Your hotel is booked, your flight or car route has been finalized, and all that's left to do is pack. From sun exposure through car windows on long road trips to the dry air on planes—not to mention transitioning between different climates—you'll need winter skin care products that are up to the challenge.

Before you leave, make a checklist of your skin care essentials. You may not have room for everything in your usual routine, so choose wisely. To help, here are five key products to pack—plus travel skin care tips—to keep your complexion healthy and radiant throughout your winter trip.

5 Winter Skin Care Products for Travel

When it comes to skin care and travel, it's all about quality over quantity. These five essentials will help give your skin everything it needs for a winter adventure.

1. A Gentle Cleanser

A cleanser should be the first step in your winter skin care routine. This vital step removes makeup, debris, and oil from the pores and prevents breakouts and other skin concerns such as dullness. During the winter, you may find that your skin dries out more easily, so choosing a cleanser designed to maintain moisture—such as EltaMD Oil-in-Gel Cleanser—can be a great addition to your travel bag.

Cleanser also creates a clean canvas for the rest of the products you apply, helping their ingredients absorb more effectively. EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser, for instance, uses enzymes found in pineapples and an amino acid blend to reduce inflammation and easily remove impurities, pollution, and makeup from the skin. It's just the thing after a day of traveling and exploring.

2. A Strengthening Serum

Your skin barrier can easily become compromised when traveling, and sudden temperature changes can leave your complexion dry and sensitive. A serum can help protect your skin. It delivers active ingredients to the deeper layers of the dermis, locks in hydration, and strengthens your skin barrier. EltaMD Skin Recovery Serum is ideal for travel during colder weather. It contains soothing ingredients like Vitamin B5 and Tigergrass Extract that reduce inflammation, strengthen the skin barrier, and protect against free radical damage. It can also help calm any redness.

Two happy cheerful young girls in sunglasses traveling together taking selfie on smartphone

3. A Soothing Eye Cream

Vacation time usually means catching up on some much-needed rest, but air travel and colder weather can leave the skin around the eyes feeling drier than usual. A soothing eye cream like EltaMD Renew Eye Gel can help reduce the appearance of dark circles and puffiness. It also contains a gentle dose of active ingredients to smooth out and brighten the skin. You may want to pack some hydrating eye drops, too. Dry eyes are particularly common during winter, and unusual travel schedules can exacerbate the problem.

4. A Hydrating Moisturizer

Moisturizers contain ingredients that help strengthen the skin barrier and stimulate collagen production, keeping your complexion looking and feeling its best during winter travel. And yes, this step is essential no matter your skin type or destination. It's just about choosing the right one for your needs. When you're traveling to colder climates, consider a formula with hydrating ingredients like EltaMD PM Restore Moisturizer.

5. A Protective Sunscreen

Sunscreen is just as crucial during the winter as it is during the peak of summer. Even when it's cold and cloudy, ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause sunburn, acne, and skin cancer. The sun also reflects off snow, water, and sand, increasing your exposure. So, keep this in mind if you're hitting the slopes, heading to a snowy region, or escaping the cold with a beach vacation.

Make sunscreen part of your daily ritual and reapply every two hours to exposed skin. The EltaMD UV Stick Broad-Spectrum SPF 50+ is a game-changer for traveling. This pocket-sized, TSA-compliant sunscreen stick makes it easy to reapply your sunscreen on the go, wherever you are.

Travel Skin Care Tips

Check Travel Regulations

If you're traveling by air, check the airline's restrictions to see how much liquid you're allowed to take with you. Double-check that the products in your hand luggage are below the required limit (it's usually 3.4 ounces). If you're struggling to find your favorite serum or moisturizer in a size that small, buy a few empty travel bottles and add the amount of product you need for your trip.

Maintain Your Routine

While you have far more exciting things to think about on vacation than your skin care routine, your complexion will thank you for maintaining a regimen. It doesn't need to be complicated—cleansing each morning and evening and applying a hydrating serum and moisturizer can go a long way. You can then rest easy knowing your skin has everything it needs to stay happy.

Remember to Have Fun

Skin care plays a huge part in your complexion's health and radiance, but so do relaxation and happiness. Once you've unpacked at your hotel or rental property, put your skin care products on the bathroom counter for later, apply a layer of sunscreen, and get out there and enjoy your vacation.

And there you have it: an easy skin care checklist for your winter travels, regardless of your destination's temperature. Keep this handy the next time you find yourself packing for another adventure, and make sure to include the essentials.


  • Catherine Hufton

    Catherine Hufton is a UK-based freelance journalist and writer who has worked for some of fashion's most iconic companies and written for the world's best known magazines and newspapers. Beginning her career at Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion over 12 years ago, she has created content for L'Oréal, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, The Telegraph and more.

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