So everyone assumes the life of those who travel the globe to be tré chic. When done well, the average Jet-Setter DOES have the opportunity to regularly enjoy and assimilate cultures, foods, scents, and experience adventure not easily found in the comfort ones city. It is exciting BUT what you don’t take into consideration is the constant movement and lack of consistency can take a toll on health and, most definitely, your appearance. Living out of a suitcase means your whole nurturing environment gets tossed. Your diet, beauty, sleep and exercise routines are sacrificed. Some, are genetically better equipped to handle such chaos, while most start, to look and feel worn out.
Consistent travel results in a drop in both energy and immunity. Also, our mood, digestion, weight, skin and hair rebel! So how to prevent these not-so-glamorous outcomes?
Here are somethings I have learned and adapted into my own travel-heavy life. Frequent flyer or not, I hope you can find some of these helpful when you getting ready for some taxing travel.
1. Arm your immune system: Getting sick is quite easy when traveling by air. Not only is your immunity compromised by the stresses of traveling itself, but , the air conditions in flight make you much more susceptible to getting sick. Cabin air has only about 10-15% humidity. Low humidity means germs can soar from one person to another much easier, without getting trapped in moisture. Additionally, because of the close proximity to your neighbor, bacteria, viruses and other pathogens don’t have to travel far to infect you. Dry air also results in a breakdown of your bodies naturally protective mucous membranes. Your nose cannot as effectively trap and prevent pathogens from entering and, we are therefore, infected more easily to whatever is in the air. Because of this, we need all the help we can get to make sure we are best equipped to fight off whatever airplane bugs may come our way.
- If your lifestyle is a little choppy…Get yourself hooked on a daily multivitamin. Any deficiency in vitamin, mineral or antioxidants can mean depressed immunity. If you are too busy to watch your nutrient intake then a multivitamin can help complement an unbalanced diet.
How to pick a multivitamin? It’s not easy but according to the reported by CNN Health “Avoid the vitamins singled out by ConsumerLab.com, and stick with mainstream names such as Centrum Silver and One-A-Day Women’s, which were found to be free of impurities and accurately labeled. Also, check vitamin bottles for the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP), NSF International (NSF), or ConsumerLab.com (CL) seals. The USP and NSF are nonprofit groups that verify whether companies offer contamination-free products and use good manufacturing practices. Not every brand has the seals — some don’t want to submit to testing–but those that do (Kirkland and Nature Made carry the USP seal, for instance) are reliable.”
- Take a probiotic. Studies show that probiotic can help improve absorption of nutrients necessary for healthy immune system. Probiotic also can help make sure we have an appropriate line of defense for those pathogens attempting entrance in the gut. Since probiotic help establish a balance of healthy bacteria in the lining of the intestines, the bad bacteria are unable to thrive in this environment.
- Try adding half a cup of Kefir to your breakfast or take a supplement such as ProBiotic Restore Ultra. For more useful insight on choosing probiotic and their benefits check out The Probiotic Fact Sheet by my favorite TV doc, Dr. OZ.
- Have a healthy breakfast and squeeze in a healthy dose of antioxidants and super-foods. These will reinforce your immune system and give you natural energy. Try a spinach and berry almond milk smoothie with a teaspoon of flax seeds. I mean to talk about super-foods in the future but, until then, check out the site SuperFoodsRX.
- If you are not good at taking a multivitamin or are in too much of a rush to have a healthy breakfast, you need to think of a plan B. Below are some trusted supplements that can support your immune system.
- Start taking AirBorne a day or two prior to your flight and continue to take it three times a day for 3 days. Airborne has a combination of essential vitamin, minerals and herbs for optimal immune function. I love the new chewable versions as you can take them any time any where with no excuses!
- Put a few drops of Dr Brandt antioxidant water booster in your water bottle. I do this daily as it assures me that, despite my crazy schedule, I am receiving a balanced supply of antioxidants in my system. Antioxidants support healthy immune system and healthy skin.
2. Prep your skin: We need to boost health, hydration and vitality of skin prior to exposing it to less than ideal air conditions. Both the extreme dryness and the increased exposure to pathogens make airplane air a nightmare for those who want to maintain youthful and flawless skin. A preflight skin ritual can help protect the skin from both dehydration and breakouts. Below, I suggest a few ways you enhance your skins immunity to aggressive travel conditions.,
- Prime your skin with a Detox Treatment. Since in-flight air leaves your skin more vulnerable to all impurities left on its surface, your preflight skin prep must begin with a detox.
- Infuse skin with hydrating elements. Your skin will thank you when not cracking mid-flight. Hydration not only improves overall appearance and resistance to signs of aging but can protect the skin from irritation, reactivity and stress.
- Try Vit B5 gel with Hyaluronic Acid by Skin Ceuticals, Natura Bisse Oxygen Complex, Penova dry skin cream or for a make-up option go for Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation. All will hydrate and protect, click on each to find an option right for you! Personally I love the Skin Ceuticals option as it additionally makes an excellent base for light weight make-up and powders!
- Don’t forget your SPF! Just because your travels will consist of mostly in-door activities, you must protect it from both UV radiation and free radical formation. Ideally, you would use your antioxidant base under your moisturizer and then place SPF on top. For more on sun protection and antioxidants check out my blog post “Skin and Antioxidants.”
3. Invest in chic but comfortable travel attire: Chic and Comfy can co-exist! The Europeans do this fantastically! How? Look for loose-fitting styles which can be layered to best adapt to temperature changes.
Tight clothing can impede normal blood flow and aggravate an already challenged in-flight circulation. Especially for those of you who fly on a weekly basis, you want to make sure your circulatory and lymphatic system are working optimally and avoid pooling in the lower extremities. This pooling can cause pain, damage vessels and potentially worsen varicose veins. Also, for the ladies, I suggest buying a pair of fold up ballet flats to bring in your purse when your heels get uncomfortable! I love these here by Fab Flipsters Pumps – Fold-Up Travel-Friendly Ballet Flats or check out the variety City Slips.
- For some great travel fashion tips check out these great sites I found in Esquire for Men and in the Huffington Post For Women.
4. Practice Yoga: Everyone is familiar with the aches and pains of sitting in a cramped airplane seat. Your neck shoulders hips and ankles hurt!! Exercise in general boosts immunity, but yoga, has additional benefits to muscles and joints conditioning. Yoga, therefore, is an ideal way to prepare your body for the conditions of air travel. The mornings of travel, I personally forego my morning jog, for a bit yoga. Even if I have a flight at dawn, I manage to practice a few asanas I know will increase my metabolism and releases shoulder and hip tension.
- Here is a great beneficial sequence for preflight body conditioning by yoga superstar Tara Stiles. Try it out! If too advanced search for your own routine, there is one for everyone!
5. Pack your own food: Airport food is not only high in unhealthy fat and calories but is pumped with preservatives! I try to avoid eating in airports and airplanes at all costs. If I do eat something it’s when I stumble upon an organic ecologic market or somewhere I feel they consciously have raised their nutritional standards. Most often, I survive on some healthy food I pre-packed for the trip; raw nuts, a few protein bars, some fruit and maybe a sandwich with organic almond butter. If necessary I compliment my hunger with some go-to airport food such as garden salads, simple pastas or fresh fruit juice.
6. Avoid Caffeine : Try to avoid at least coffee the day of travel. Again, the cabin air in flight is very dry, increasing likelihood of dehydration and symptoms of low blood volume (dizziness, nausea, headache). Caffeine will further dehydrate you and make these symptoms more common. To feel your best, opt for herbal or non-caffeinated Green tea on the morning of your travel. To wake up, a fresh fruit smoothie or orange juice works wonders.
Once in flight, there are a few tips which can help make your trip as comfortable and less physically taxing as possible.
1. Avoid sitting cross-legged: Although there are no studies linking sitting cross-legged with increase incidence of health or aesthetic related risks… most experts agree avoiding it can spare you veins a lot of unnecessary stress. especially in the cases where you must sit for long periods of time, you don’t want to further compromise your circulation. Crossing your legs, while in-flight, makes it easier for blood to pool in your lower extremities, aggravating varicose veins, ankle swelling and putting you at risk for symptoms of low blood pressure.
2. Choose an aisle seat: Not only does sitting in the aisle allow you to get up and stretch your legs more often, but it also can help protect you from additional UV exposure. To-date airplanes are not mandated to use UV protective glass for their windows. Some newer airplanes DO carry such glass, but , it’s not easy to find out exactly which carry this feature. At certain altitudes UV exposure can be magnified and, with regular exposure, more dangerous to both your skin and eyes. For this reason, it is my opinion to be better safe than sorry and sacrifice your bird’s eye view for the practical assurance of an aisle seat.
3. Coat your lips: The precious eye and lip areas most often fall victim to the dry air as they are exposed to harsh in-flight atmosphere. The lips especially get effected because of the frequent contact to liquids followed by the dry air (this assuming you are all drinking LOTs of water). Because of this, most passengers leave the airplane with pale, dry and cracked lips. How can we protect them?
- Apply a protective balm regularly on the flight. Avoid matte lipstick (as it is ridiculously drying) and try some of my favorite lip products Coola LipLux Organic SPF Lip Balm, , Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm, Supergoop SPF Lip Balms or for those who want a bit of color try Kaplan MD Sheer Lip Balm._ For more on lip care and enhancement check out my post “Lip Talk.”
4. Avoid Alcohol and Salt: Sorry wine and salted nut fans….this is a detrimental combo for those wishing to arrive to your destination feeling clear-headed and fresh. Alcohol consumption will dehydrate you and the salt will just enhance this effect and furthermore contribute to edema, or swelling, of the hands and feet. Additionally, the US Department of Transportation cautions that travelers who consume these dehydrating beverages that they may be at increase their risk of contracting a respiratory infection. Again, these components will leave you feeling disoriented, weak, puffy and with and increase possibility of getting sick!
5. Embrace your hand sanitizer. This is an extremely valuable tool as it can prevent you from getting infected by any germs you may find laying around arm rests and seats. As I mentioned above, germs travel faster and further in dry cabin air. Also you are within a short radius of at least 6 potentially sick passengers. I know they can be quite drying to the skin but it might be workth giving it a go ATLEAST prior to your meals! I love Soap and Glory’s Hand Sanitizer, simply for its’ smell and convenient size!
1. Avoid Jet Lag: Adapt most efficiently to your time zone. Follow the Schedule of your current time zone. Don’t stress about the sleep you lost. The faster you embrace your surroundings, live in the present and accept your new bedtime, the faster you recover and the more rest you will acquire overall. Remember to eat accordingly and use melatonin for sleep adjustment when back in your home town. For tips on how to cultivate the most refreshing sleep, check out my previous post on “Beauty Sleep, Your Inner Symphony and a Better World”
2. Start Post-Travel Skin Recovery: Vitalize and Refresh Jet-Stressed skin.
Now that you have arrived to your destination make sure you read into your skins’ needs. If you feel its very “dirty”, repeat the pre-flight detox regimen, if too dry, continue with the pre-flight hydrating products OR if just kind-of “off” or needs a SOS overhaul, try one of the following products : SKII Treatment Masks, Kiehls midnight recovery complex or LAB Age Rescue Face Lotion for Men.
It’s not easy but with some stricat habits and a bit of priming and prepping… you can comfortably continue this hectic yet rewarding lifestyle without it costing your health, sanity and youthful qualities!
Cheers to those frequent flyer miles, seeing the world and keeping it Glamorous!