Holistic Health

How to keep your skin happy and healthy for the eco-conscious travelers

Traveling, especially frequent flying, will certainly have a bad effect on your skin. To keep your skin happy and healthy, there are a few simple steps you can do. Your travel skincare routine does not need to be complicated if you are health conscious. You choose natural, toxic-free, and more practical.

Skincare isn’t only what you apply to your skin. Do you agree with me? It is much more than that! It starts from the inside out, of course, with external support. This article will tell you how to do that! Let’s dive in!

Tips on how to keep your skin happy and healthy

1. Stay hydrated

How to keep your skin happy and healthy for eco-conscious travelers - keep yourself hydrated

Keeping yourself hydrated is the best way to keep your skin from drying. The general recommendation for adults is drinking at least 3-4 liters per day.

If you’re not a big fan of drinking water, there are other ways to keep you hydrated. You can have broth, soup, lassi, buttermilk, gelatin, chia water, nut milk, and herbal teas such as chamomile, hibiscus, and rose.

Eat your water from fruits and vegetables such as cucumber, lettuce, celery, coconut, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapefruit, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, dragon fruit, orange. You can make a salad, drink cold-pressed juice, or drink fruit infused water with these!

Your urine indicates the hydration level too! – the color, clarity, and volume. If urine is yellowish because you take supplements or medicine, it’s not related to dehydration. If it’s clear or slightly yellow, then you are good to go!

Monitor your mood and condition while traveling. If you feel dizzy, feel more tension, confused, or depressed. Drink more water to help level up your mood!

Elixirs to drink for a healthy glowing skin

If you are a minimalist packer like me, instead of adding a bunch of cosmetics to keep your skin glowing, there’s an alternative for that! You can drink raw fruits and vegetables that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants by using a slow juicer. You can also order cold-pressed juice from a cafe or restaurant. Here’s a list of juice best for your skin:

  1. Carrot and beetroot juice
  2. Aloe Vera juice
  3. Pomegranate juice
  4. Cucumber
  5. Tomato juice
  6. Ginger lemon
  7. Apple juice
  8. Papaya
  9. Green leafy juice such as kale, spinach

I and my boyfriend have been living in Vietnam due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For me, health is so important, so we decided to buy a slow juicer.

Drinking a glass of juice every day is the best way to get concentrated nutrients into your body, cleanses your system, overcome deficiencies, and keep your skin glowing!

I prepare a juice combination (such as 2-3 vegetables, 1 fruit as sweetener, and 1 spice) to kick start my day. That’s my caffeine-free drink in the morning. Tip: Consider having a slow juicer if you are a slow traveler or ex-pats for overall health! This is the best investment you can have if you’re not into supplements.

2. Eat skin-friendly foods

How to keep your skin happy and healthy for eco-conscious travelers - Eat skin friendly foods!

Foods high in Omega 3 regulate the skin’s oil production, improve balanced hydration, protect your skin from sun damage, minimize skin breakouts and signs of aging. Foods abundant with Omega 3 are wild salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines, walnut, chia seed, flax seeds, avocado, oyster, firm tofu.

Intake of foods high in Vitamin C was associated with fewer wrinkles and less age-related dry skin, according to research. Imagine when traveling in a hot and humid country, our skin tends to dry up easily. So it’s better to nourish yourself with foods such as red bell pepper, kiwi, strawberries, papaya, pineapple, kale, Brussels sprouts, oranges, acerola, gooseberry, guava, elderberry.

Basically, eat anything whole food, local and seasonal fruits to get the nutrients your skin needs.

What are the worst foods for your skin?

  1. Soda
  2. Refined grains and sugar
  3. Highly processed foods
  4. Fried foods, especially using unhealthy oils.
  5. Alcohol
  6. Foods high in sodium such as chips, popcorn, ketchup, barbecue sauce
  7. Caffeine
  8. Foods high in Omega 6 such as mayonnaise
  9. Energy drinks

If you can’t help eating these foods, at least eat in moderation and drink more water after eating.

3. Catch up on sleep

Sleep is the best time your body repairs itself, especially when you are traveling. Skin’s blood flow increases, the organ rebuilds its collagen, repairs damage from UV exposure, and reduces wrinkles and age spots.

Wash your face before sleep with a gentle cleanser to remove the dirt on your face that can harm the appearance of your skin.

Elevating your head during sleep reduces eye bags and circles under your eyes that help improve your blood flow and prevent blood from pooling.

If you can’t sleep due to jet lag, you can take a Melatonin supplement or Ashwagandha pill or powder form- an adaptogen herb. You can also apply Lavender oil topically (diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil) at the back of your ear, wrist, or neck part to help you relax and have a good night’s sleep!

4. Consider the climate’s effect on your skin

Tailor your skincare products according to the places you plan to visit. If the place is humid, dry, or winter, make sure your skin is well taken cared of. If in case you don’t have one, you can always buy it at the destinations you visit.


When I was traveling with Thirumal of VisaTraveler last year, we didn’t have a concrete plan where to go, as long as we cross land borders in Asia. Most of my clothes are thin and for summer since I’m a light packer. Not expecting we will be visiting cold places such as Sikkim, Darjeeling, and Bhutan in December last year.

How to keep your skin happy and healthy while in cold country

We’ve seen the Himalayan mountain range (Kangchenjunga) with a snow cap. We also hiked the Tiger’s Nest, which has 10,232 feet (3119 meters) elevation.

The temperature drops to 0o Celsius, which I haven’t experienced before. Having limited clothes, I managed to travel around these places for a month. In Darjeeling, my skin starts breaking – it became dry and flaky. I had cuts on my fingers, windburn, and chapped lips due to the cold weather. We always drink chai since it’s cold and I start applying moisturizer on my face, cream for extremities, and lip balm.

WINTER (COLD + DRY): How do you fix winter damaged skin?

In places with extremely cold weather, your skin struggles as it loses moisture. When taking a steamy shower, it can strip away natural oils and disrupts skin’s barrier function, leaving the skin dry and sensitized. If possible, try to switch from warm to cool. A hot shower should not take more than 10 minutes. Apply body and face cream right after a shower since wet skin absorbs topical products than dry skin.

  1. Use lip balm.
  2. Wear proper layering clothes when going out:
    (Internal) thermal base layer leggings and long sleeves, ultra-warm socks. (External) ultra-warm trousers/pants, down jacket/coats, gloves, ear cover or bonnet, scarf, neck gaiter, polarized sunglasses.
  3. Always put on moisturizer and sunscreen, especially when doing outdoor activities. The best moisturizing ingredients for the harsh cold weather contains Shea butter, Hyaluronic acid, Ceramides, Argan oil, Glycerin, Jojoba Oil, and Vitamin E.
  4. Hydrate yourself.
  5. Use moisturizing soap or shower gel that is gentle on the skin. Fragrance-free and no added harsh chemicals.
  6. Invest in a personal humidifier, overheating room can

TROPICAL (HOT + HUMID): How do you take care of your skin in hot humid weather?

In hot and humid places, you become more prone to skin problems such as acne, blemishes, sunburn, eczema, and other allergic reactions.

  1. Take a bath twice a day, if possible.
  2. Always carry a reusable water bottle and keep yourself hydrated.
  3. Use a good facial cleanser every evening so that your skin pores are free of dirt to avoid acne.
  4. Before going to bed, apply an aloe vera gel face pack to cool down the sunburnt skin.
  5. Use sunscreen of at least 30 SPF and re-applying is important, so as wearing sunglasses to prevent dark circles. 
  6. Eat cooling foods that are refreshing and have a soothing effect. Foods such as melons, cherries, grapes, watermelon, pears, mangoes, yogurt, fresh coconut water, goat’s milk, goat cheese, and ghee; cooling spices, such as mint, fennel, cardamom, dill, and coriander.
  7. Applying a toner after using a cleanser is a must!

5. Keep your skin protected

How to keep your skin happy and healthy while traveling

From my previous blog post, I have discussed this. If you will be out the whole day trekking or do sunbathing at the beach, make sure to protect yourself from the harsh rays of the sun.

Always carry your Sun protection kit such as sunglasses with UV protection, arm sleeves with UV protection (optional), umbrella, and sun hat, sunscreen lotion SPF 30-50

a. Broad-spectrum zinc oxide sunscreen

1. When buying a sunscreen, consider checking the ingredients and avoid these PABA, Paraben, Phthalates, Fragrances, Dyes, Retinyl palmitate, Octinoxate, and Oxybenzone. It’s not only harmful to our skin, hormone, but aquatic life too!
2. Ingredients such as Titanium oxide and Zinc oxide are considered safe and reef-friendly.
3. Check SPF values (SPF 30-50 is safe). If greater than 50, it is misleading and can cause overexposure to UVA rays according to EWG
4. When to apply? Every day, 30 minutes before going outdoors. Then reapply every two hours.
5. You can check EWG for the best beach and sport sunscreen that meets their criteria.
6. Avoid using Combination Sunscreen-Insect Repellent Products. You need to reapply sunscreen every two hours, which overexpose your skin to chemicals in repellent.

b. DEET-free mosquito repellant

DEET is considered a gold standard for all repellents. According to the study, the protection can last for 360 minutes. However, it has an unpleasant smell and can cause neurotoxicity.

It’s important to use a repellent while traveling, doing outdoor activities, or camping, especially during the rainy season. Apply repellent on exposed skin, except on open wounds. Wash your hand after application and before drinking or eating.

DEET-free mosquito repellent that works best against Aedes mosquitoes, Culex mosquitoes, and Deer tick contains Picaridin 20% such as SAWYER brand or contains Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus 30% such as REPEL brand.

6. Keep your skincare routine simple

As much as possible, avoid carrying too many skin products such as make-up. Some may even react to your skin, and you don’t want that to happen. Keep it light, natural, and simple to uncover your own inherent beauty!

Pack a small clear bag with all of your travel essentials such as Bumpkins TSA- approved toiletry bag, including hand sanitizer, lip balm, facial cleanser, moisturizer, toner, and go-to natural oil for your skin.

  1. Facial cleanser – Facial cleaner is more important than your serums and under-eye creams. A daily cleanser makes your skin rehydrated, free from dirt, pollution, oils, and impurities at the end of the day.
  2. Facial Moisturizer – A good face moisturizer helps maintain your skin’s health. It keeps your skin hydrated, which prevents breakouts and skin issues caused by excessive dryness. Remember to moisturize your skin before you board your flight. The air inside planes is drying and can damage your skin.
  3. Facial Toner – By adding facial toner to your skincare regimen, it removes any last traces of dirt and impurities stuck in your pores after washing your face.
  4. Natural oil for the skin– Natural and pure oils are packed with beneficial ingredients such as polyphenols, fatty acids, and antioxidants, to help reduce inflammation, moisturize your skin, and give skin a glow.

    Oils such as argan oil, coconut, rosehip seed, marula, jojoba, or sunflower oil are the best moisturizer or lotion you can use for your skin. It doesn’t have any harmful ingredients, to begin with.

    You can even add a drop of essential oil to make it more aromatic! I love the blend of coconut oil and lavender for my skin, both are like an atomic bomb when it comes to health benefits.
  5. Lip balm – This is a must-have when traveling to a cold destination! You don’t want to have dry, chapped lips or windburn. A substitute can be natural oils such as coconut oil or sunflower oil. Lip balm help moisturize, repair, and protect your lips! And wait, make sure it’s eco-friendly and toxic-free!

    An example I can share with you is a plantable lip balm from Akkulaph perfect for vegan! It’s compostable, cruelty-free, and sustainable. *This is not a paid ad. I just love their advocacy!
How to keep your skin happy and healthy for eco conscious travelers, Akkula ph

7. Pamper yourself after a tiring tour

How to keep your skin happy and healthy while traveling

This is my favorite part of traveling! After a tiring tour, of course, you should pamper yourself! Allowing your body and mind to relax has enormous health benefits.

Go for a spa treatment, have a deep tissue massage to increase blood circulation, and relax a tense muscle. Essential oil baths or mud bath, exfoliation, steam will work on clearing and smoothing your skin. It is so relaxing that your skin will thank you after the treat!

In a way, we do not only care for our skin, but we also care for our souls and mental well-being as well. So let’s be mindful and take pampering seriously – it’s not something luxurious. You are giving your body a break and a health boost that it badly needs, especially when you do a long hike!

8. Avoid touching your face

Always wash your hand, especially when you are outside or doing adventurous activities. This is a habit I can’t avoid when in humid places. I keep touching my face because of sweat, and I end up having acne. Eventually, I became mindful, and that help lessens the skin problem while traveling.

9. Have your skincare emergencies ready

As a traveler, there are many factors you may experience skin problems such as climate-related, water quality, stress, long-haul journey, food, unhygienic accommodations, insect bites, and even pollution.

Here’s a list of medicines you can carry for your skin:

  1. Acne-fighting products containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide
  2. Hydrocortisone creams to manage bug bites or rashes.
  3. Antibiotic ointments for minor cuts or scrapes
  4. Calamine lotion to relieve itching and irritation from insect bites and poison ivy
  5. Aloe gel for sunburns
  6. Epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen) for individuals with severe allergies.

10. Use natural and chemical-free products

Most of us, oftentimes when buying a skincare product, we look at the brands or products endorsed by a celebrity or influencers. But have you ever checked the labels? Do we even know how to read them?

If you check the EWG.org (Environmental Working Group), they have verified cosmetics or skincare products that are safe to use. The reason behind that, these cosmetics have an impact on our health as they directly penetrate our bloodstream.

Watch out for red-flag ingredients such as DMDM hydantoin & Imidazolidinyl urea, Methylchloroisothiazolinone & Methylisothiazolinone, BHA, BHT, Coal tar dyes, DEA, Dibutyl phthalates, formaldehyde preservatives, Parabens, Talc, Fragrance or Parfum, PEG compounds, Petroleum, SLS (Sodium Laurel/Laureth Sulfate), Siloxanes, Triclosan, Mineral oil, 1,4 Dioxane.

These chemicals added to your beauty products are potentially harmful and carcinogenic. It can cause serious effects on your hormone, liver, nervous system, and skin. Again, check on EWG.org for the verified products you plan to buy or search the ingredients first before purchasing them.


Tips on buying chemical-free skincare products:

  1. Watch out for the ingredients and read the labels first. 
  2. Make sure it’s a fragrance-free product.
  3. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t use it. If it’s a long complex ingredients name, it’s probably not safe.
  4. Don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t eat if you had to. Once you apply chemicals to your skin, it will be absorbed straight into the bloodstream without filtering of any kind. There’s no protection against the toxins. Instead, it goes directly to your delicate organs such as the liver. 
  5. Buy raw ingredients and Do it yourself, if possible.
  6. Check out the EWG.org Skin Deep database for safe and toxic-free cosmetics.

Final Thoughts

Be sure to follow these holistic skincare tips to keep your skin happy while traveling. Hydrate yourself inside, and you will see the glow on the outside! No one will ever notice by looking at you – that you and your skin have been on a very long journey.

Don’t forget to share and subscribe for more updates!

What are the skincare hacks that you do while traveling? Share in the comments section below. 👇

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Jonah Estanislao-Motati

Hey I’m Jonah, a nurse from the Philippines who has a unique passion for uncovering food origins while traveling. As a food enthusiast and eco-conscious traveler, I go deep into the culinary traditions of each destination, seeking out the stories behind the ingredients and dishes. Join me as I uncovers the rich tapestry of food origins, from local markets to sustainable farms, and share captivating discoveries. Be inspired to embark on a gastronomic adventure that connects you with the cultural heritage and sustainable practices of each place you visit.

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