Look Radiant En Route: Skin Care Confessions of a Flight Attendant
By now we’re all well aware of the toll traveling takes on our skin, especially when we travel by air. Between the stress of traveling and the incredibly dry environment inside the cabin, flying can wreak havoc on even the clearest complexions. Now, imagine doing it every day. Flight attendants are subjected to these low-moisture working conditions on a daily basis, yet they still manage to maintain glowing skin. Naturally, we had to know their secrets and when you need to stay radiant at 30,000 feet, you turn to the experts. We sat down with Jessica Zavala, a flight attendant for eight years, to learn a few tricks of the trade.
Hydrate Inside and Out
“Hands down, my number one ‘secret’ for keeping my skin looking good, is no secret, really. When I first began, I was warned about how drying the recycled air can be and for the need to drink lots of water,” Zavala says. "The trick is in consistently drinking water throughout the day and slightly more when I am working at 30,000 feet.” Topically, she prefers non-comedogenic—read: non-pore-clogging—moisturizers while she’s in flight. Her go-to moisturizer is on the thicker side while on land but, she says this makes it perfect in the air, where her skin tends to be on the dry side.
Zavala’s other “secret” is keeping healthy meals and snacks in-tow and stepping away from the salt shaker. “As airline crew, we can be stuck at airports and hotels for days on end. I have found that having healthy meals and snacks on hand is a life saver through long days, unexpected delays, and limited, less than stellar, meal options.” She typically packs healthy snacks in plastic bags. Her must-haves include: proteins, veggies, oatmeal, almonds, protein powders, fresh fruit, yogurt or cottage cheese, hummus, and dark chocolate. While not everyone has the space (or time) to pack homemade meals or snacks for their flight, she recommends simply paying attention to your sodium intake while flying to avoid water retention and bloating.
DIY, On the Go
“Because of our limited resources, we learn very quickly to repurpose our supplies for various uses,” she says. Fellow crew members have shown her how to make hand scrubs out of sugar packets and fresh lemon or lime juice from the leftover garnishes. “[As flight attendants] we wash our hands so much, which can be drying, especially on an airplane. This mini treatment works wonders,” she shares. “You pour two sugar packets into your hand, squeeze a lemon slice or two and rub your hands together for a couple minutes. Using a can of seltzer water to rinse adds extra softness.” Since then, she’s always on the lookout for items she can use for “mini spa treatments” during layovers: honey packets and used coffee grounds are two common finds. She carries a plastic bag with coconut oil—a dry skin savior—and mixes it with the coffee grounds for an easy DIY body scrub.
Consistency is Key
Overall, Zavala has found that consistency is the biggest factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle to look and feel her best. Since she’s often at a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet, maintaining healthy habits both en route and at home is key. She always makes sure to drink lots of water, eat well, exercise, and to get enough sleep—healthy lifestyle tips we can all benefit from.