Exactly What Skincare Products to Pack on Vacation, According to the DermWife

Cori Zeichner,The Derm Wife

There's nothing like a week on a remote island with nothing to do but relax on a white beach under a large umbrella. No work, no worries — but also no Sephora®. Since skincare options may be limited when you are away, you need to be fully prepared when you pack. Below, I’m sharing my non-negotiable skincare essentials. (Note: I hate to check any bag with my skincare, so if a product exceeds 4 oz., I will transfer it into a travel-sized bottle.) No skincare excuses here!

1) Sunscreen
Wearing sunscreen on vacation goes without saying, but don't wait to see what they have at the hotel. I don't take any chances when it comes to sunburns, so I always bring my sunscreen with me. Of course you want the best protection possible, but you also want products that won't irritate or break you out. I like La Roche-Posay® Anthelios® Melt-In Sunscreen MilkTM SPF 60 ($22), which has been top rated by Consumer Reports®. I like it because it absorbs quickly, without leaving you feeling sticky, plus my kids don't complain when I put it on them — so it’s a win-win. For my face, I stick to the Supergoop!® Anti-Aging City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30 ($42). (When you come home as pale as when you left, you must be doing something right.) Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to these commonly-missed areas.

2) Cleanser
As much as I love a day at the beach, that sticky, sandy feeling at the end of it all can be a challenge to clean up. I usually bring my own cleanser on vacation because I tend to get irritated by the harsh products that hotels provide. The Neutrogena® Ultra Gentle Foaming Cleanser ($8) gets all the sunscreen off without causing irritation.

3) Moisturizer
No matter your skin type, I feel a moisturizer is important when you are on vacation. After you wash-off all the salt water, sunscreen, and sand, your skin barrier may be disrupted, so I make sure to apply a light moisturizer to my face every night. Tatcha’s® The Water CreamTM ($68) is light, oil free, and gets the job done without weighing my face down, even in humid weather.

4) Vitamin C serum
I use Vitamin C every morning to keep my complexion bright and even. It is even more important on vacation because, as an antioxidant, it protects the skin against free radical damage from UV light. I layer it under my sunscreen for added protection against the sun. The L'Oréal Paris® Revitalift® Vitamin C Serum ($16) is light (even though it contains a powerful 10 percent vitamin C!) and doesn't pill under my other products.

5) Lip Balm
We've all mastered applying sunscreen to the face, but even I sometimes forget about protecting my lips. Our lower lip is especially at risk for sunburns because it faces upwards towards the sun.  If you’re going to apply color to your lips anyway, you might as well use a formula that contains SPF. The SunBumTM SPF 15 Tinted Lip Balm ($8) checks both boxes for me. It comes in five subtle neutral shades for a wash of color, while coconut oil and shea butter keep my lips soft and smooth.

6) Sheet mask
If you know me, you know that I can never resist a good sheet mask — and I am not afraid to use one on the airplane, despite the strange looks from other passengers. My all-time favorite is the SK-II® Facial Treatment Mask ($17). While it’s pricier than most sheet masks, it works wonders for brightening dull skin after a long plane ride.

7) Cortisone cream
Despite our best efforts, sunburns happen. Whether it is a missed spot or a forgotten reapplication, everyone has been in this situation. My dermatologist husband makes sure we always travel with a cortisone cream to calm inflamed skin. He says that if you have a severe burn (with open or raw skin), you should get medical attention, but applying an over-the-counter cortisone cream like Cortizone-10® ($7) to a minor burn can help reduce discomfort quickly.

8) Salicylic acid spot treatment
Whether it's from the air on the plane or the humidity at the beach, I always seem to get a pimple or two on vacation. It only takes one to ruin your day, so I am now prepared to fight back and never travel without my Clean and Clear Advantage® Acne Spot Treatment ($7). The salicylic acid helps keep dry skin at bay while the pimple heals.

So there you have it, my vacation skincare essentials: dermatologist recommended, and DermWife® approved.

DermWife® is a trademark of Cori Zeichner.

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