Holiday travel season is upon us, which means that you have to condense your whole life into bags small enough to make the journey via planes, trains and automobiles. Even the most practiced travel pro can't help but get a little freaked out about packing a skin care regimen for the trip: exactly what of all your beauty loot is critical enough to make the trip?
We reached out to some of the top dermatologists in the country to get the must-have skin care product they absolutely would not travel without. Want to know which essentials make the grade for the people who make their skin in the skin care game? Let's find out.
Image via Imaxtree
#1 Product for Everyone: Sunscreen
Every single dermatologist we spoke with wanted to ensure that we said this: they ALL recommend (and use) sunscreen as their #1 must have, regardless of destination, weather or activity. Since the sun's rays actually have the power to kill (melanoma is real, y'all), we promised them that we'd pass this advice along. Broad-spectrum, skin-boosting protection is essential, so pack a good option like Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42, $34, and reapply like it's your job.
Dr. Mona Gohara, board-certified dermatologist, Advanced DermCare
"My one must-have travel product is a vitamin C serum. It's like a little black dress: everyone needs one in their wardrobe because it makes us all look so good with so little effort! Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps even out your complexion, add radiance and prevent fine lines. I love it because it's cosmetically elegant, easy to layer and plays well with other products. Youth to the People Superfood Firm and Brighten Vitamin C Serum, $62, does the trick: it not only contains the benefits of vitamin C, but it's also packed with peptides and hyaluronic acid to boost skin health and hydration. Just one important thing: vitamin C doesn't like bright light, so keeping it in dark places and containers helps it work better."
Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology
"As an acne expert and dermatologist, after sunscreen, my must-have skin care product is a retinoid, which you can now buy over the counter. For my patients who deal with acne issues, I recommend packing Differin Gel, $19.78, which just became the first FDA-approved acne-treating retinoid that is over the counter. This is an absolute game changer since previously retinoids were only available through a prescription. Retinoids are the absolute backbone of an acne treatment since they treat and prevent acne by declogging pores and acting as an anti-inflammatory, and they've also been proven to improve skin discoloration and texture, restoring skin from prior outbreaks. Differin was designed with tolerability in mind, so it's a great starter retinoid and/or good for more sensitive adult skin. Just remember to use it in conjunction with a moisturizer, after gentle cleansing and, of course, apply sunscreen! Start off slow and increase usage as tolerated."
Dr. Patricia Wexler, New York-based board-certified dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology
"When I travel, I get extremely dehydrated, which shows on my skin. I like a good product with hyaluronic acid for this reason, which is why I'm a fan of SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, $142.40. Hyaluronic acid holds in moisture, which keeps skin resilient and supple. HA5 supports the skin's ability to replenish its own hyaluronic acid, supporting its ability to moisturize the skin throughout the day. It also contains peptides to rejuvenate the skin and potent antioxidants to protect against sun and pollution. It's good for any skin type (sensitive skin included), just note that it should be applied before sunscreen or other anti-aging serums. Just apply twice daily and here's a pro tip: since hyaluronic acid loves water, wet your fingertips prior to applying to reap the full rewards."