Learn Tracy May-Harriott’s skincare secrets on the road from her travel blog, which she recorded during her recent month-long trip to New Zealand and Australia.
My first day in Auckland, New Zealand, and I’m settled into my beautiful hotel room at the Langham Hotel. The first thing I always notice is how congested my skin can become after flying.
So here are a few tips for “delightful” comedones/blackheads/blocked pores and how we can eliminate them. (And if you’re like me and suffer with sinus troubles and blocked pores, then flying exacerbates both.)
First, my sinuses become so inflamed during flying that I take a decongestant before the flight takes off. Inflammation is one of the most degenerative aspects of aging in all areas: health, disease and visually. When your sinuses are inflamed, they “puff up” under your skin. If you have open pores, they can appear even larger. Top that with the “wonderful” recycled air on airplanes, and your pores fill up with even more dirt, debris etc.
Do you know the difference between a blackhead and a whitehead? Whiteheads have a cover; they have a skin cell over them and cannot “oxidize” and go black. Blackheads are open pores that remain open like a little “basin” that collects dirt, debris and dead skin cells like a plug, then oxidize to go black; they are then visible as blackheads.
The extreme dehydration during flight can also really make the skin tight, almost like tissue paper, and therefore can become easily damaged, making the task of removing blackheads difficult. With the correct AHA use, you actually should not have to perform blackhead extractions; this can be damaging to the skin and little muscles at the follicles (arrector pili muscles), leaving more marks and damage on the skin. Any extraction should only be done on those blocked pores that extract with ease and not under extreme pressure, causing redness and pain.
You know those wonderful magnifying mirrors they put in bathroom cabinets? They shock the life out of me! So, as I look in the hotel mirror, I see all these “babies” have popped up on my skin after the flight. Thankfully, there is a steam room in the spa, so head I for it with Idebenone Complex Facial Cleanser (with both lactic and salicylic acids, AHA/BHA cleanser), Advanced AHA Invigorating Face & Body Scrub (15% Lactic Acid) and the “dream product” for this skin condition, Advanced AHA Perfection Facial Gel. With salicylic acid, Perfect Facial Gel works to remove surface blocked pores and has the ability to assist the destruction of p.acnes bacteria.
After cleansing and exfoliating, I sat in the steam room for 10 minutes. This is terrific for managing jet lag, relieving that bloated/puffy feeling flying gives you, and boosting the lymphatic system, so I get double benefit.
I then use the ice that the spa also has as I step out of the steam room, to really tighten the skin and improve the circulation. You can easily do this at home, too, by steaming your face over a bowl of boiling water and towel over your head for a few minutes, followed by ice cold water splash or ice cold face flannel compress.
Following this, I apply Perfection Facial Gel to my blocked pores and congestion and apply a lovely double layer of my hero product, Barrier Repair Complex, before returning to my room. When I do, my magnifying reflection is not a shock this time, as if by magic, with no painful, damaging, prodding at my skin! Voila!