Whether you’re travelling for work,
going on a family holiday or visiting friends or family interstate or overseas,
there’s a lot of planning and preparation that happens before your departure.
In between deciding which clothes
to pack, getting your prescriptions and medications in order and planning what
you’ll be doing at your destination, it’s important to look after your skin.
In fact, research has shown that skin disorders are the third most frequent health problem
reported to doctors by returning travellers, after diarrhoea and fever.
Different destinations may require
slightly different approaches to skincare, but there are a few things that you
can do to help protect and maintain the health of your skin.
your regular routine
Whether you have a multi-step skin
care regime or stick to a simple face wash and moisturiser, it can be helpful
to stay as close to your usual routine as possible. You may feel tempted to
sample new products or switch your routine to help prepare for your holiday,
but if your current skincare is working for you then there’s no reason to
In fact, travelling often comes
with skin symptoms like irritation, rashes or breakouts as our skin is exposed
to new environments, climates and types of bacteria. Whether it’s the washing
detergent used by the hotel you’re staying at or the minerals in the local
water, these kinds of factors can impact your skin. Maintaining your usual
routine can help to minimize this and prevent reactions to the ingredients in
new skincare products.
Look for travel-sized versions of
your favourite products, or purchase travel bottles into which you can decant
from your full-sized products. For international travel remember the 100ml
limit for liquids or gels..
forget sun protection
Australia may have the highest
level of skin cancer in the world, but that doesn’t mean that you can be
relaxed about sun protection while you’re travelling overseas.
Travelling by plane actually
exposes you to higher UV levels than you might expect. Not only are you closer
to the sun, causing the rays to be more intense, but you’re not in control of
the windows of other passengers, meaning that even if you close your own, you
may still be exposed. While aeroplane windows generally filter out UV-B rays, they don’t protect against UV-A rays, which are also harmful to
the skin. In fact, one study found that pilots flying for 56 minutes at 30,000 feet receive the
same amount of UV-A exposure as they would in a 20-minute tanning bed session.
The same goes for long road trips
where your skin is exposed to the sun for hours on end. If you’re driving, it’s
especially important to protect the skin on your hands as holding the steering
wheel means they’re particularly vulnerable to the suns rays.
Practice your usual sun safety by
applying plenty of sunscreen on your face and any exposed areas before you
board your flight or get into the car, and reapply every few hours.
It’s just as important to be sun
safe once you arrive at your destination. Whether it’s the ski slopes or the
beach, remember to apply sunscreen, wear sunglasses and a hat, and wear
protective clothing where possible.
In one study, arthropods, especially insects, were found to have caused nearly
a quarter of all skin-related conditions among returning travellers. While you
can’t prevent bites and stings altogether, there are a few things you can do to
and drink containers before you eat or drink from them, as some insects are
attracted to food and drink
outside to protect your feet
skin where possible
Stay out of
long grass or wear long pants in bushy areas
Make sure you pack some
tropical-strength water-resistant insect repellant and consider packing a few
extras like antihistamines to reduce itching, hydrocortisone cream to reduce
redness and inflammation, and anaesthetic cream to relieve pain.
Speak to your local Capital
Chemist pharmacist for more information, or check out our guide on bites and stings.
check-up before you leave
Making sure that you and your
family are in good health before you go can go a long way to preventing health
issues during your travels, and that includes skin conditions.
Bacterial infections are one of the most common skin complaints in returning travellers.
While it’s near impossible to eliminate the risk of bacterial infections
completely, there are a few factors that can put you at greater risk. These include existing illness,
compromised immune health, liver and kidney disease, and problems with blood
flow. Existing wounds can also increase the risk of infection.
It’s certainly worth visiting your
GP and getting a clean bill of health before you depart on your holiday. While
it may feel like a hassle at the time, it could save you from trouble later on.
Between flying on a plane full of
people, using public transport or simply being in a new environment, travelling
exposes us to lots of germs and bacteria.
Practising good hygiene can help to
protect you and your skin. This is especially important before eating or
touching your face.
areas like food court tables or plane tray tables with an anti-bacterial wipe
hands or use an anti-bacterial hand gel before eating, touching your face or
applying skincare products, and after using the toilet.
clean under your nails
towels, facecloths or personal items
in public showers
Different destinations carry
different risks when it comes to general health and the health of your skin.
It’s worth carrying out a little research before you go to find out what kind
of insects or animals you may need to protect yourself from, what the water
quality is like, and importantly, whether you require any vaccines.
Your Capital Chemist pharmacist can
help. They can offer advice on anything you may need to do to prepare for your trip, including
what vaccines need to be considered and when is the best time to have them.