Dr. Erin Welch promises “radiant and blemish-free” skin “no matter where our journeys take us.”

If you’re like me, simply boarding a plane sets off a sequence of skin-busting events that turns my “on vacation and stress-free” look into one of “harried and hapless traveler.” Whether it’s from the stagnant airplane air, the stress of packing for four, or that nasty, perfume-laden hotel soap, I’m never sure. Finally tired of pimples following me through my getaway, I sought advice from a pro. Will the following tips from board-certified dermatologist Dr. Erin Welch – who promises “radiant and blemish-free” skin “no matter where our journeys take us” – do the trick? I sure hope so. (I’ll report back after my next jaunt.)

•    HANDS OFF. Avoid touching your face. “When you’re traveling, you pick up bacteria from any number of places – doorknobs, the check-in kiosk, your luggage, seat belts, basically everything you touch,” says Dr. Welch. “Clean your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based antibacterial gel to help reduce their spread to you,” she explains. Admittedly, I could use some help in this category. Though I squirt Purell onto my little ones’ hands somewhat excessively, I’m guilty of resting my head on my palm, putting hand to brow, and otherwise smudging my face with those invisible germs that I’m certain lurk about.


•    PYOP (Pack your own products). Don’t rely on your host or hotel to provide you with an effective facial cleanser. An abrupt change in cleanser can disrupt your skin’s delicate pH balance, causing you to break out,” says Dr. Welch. I’m sold! Like Welch, I agree that packing a dry facial cleanser can save time and aggravation (think security limits on liquids and gels AND risk of spillage).  “I like the pHisoderm unscented skin cleansing bar because it’s very gentle,” Welch adds, “which helps balance out the changes in water, climate and air quality your skin undergoes while traveling.”

•    STAY HYDRATED. Welch says that we usually drink less water than normal while traveling because few of us opt for more bathroom visits than usual while we’re on the road. This, she says, is a huge mistake if you want a clear complexion, because water helps the skin remove toxins and take in nutrients and helps keep your skin cells hydrated, leaving it looking clear and vibrant. Her recommendation: a minimum of 64 ounces a day. If this is what it takes a blemish-free week on the road, I’m all for toting a bottle of water on each and every leg of my travel. Bonus: It serves as a great example for my kids, whom I want to be sure are hydrated every step of the way.