Why Acne Breakouts Happen When You Travel

Life's different for me now. I used to obsess about my skin all the time. But this time, I was on an airplane and suddenly remembered something I wanted to share with you guys.

I just got back from Vietnam and Taiwan and noticed something a few interesting mentions that anyone suffering from acne should know about. In this mini traveling series, I'm going to be discussing 3 parts:

  1. Acne and Skin on the Plane
  2. Acne and Skin in Vietnam
  3. Acne and Skin in Taiwan

I left on Nov 7th to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and then went to Taipei, Taiwan on Nov 17th.  As of writing this article, it's late November 2017.

PART #1: Acne on the Plane

If you've ever stumbled into the cramped restroom of an airplane while a flight and looked at your skin, you've probably had the same react that I had.

WTF. This is not good lighting.

I remember, for whatever reason, the blue light of the restroom on an airplane always makes your skin look extra pale and your blackheads that much more noticeable (or maybe it's because you're standing just 1 foot away from the mirror). Either way, I'm always extra aware of my black and whiteheads on a flight.

And though my skin is 10x healthier than before, I wanted to share some of what I've learned since clearing my acne through the acne free diet with you guys.

And if you've noticed the same thing, here's my theory on why this happens.

REASON 1: Elevation

Health is related to equilibrium and equilibrium a lot of times affects your sense of balance. When you're not feeling balanced, you'll feel nauseas. Some of you may already know this, but there are "rocks" inside a pouch, in our inner ear, called the utricle.  This pouch has about 1,000 tiny rocks made out of calcium carbonate that stimulate our nerve cells when we move our heads. The purpose of this along with our eyes giving us sight is to give us a sense of direction.

So if you're ever car sick, it's because these rocks and your sight aren't matching up. And that may happen for various reasons such as you're staring at the wrong place in the road, you're "rocks" have degraded due to poor health so they're not properly stimulating nerve cells, etc. Basically, the movement in your ear giving you a sense of equilibrium and your sight aren't matching up and it's telling your brain something is "off."

Then you start to feel motion sickness.

This same thing can happen when you're in an airplane and things start to take off. The airplane lifts off, but you're inside and don't see anything that's happening outside. Your brain starts to trip out a little and you feel motion sickness.

On top of that, the sudden change in elevation has weird effects on people that can manifest itself in many ways. Some people have a hard time breathing, some people feel slight anxiety, some people feel nausea. This sudden change in elevation can have an effect that varies from person to person.

REASON 2: Stomach

So usually what happens now?

At the end of the day, somehow your stomach is going to be affected.


Because when things are going wrong, one of the first systems that the body shuts down is the digestive system. This is because when you're starting to feel sick, a little anxiety, a little adrenaline when the plane is taking off. Or maybe you're just excited because you're about to go somewhere new. There are changes happening in the atmosphere and your body's last concern right now is eating food.

This is very similar to the fight or flight response.

If you're being chased by a lion, your body's trying to survive, it's not concerned about digestion right now. So it shuts or limits functionality of this part of your body.

So if you've eaten anything before or your stomach still is digesting anything, you're going to see some weird manifestations right about now.

REASON 3: Weird Airline Food

I've always had my suspicions about the food on airlines. But one thing is for sure, if you're already suffering from acne we know that you have some GI tract problems that affecting your stomach and digestion.

And we also know that when your body faces problems, it tends to try to eliminate those problems through your skin. Hence, the extra black and whiteheads.

Therefore, when you add all this to the weird airplane food that probably has tons of chemicals and (if suspicions are correct) some sort of constipation medication (because what airline wants you to clog up their toilet), your body is not in it's comfortable norm and may start to freak out a little bit more than usual.


Don't eat the airline food. If you don't eat the airline food, you'll avoid the preservatives, chemicals, and questionable substances they put in this food. Whatever it is, it's probably not helping your acne. Airlines don't care about your skin.

Clean foods only. If you're going to eat, eat light. I'm talking about the safest foods like organic juice, salads, vegetables because these are things you know your body will have an easy time digesting when it's enduring the extra burden of suddenly shooting thousands of feet up into the air.

Maximize rest before flight. You're already prone to acne and breaking out so we know that your skin and body isn't acting like it's supposed to. And we know that if you put any sort of stress on your body, it's just going to do more of what it's done in the past: break out more. So reduce the stress on your body and get relax.

Sleep. One of my favorite and easiest things to do. You simply won't be aware of what's going on and will bypass a lot of the alarms the body has when the plane takes off. Heck, with a certain amount of anesthesia, we can perform major surgery and cut people open. So if you can sleep or you can time your flight right so it's during sleeping hours, it'll help a lot.

PART #2: Acne in Vietnam

If you enjoyed this article and want to see more, tune in to the next article coming up this weekend about acne in Vietnam.

SERIES 2: Traveling in Vietnam

About Ray

Ray was an ex-acne sufferer for more than 10+ years and spent over $10,000 on acne products, creams, dermatologists, laser surgeries, ProActiv, you name it, he's tried it. After finally curing himself through diet, he became a believer that the right formula of food can truly heal all. While starting My Acne Coach, he finished his Masters degree in Nutrition & Dietetics and became a Certified Alternative Nutritionist.