Travel bubbles are opening up around the world, and things are starting to feel almost normal again. While most people are thrilled by the concept of jetting overseas for a family vacation, weekend getaway or business trip; travelling can cause havoc for those with eczema.
The best defense against eczema flare ups while travelling is to go in prepared, anticipate them and have the right tools ready.
Create a packing list
You may be one of those “throw everything in your bag 10 minutes before leaving” types. However, if you have eczema-prone skin, every trip requires advance planning. It may seem silly, but open up your notes app, do some research and start a checklist! These factors should be considered before you begin packing your bags:
Climate - cool and dry weather can dry out the skin, causing flare ups. If your destination is meant to be chilly, pack heavier creams. For all weather conditions and destinations, a physical sunscreen should be applied (and reapplied) everyday. We recommend SunClear Sunscreen for the whole family.
If you have creams, oils, shampoos, conditioners or any other products that you’re comfortable with and that you know won’t cause an eczema breakout, take them with you! You can pack liquids in your check in luggage, and whilst it’s going to add a bit of extra weight, it’s worth it. You don’t want to have to find products that are eczema friendly in a new destination, especially if there’s a language barrier.
In chilly destinations, layers are your best friend if you have eczema as some typical “warm” fabrics can be irritating to the skin as they trap heat and feel rough on the skin (e.g. wool, flannel, fleece, and polyester). If you’re heading somewhere toasty, wear loose-fitting clothes that allow your skin to breathe and cool down. For more information on the best (and worst!) clothing for eczema, read this blog.
Food - if certain foods trigger your eczema, make sure to notify travel buddies, airlines and hotel restaurants to make accommodations. Trying new foods is part of the travel experience, but if you know there are some foods that trigger your eczema, it’s best to steer clear of them. It’s also a good idea to do some research beforehand. For example, learning to explain your food intolerances in different languages can show a great sign of respect for cultures, and staff will more likely be helpful and want to accommodate your allergies.
Bedding - Ask anyone you are staying with - family or hotel staff - to avoid placing decorative pillows and quilts on beds if dust is a trigger for you. Also, find out what detergent is used for towels and sheets. Harsh detergents, fragrances, and fabric softeners, are common triggers for eczema flare ups. If possible, you may want to bring your own bedding and towels.
Be ready for the plane
Flying has a bad rep for drying out the skin. With eczema, this can cause further irritation to the skin and worsened eczema symptoms. Apply an extra layer of C+ eczema and dermatitis cream and body and bath oil to your face and body before leaving for the airport. Make sure to reapply on the plane, especially if it is a long haul flight.
Keep doing your daily routine
We know it can be tempting to let your normal daily routine slip when you’re busy travelling. But keeping up these good habits will make the biggest difference for your skin.
Don’t skip the showers - keeping clean and washing regularly is key to keeping your eczema under control. Especially after a long day of applying products onto your skin, possibly sweating, and being exposed to the environment and bacteria, you need to wash your skin clean. However, keep in mind that showers/baths can cause eczema flare ups, so keep the showers lukewarm and not unnecessarily long, and always apply bath oil and c+ cream after you hop out.
Tip: You may already know you can use the Body and Bath Oil in the bath, and topically onto the skin after a shower; but did you know you can apply it before a shower to create a protective barrier on the skin? See what routine works best for you!
Apply treatments regularly - consistent and regular application of our eczema treatments is so important in keeping your skin hydrated, and avoiding flare ups! Moisturise the skin at least twice a day. Grahams Natural’s eczema treatment products are 100% steroid-free, which means you can apply as often as needed! We recommend trying our Therapeutic Skin Care Pack.
Drink lots of fluids - to keep your skin hydrated, you need to drink lots of water. This is particularly important when flying as this can dehydrate the skin.
As hard as it is, try to not stress
We’re snapping back into pre-pandemic normalcy which means family gathering and holiday travels! This is all great news, however, for some it can also mean heightened stress levels. Stress is a common trigger for eczema flare ups.
While it may seem like there’s nothing you can do about stress while travelling, there are stress management techniques you can try to relieve the pressure and regain control. Follow these travel tips to reduce stress:
- If airports, long car trips, or simply getting ready to go stresses you out, make sure to have a game plan for dealing with the situations that may be especially challenging.
- At some point during your travels, you’ll have time to check your flight status, respond to work emails or look over your itinerary. Along with those tasks, reserve some time for some calming activities. Savor your downtime by listening to a podcast or reading a book.
- Don’t stress yourself out by running late. It might be tempting to get some extra sleep, but it could also create a stressful time crunch. Instead, arrive at the airport at least two hours before your plane departs for peace of mind.