How to Avoid a Skincare Vacation Crisis

by Emily Linehan on March 24, 2023

Vacations are a time to relax, unwind, and enjoy some well-deserved time off. However, while we may be enjoying soaking up the sun, our skin is not always so happy about it. From airplane-induced dryness to sunburns and other skin irritations, summer vacations can wreak havoc on our skin.

While skincare may not be top of mind during vacation planning, changes to your typical humidity, sun exposure, or even increased stress can really sabotage your skin. And, since you’ve spent so much time getting your skincare down to a science, it’s essential to take care of your skin during these challenging times to keep it looking healthy and radiant.

So, here are my top tips and tricks for taking care of your skin during summer vacations, so you can enjoy the sun instead of dealing with poorly-timed skin issues.

What to Pack

When it comes to skincare consistency is key. Since vacations can really disrupt our normal routines, ensuring that you keep your skincare routine consistent will keep your skin on track, healthy, and glowing, both during your vacay and after! So, this means you should keep your vacation skincare routine as close to your normal routine as possible. Luckily, our Skincare Travel Set makes bringing your core products easy with a TSA carry-on approved size of each of your basics. Plus, all of our treatment serums and sunscreens are already TSA approved for easy packing as well.

If you’re tight on packing space and need to minimize which products you bring, here are my recommended “essentials” for each skin type -

Acne Prone

  • Skincare Travel Set: This set includes all of your basics to keep your routine as consistent as possible!
  • Acne Eraser: Since acne takes 90 days to form, it’s important to keep breakouts at bay by staying consistent with your Acne Eraser to avoid post-vacation blemishes!
  • Treatment Serum: Whether you use Purifying or Clarifying Serum, these are a vital part of keeping breakouts at bay!
  • Sunscreen: Opt for a water-resistant sunscreen, such as our Tinted Mineral SPF 40 for any time you’ll be swimming or sweating.
  • Spot Treatment: A spot treatment like the Pink Potion is perfect for clearing any unexpected breakouts overnight!

Hyperpigmentation Prone


  • Skincare Travel Set: This set includes all of your basics to keep your routine as consistent as possible!
  • Firming Peptide Serum: This hydrating peptide serum not only reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles but it’s also formulated with soothing beta-glucan and hydrating hyaluronic acid to keep the skin hydrated and glowing.
  • Sunscreen: For particularly dry skin, the Pure Protection SPF 40 is incredibly hydrating. However, it is not water resistant, so I’d recommend mixing it with 1 pump of the Tinted Mineral SPF 40 for any time you plan to swim or sweat!
  • Cucumber Cooling Mask: This is perfect for giving your skin some extra TLC, especially if you accidentally get a little too much sun. (You can even find a mini version perfect for traveling in our Mini Mask Trio!)

Although all of our products are available in a TSA-approved size, if you’re looking to bring them along with a smaller footprint, you can always get creative by transferring some of your favorites to a smaller container!

What You Shouldn’t Pack

While there are some products you definitely don’t want to forget, there are some that should be left behind. It’s best to leave any harsh or sun-sensitizing products at home, such as retinol or pigment-correcting serums.

So here’s the deal - retinol is generally safe to use during the summertime, as long as you are diligent about applying sun protection and only apply it at night. That being said, if you have any plans that involve a lot of sun exposure, like a trip to the beach, I recommend discontinuing the use of retinol a couple of days before you leave (and definitely don’t pack it with you). This is because retinol makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, meaning you are more prone to sun damage.

You can typically resume the use of retinol a few days after your vacation, as long as you didn’t experience sunburn or damage to your skin. While it may be tough to give up this staple in your routine, it will help minimize the potential for irritation or damage to your skin.

The same goes for most pigment-correcting serums. Hydroquinone, for example, is a popular ingredient in many skin-lightening products that works by inhibiting the production of melanin, which is the pigment responsible for skin color. However, if you are using hydroquinone and having a lot of sun exposure, it will lead to irritation and stimulate more melanin production, which will make the pigmentation much worse! If preventing or fading hyperpigmentation is a concern, I recommend bringing a vitamin c serum, like our Brilliant-C Serum instead. Not only does it protect the skin from UV exposure and free radical damage, but it also utilizes a special brightening peptide to dramatically lighten existing pigmentation without sensitizing the skin.

Prepare for Your Flight

If you’ve ever felt like flying on an airplane caused some major chaos to your skin, you are not alone! Excessive dryness and dehydration, spontaneous breakouts, and extra oiliness are super common issues. Since the humidity of airplanes is extremely low, it can cause the skin to become severely dry, which is not the best way to start or end a vacation! So, before your flight, I recommend applying a hydrating serum to keep the skin ultra-moisturized. I personally love my Firming Peptide Serum and Skin Quencher Gel, but any serums that contain super-hydrating humectants like glycerin, beta-glucan, or hyaluronic acid will work since they’re like a big drink of water for your skin!

After applying your serum you’ll want to lock in that hydration with a moisturizer that’s appropriate for your skin type.

And on that note, when you’re flying, you DON’T want to mist your face with a hydrating mist. Although it can be tempting, it can actually dry your skin out more! This is because dry air attracts water, so the mist on your face will actually cause the air to pull more moisture from your skin. Once you land, however, you can mist as much as you’d like to restore water moisture balance!

Minimize Sun Exposure

Sun exposure can not only lead to skin cancer, but it’s also the leading cause of premature aging. So, minimizing your exposure is key. Here are a few tips helpful tips:

  • Skip the Sun Tan: Although it might be tempting, do not sunbathe to get a “base tan” or go to a tanning salon to get that golden glow. Instead, opt for a spray tan! (If you are acne prone, it can be tricky to find a spray tan solution that is acne safe which is why we developed our Sunless Tanning Mist which is 100% acne-safe so you can even use it on your face!)
  • Pull Down the Sun Shade: Aside from liberally applying sunscreen, you should always pull down the shade to protect your skin while traveling. This is especially important when traveling by plane since the windows on a plane do not filter out harmful rays, and, the higher you are in altitude the more damaging those UV rays are!
  • Pack the Proper SPF: There’s an overwhelming amount of sunscreen options on the market, but if you’re planning a trip that involves swimming or sweating, it’s crucial that you bring a water-resistant sunscreen, like our Tinted Mineral SPF 40. This will keep your skin protected for up to 80 minutes when swimming or sweating!
  • Apply Your SPF Properly: Now that you know what you’re looking for in sunscreen, understanding proper application is equally as important to ensure you’re protected. In order to achieve true Sun Protection Factor (or “SPF”) you need to apply 2 milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin. To put it simply, you should aim for a nickel size amount on your face and about 2 tablespoons (or one full shot glass) for your body. To ensure you get an even barrier of sun protection on your face, I always recommend using my press/pat method during application. To do this, first, warm the sunscreen between your fingertips. Then, with a pressing action, evenly distribute onto the skin and lightly feather until blended. This is similar to how you would apply foundation!

Care for Your Skin After Sun Exposure

Even if you’re diligent with limiting sun exposure, sometimes things happen! In any case, here are some tips to help soothe your skin after a little too much fun in the sun:

  • Opt for a cool shower. Although it may be a little brisk, the cold water will calm irritation, reduce inflammation, and help with dehydration.
  • Give your skin a little TLC with a hydrating face mask. Our Cucumber Cooling Mask is formulated with moisture-locking hyaluronic acid and glycerin to deliver intense hydration to dehydrated or stressed skin.
  • Avoid exfoliating products. Since your skin is already over-stimulated from the sun exposure, you’ll want to hold off on products such as retinol, acids, or exfoliants as they may cause additional irritation to your skin.
  • Calm the skin with soothing ingredients. A popular option is aloe vera (found in our Skin Quencher Gel) because it not only soothes a sunburn but also encourages cell regeneration for faster healing!
  • Prevent additional water loss with allantoin. Found in several of our products, including Dew Drops Hydrating Serum, this hydrating botanical soothes and hydrated, while also preventing transepidermal water loss. Plus, it encourages healthy cell proliferation!
  • Heal the skin with peptides. A hydrating peptide complex, like our Firming Peptide Serum is a really good option for minimizing sun damage. It contains hyaluronic acid which is super hydrating, as well as peptides that help the skin heal quicker!

Consider Foods Carefully

You can help protect your skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals by loading up on antioxidants not only topically, but through your diet as well. There are a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables that are packed with antioxidants, but some of my favorites are blueberries, broccoli, spinach, avocados, wild salmon, and sweet potatoes.

On that note, there are also foods you will want to be cautious of before spending time in the sun, especially limes and lemons, but basically any citrus fruits. This is because citrus fruits can cause a sun-induced skin sensitivity condition known as phytophotodermatitis which causes a burn on the skin and could lead to blisters or hives. So, after jamming a lime wedge down the opening of your Corona or enjoying citrus fruits, just be sure you didn’t drip any juice on the skin and be sure to wipe or wash your hands so that you don’t accidentally touch your face or body and cause a reaction.

Check out more Skin Nourishing Foods here.

Care For Your Skin Before + After Swimming

Whether you’ll be swimming in salt water or chlorine, both have high pH levels that can be drying to the skin. To minimize dryness, I recommend applying a water-resistant sunscreen. Since these products are typically formulated with heavy emollients, like dimethicone, they create a breathable barrier that repels water. This not only keeps the salt or chlorinated water from penetrating the skin but also helps with preventing transepidermal water loss, reducing the chances of dryness.

Additionally, it’s essential to wash your face immediately after swimming to rinse away any residual salt or chlorine, which will help prevent any damage to your moisture barrier. And following your cleanser with an alcohol-free toner will help restore your skin’s natural pH!

xoxo, Emme

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