be experimenting with completely new products or procedures. The likes of chemical peels and retinol can achieve amazing results. But if you’ve never used them before, wait a while longer. Travel often involves a lot of changes you can’t control (for example different weather, food and water). Wherever possible, keep your skincare routine consistent, using tried-and-tested formulas that you know suit your skin. Tweaking things a little (perhaps paring down your usual routine) is usually all that’s required. 

Rather than trialling new formulations, why not investigate mini sizes or travel versions of your usual skincare products instead? Larger sizes save you money in the long run, but they take up a lot of space in your suitcase. Look out for special travel sets that let you travel light, or decant your favourite products into smaller containers. 

Did you know that Medik8 offers a wide range of products in special ‘Try Me’ 8ml and 40ml sizes? These miniature marvels are the perfect, purse-friendly option for travel, holidays, overnight stays – and even your gym bag. They’re also great for gifting. Alternatively, why not treat yourself to a discovery kit? The Essential CSA Kit was designed to introduce consumers to Medik8’s famous CSA Philosophy (which recommends Vitamin C and sunscreen by day, plus Vitamin A at night). This set is perfect if you’re keen to pare down your routine while travelling, while still covering all the skincare basics.

Continue to Cleanse!

A trip away doesn’t mean a holiday from cleansing. It’s the central step in any skincare routine, and it’s even more important if you’re using public transport, or wearing more SPF than usual. If you’re lucky enough to be jetting off somewhere hot, you’re also more likely to sweat more, so it’s vital to keep your skin clean. If your skin is sensitive, or reacts badly to a change of water, consider packing a no-rinse cleansing formula, such as Avant’s Bi-Phase Hyaluronic Acid Rejuvenating Micellar Water. Suitable for all skin types, this cleanser easily dissolves even waterproof and long-wear makeup, and includes Hyaluronic Acid to help keep skin hydrated. We also like Emma Hardie’s travel-friendly Starter Kit, which includes a 50ml Moringa Cleansing Balm, a 15ml Midas Touch Revitalising Cream, and a Dual-Action Professional Cleansing Cloth.

Keep Skin Hydrated

Air travel in particular tends to be very dehydrating. Stale, recirculated air saps moisture and glow from your skin, so be prepared and keep skin hydrated (and drink plenty of water too!). Dry skin lacks oil, while dehydrated skin lacks water – when you travel, your skin may even need more of both. Layer specialist hydrating products that contain humectants such as Hyaluronic Acid (which traps water within the skin) with nourishing emollients. We recommend SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Serum, which combines Hyaluronic Acid with Vitamin B5 – a nutrient that strengthens the skin barrier’s natural repair process. Swissline’s Cell Shock Age Intelligence Smart Cream is another product that’s perfect for travel. This lightweight gel-cream delivers non-stop moisture to energise and revitalise dry, dehydrated and tired-looking skin.

Specialist water sprays are another excellent tactic to counter travel-related dehydration. We always pack a can of Avène’s Eau Thermale Water Spray (available in two different sizes for added convenience). Featuring Avène’s famous Thermal Spring Water, this cooling, soothing formulation counters a range of irritants, including sunburn. It leaves a light, protective veil on the skin’s surface, reducing sensitivity and restoring balance.

Don't skimp on the sunscreen!

We should all be wearing sunscreen every day, wherever we are and whatever the weather. But if you’re going on holiday somewhere hot, you’ll definitely need to include a significant amount of SPF within your skincare travel essentials. With so much choice available, choosing the right sunscreen might seem daunting. Look for broad spectrum formulations, which offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays. And choose a Sun Protection Factor of at least 30, as this blocks around 97% of UVB rays. Next, make sure you pack enough sunscreen – and reapply it regularly, especially after swimming. According to the British Association of Dermatologists, the bare minimum you need to cover the body of an average adult is at least six full teaspoons. 

Ultrasun’s formulations use patented lamellar technology to provide long-lasting, high-level, water-resistant protection. And they’re free from any filters of concern, which means they’re reef-friendly, ocean- and marine-life safe too. If you’re prone to dark spots and discolouration, we recommend Ultrasun’s Anti-Pigmentation Face SPF50 +. If you plan to spend a lot of time in the water, or simply like staying active, try Ultrasun’s Sports Spray SPF50. 

Best for your Body

There’s much more to skincare travel essentials than products formulated specifically for your face. A great body moisturiser is a must. Medik8’s Nourishing Body Cream is a multitasking marvel. This all-over moisturiser hydrates skin, smooths rough patches, and can even soothe sunburn. Our other go-to skincare travel essential is a lip balm. The Organic Pharmacy’s Lip & Eye Cream is a clever two-in-one product that nourishes and repairs both the lip and eye areas – perfect for holidays! It features soothing Aloe Vera and Frankincense to counter dryness, plus a blend of potent antioxidants to neutralise free radical damage.

Moringa Light Cleansing Gel (100ml)-Facial Cleanser-Emma Hardie-The Skin Experts
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Mineral Block Dispenser SPF30 (3.4g)-SPF-Brush On Block-The Skin Experts
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Mineral Block Dispenser SPF30 (3.4g)-SPF-Brush On Block-The Skin Experts
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Moringa Light Cleansing Gel (100ml)-Facial Cleanser-Emma Hardie-The Skin Experts
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