I spend a lot of time writing about the glories of travel—Bhutan! Bioluminescent beaches! Black sand!—but then there are the cramped planes and time zone changes. Ugh. And that’s not even getting into the skin and body woes associated with flights.
Common wanderlust-buzz kills include bloating and other assorted tummy troubles, post-flight sniffles, frustratingly-persistent dehydration and, of course, jet lag. You may have individual go-to cures for each, which you enact in a whack-a-mole fashion as issues arise. Can’t sleep? Melatonin. Can’t, er, relieve yourself? Five espressos. On (and on) the list goes. And all of these things can wind up taking a toll on your complexion, so your glowy-skin
Imagine this though: a supplement ritual designed specifically to not only treat but prevent these issues from occurring in the first place. That’s just what natural supplement company The Nue Co. has done with their recently created travel kit. I spoke to founder Jules Miller, Hum Nutrition co-founder Walter Faulstroh, and nutritionist Whitney English, RD to get the skinny on how a supplement routine might make traveling easier on the body.
Keep reading to learn how to design your own travel supplement ritual.
The issue: bloating
You know that the gut-skin connection is strong, so keeping tabs on what’s going on in the stomach might also help fend off unnecessary skin issues. “The air pressure in airplanes is very low, which causes the gases in your gut to expand,” says Miller of this all-too-common travel side effect. “Coupled with super-salty foods and dehydration, a lot of people are left with sluggish digestion for days after travel.”
To remedy the situation, she increases her daily dose prebiotic and probiotics two days before traveling, and once she’s taken flight, she begins scooping Debloat Food + Probiotic, which is composed of turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and macai fruit into her drink. “It acts as a quick fix for that swallowed-a-balloon feeling,” she says.
Faulstroh also suggests the addition of digestive enzymes while traveling. These supplements assist in the breakdown of food and allow for more efficient nutrient absorption.
The issue: dehydration
Ask any celeb her go-to beauty move and you’ll nine-times-out-of-ten hear this: I drink a lot of water. But when traveling, this one gets put to the test. Miller doesn’t favor any bells and whistles when it comes to H2O. “I’ve experimented with hydration capsules, tablets, and sachets but nothing has worked for me,” she says. “The majority contain high levels of sugar and synthetic compounds, which don’t leave my body feeling great.” The Aerospace Medical Association recommends you drink eight ounces of water for every hour you’re in the air, she says, which is why she sticks to those guidelines.
English, however, adds one caveat to this prescription. “The only reason you would need something more advanced than plain water is if you’re suffering from extreme water losses due to traveler’s diarrhea,” she says. “In that case, you’ll want to drink an oral rehydration solution containing electrolytes like sodium and potassium.” Nuun tablets are easy to travel with, and you can activate them with any old bottle of water.
The issue: suffering skin
Masks, balms, and sprays can only do so much for your skin when journeys are long and the air on the plane is operating at essentially zero humidity. “We expose our skin to pretty harsh conditions” while traveling, says Faulstroh, adding that probiotics, cleansing herbs, and healthy fats can help.
Certain strains of probiotic, he says—such as the ones used in the Hum Nutrition Gut Instinct product—promote skin health and immunity boosting, making skin less prone to attacks by bad bacteria that can cause breakouts. “You cannot believe to how many bacteria we are exposed to in planes and airports,” he says. “And since using hand sanitizers also destroys the good bacteria on our skin, I much prefer the probiotic route that boosts our own defenses.”
Because traveling is often accompanied by dietary chaos, Faulstroh also recommends a cleansing supplement rich in chlorella as well as herbs like dandelion and milk thistle. “Finally, to lock in more moisture, in addition to drinking lots of water I would recommend a high-quality fish oil, or plant-based Omega for vegans and vegetarians,” he says.
The issue: jet lag
To remedy the kill-joy that is jet lag, Miller says you should adapt to the new time zone ASAP, though of course that’s easier said than done. Forcing your body to sleep when it’s not tired can be impossible, particularly when crammed into an economy-class seat, and lack of sleep can lead to a host of issues for your skin such as dryness and dark circles.
If you need to snooze in-flight, she suggests adding 6-12 drops of her company’s Sleep Drops, which contain Valerian root, passionflower, catnip, and chamomile. These can also help to ease nerves about flying, though English notes that chamomile supplements have only been shown to help ease anxiety when taken over an 8-week period. A few spritzes of a topical magnesium spray can help relax the body, too. (Magnesium can be added into your routine in many forms—body oils, powders, gummies, balt salts, and more—but it’s important to note which type of the mineral is included in your product of choice, as only certain strains, so to speak, work to ease anxiety.)
Faulstroh recommends the tried-and-true method of taking melatonin at a 3mg dosage—no more, no less, he says—when it’s time to sleep, whether in-flight or on the ground. “I also take B6, which is good for the nerves and helps to ease in to sleep,” he says, noting that it’s best to start this routine a day or two in advance of your travels.
The issue: bacterial infections
Getting sick is the ultimate way to defeat your glow, and it’s not all too uncommon when traveling. I catch a cold every time I get on a plane and Miller says I’m not alone. To fight it off, wash your hands and take immunity boosters such as echinacea. English adds that these supplements may need to be taken for days or even weeks in advance of flying in order to be effective, so start early.
Faulstroh emphasizes the importance of one familiar supplement for warding off illness on-the-go. “I really swear by probiotics to not only boost your skin’s immunity but your body’s overall ability to fend off bacterial attacks,” he says, further noting that OG supplement Vitamin C can be helpful, too, with a caveat. “It’s water soluble so you need to keep replenishing it,” he says. “Any excess is simply eliminated by the body.”