Flying in a circulated air, pressurized plan at 30,000 feet has some negative affects the skin. For some people, the difference is very noticeable (to them, if not to others) whereas others experience little effect. There are 2 main ways that plane travel affects the skin:
#1: UV exposure
Studies indicate that there is a high level of UV radiation that makes it through the planes windows because of the higher elevation (closer to the sun + less other atmospheric elements in the air filtering the UV rays). If you love the window seat, it is advisable to apply a layer of sunscreen (or moisturizing sunscreen) before your flight. You likely will not burn regardless, but remember that sun damage is cumulative whether or not the skin burns or tans.
The main symptom of being on a plane is dehydration. Not only of the body, but of the skin as well! For some of us, that may actually lead to acne breakouts because the skin gets dry and overcompensates with increased oil production! For non-oily types, skin may feel dry, itchy or even irritated (because of that barrier function we’ve discussed already this series). To combat this, try applying a moisturizer before you fly and/or during flight if it’s particularly long (6+ hours).