How to Treat an Acne Flareup When You’re on Vacation


Of all the worst times to get an acne flareup, while on vacation is near the top of the list. Vacation is supposed to be a stress-free time where you feel your very best. It only lasts for so long and you want every minute to be enjoyable. Unfortunately, vacation flare-ups are not all that uncommon. A number of things can trigger acne while traveling: a plane, weather change, and being out of your daily routine are just a few. 

Things can quickly go awry when acne shows up to join the party. Luckily, there are things you can do to treat acne during vacay. Here are five ways to treat an acne flareup while on vacation.

1. Come Prepared With a Treatment

If you’re a long-time sufferer of acne, make sure you come prepared with a treatment. Bonus points if you start using it during the months leading up to your trip. The best treatment is prevention. Prescriptions are effective, but they can take time to work. Look for prescription-strength topical treatments like retinoids and antibiotics that kill bacteria-causing acne. Oral treatments like spironolactone or birth control can also be extremely effective for treating hormonal acne.

If you begin taking one of these treatments pre-vacation, be sure to continue use during the trip. Getting off track with your medication for just a few short days can be the thing that leads to a flare-up. Prepping for a trip can be stressful, so if you want to get a treatment fast, look online. Telemedicine makes it easier to get an acne prescription online shipped straight to your door.

2. Be Consistent With Skincare

Whether you’re dealing with an acne flareup on vacation or not, it’s important to stick to a great skincare lineup. Make sure you pack the entire lineup; a gentle cleanser, sunscreen, and a great moisturizer. You can also pack serums, toner, exfoliator, eye creams, and face masks if you feel like your skin needs them. Or, if you feel like you need them for the specific climate that you’re visiting (more on that later).

Staying consistent with skincare while on vacation is a great way to prevent unwanted breakouts. While it’s easy to be careless and forgetful while vacationing, it might cause your skin to get irritated. Make sure you plan out your morning and nighttime skincare routine well in advance so that you don’t forget a single product. Preparation is key!

3. Use Natural Remedies

Acne treatments and skincare are one way to treat and prevent acne, but there are also several natural remedies that can help. These remedies are safe, effective, and usually very gentle on the skin. Not to mention the products used for natural treatments are typically readily available just about anywhere. This is a great benefit for those who are trying to treat acne while on vacation.

Natural remedies for acne include honey and cinnamon masks, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, green tea, and aloe vera. If you have sensitive skin that tends to become irritated by salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, a more holistic approach may be necessary. Next time you have an acne breakout, try using these powerful ingredients as a treatment. The results may surprise you.

Pro tip: Mixing up your own homemade mask or spot treatment is one way to treat acne. But you can also try changing your diet and exercising more. Cutting out dairy can help some people minimize breakouts. And exercise can reduce stress, thus reducing breakouts.

4. Don’t Forget the SPF

Tropical vacation or not, it’s important to apply SPF every single day. Not only does sunscreen protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun, but it also improves the look of the skin. Sunscreen prevents scarring and discoloration. If you already have hyperpigmentation and scarring from previous acne breakouts, not using SPF will only worsen this.

Many people believe that a nice sun tan will help with acne. Quite the contrary. While it feels great to get a little color every now and then, beware that it’s only masking the acne issue. An acne flare-up causes inflammation and redness, and a tan can make this less noticeable. But once a tan fades, you’re left with the same problem. Needless to say, no matter where you’re jet-setting off to, pack the sunscreen and use it in your daily routine.

5. Consider Climate When Packing

Every individual has different skincare needs. This isn’t just due to the fact that everyone’s skin is different, it also has to do with the environment they’re in. Someone who resides in a very cold climate, for example, has very different skincare needs than someone who is in a hot, humid climate. Make sure that you take this into consideration when you’re packing for your trip.

If you’re somewhere cold, your skin needs extra hydration. A heavy-duty moisturizer like a barrier cream is essential. In a warm, dry climate, hydration is equally as important, but think lightweight moisturizers and hyaluronic acid serums. Using SPF each morning will also prevent dryness. For humid climates, use lightweight products and brightening serums. Make sure to research the right skincare for the climate you’re visiting prior to your trip so you’re prepared.

If you’re already on your trip and have an emergency situation with an acne flare-up, don’t fret. You can make a last-minute drugstore run for over-the-counter treatments. But in addition to treating acne, think about what your skin needs based on your environment and daily activities. 

Vacation acne flare-ups might be a common occurrence, but they aren’t untreatable. With proper preventative care and the right treatments, you can absolutely have a stress-free (and pimple-free) vacation.


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