What Really Happens to Your Body On a Flight and How to Fix It

With Thanksgiving and the holidays just around the corner, many of us are about to do some air travel. As anyone who's ever flown anywhere can attest, it is not easy on our bodies, and it turns out there are a lot of scientific reasons why our bodies often feel so unhappy by the time we land. But there are ways to make it a bit easier- here's a few tips to land feeling (almost) as good as when you boarded.

Hydrate Inside and Out

If you've ever left a flight feeling raisiny, you had good reason. Airplane cabins have extremely dry climates, with as low as 4% humidity. This creates a breeding ground for viruses- like colds and respiratory infections- to thrive. It also wreaks havoc on your skin. Your best course of action to combat the dryness is to hydrate both internally and externally. Make sure to drink plenty of water- ideally from water you've brought aboard, as studies show water poured for you on the plane may not be as clean as you'd hope.

For your skin, use products formulated with humectants that draw in moisture and keep it there long after you apply. Hyaluronic Acid is ideal for long lasting skin hydration. You can find it in Alder New York's Everyday Face Moisturizer, Everyday Face Serum, and Hydrating Face Mask. We recommend you layer the serum and moisturizer on before your flight to protect it while in the air, and apply a mask post flight to revive and rehydrate your skin.

Finally, a nasal spray can be major in the germs and virus department. Use it before and during your flight to keep your nasal passages moist and boost their germ fighting abilities.

Umami in the Air

If you're flying for more than three hours you'll likely get hungry. Unfortunately, airplane food is rarely very good and that's exacerbated by what happens to your sense of taste when you fly. Almost a third of your taste buds become numb at high altitudes, and the air pressure and dryness on the flight affect your sinus and ears, making it hard to taste nearly as much as you usually do. Researchers found that saltier and umami type foods taste best while flying. Some airlines are getting savvy to this- British Airways revamped its menu to encompass more umami flavors. But if you aren't flying with BA this holiday season, we recommend packing some healthy but umami rich snacks- nori chips, carrots, and salted almonds all fit the bill to be delicious while flying as well as good for you.

Walk it Out

The combination of sitting for long periods of time and changes in air pressure (which causes a build up of gas in your body) leads to that awful bloated feeling. Your best bet is to walk around the cabin every two hours, stay hydrated, and-wait for it- wear compression socks! If you're not worried about a blood clot, these socks are excellent for keeping you comfortable and reducing flight bloat. They've also gotten way more stylish since the tan medical sock days of yore.


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