If you’ve noticed your skin tends to look its worst in your vacation photos, you’re not alone. “Traveling, especially by plane, can lead to dehydration and irritation due to the dry air and changes in climate,” said Jody A. Levine, a dermatologist with Plastic Surgery & Dermatology in New York City. “Additionally, exposure to environmental factors such as UV radiation and pollution can affect the skin.”

“Common aggressors include dry airplane air, changes in climate, increased exposure to the sun, and disruptions in regular skin care routines,” added Kautilya Shaurya, a dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. “Each can lead to dehydration, breakouts or sensitivity.”

Whether you’re traveling to a warmer or cooler climate, each destination comes with its own set of challenges for your epidermis. “Increased sun exposure and humidity in a warm climate can lead to excess oil production and sweat, which can cause breakouts and clogged pores,” noted Jeannette Graf, a dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Plus, you’ll be more susceptible to sunburns. “Especially if you are traveling from more wintery, less sunny conditions to a sunny place, your skin will not be accustomed to the strength of the sun and you may burn more easily,” said Dendy Engelman, a cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon practicing at Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue in New York City. “Even in colder, cloudy climates, the sun’s UV rays can still penetrate clouds and cause harm to your skin.”

Meanwhile, “traveling to colder climates can increase dryness and irritation,” which can result in redness, flaking, and eczema flare-ups, added Graf.

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