It’s time to get Scrub’d up! Order now. 

by Dr. Rashmira Balasuriya 


I love love love to travel, but obviously I don’t get to do much of it in my current line of work one reason I left leave the government sector!).

Anyway, despite absolutely loving to travel, I hated flying. I don’t like airports or airplanes, nor the complications that come with it. Jet lag? Turbulence? Blocked ears? No thank you. As you can imagine this was quite the challenge considering I studied in a foreign country and so twice a year I would have to make a round trip back home. Not to mention all the travelling I would try to fit into my summer holidays from university.

Despite all the awful things about flying, I never let it stop the adventurer in me and hence I found ways to combat some (not all) of my biggest pet peeves. Listed below are my top tips for not looking like death after a flight.

  • Drink a lot of water

One of the reasons we look like hell post-flght is because we are severely dehydrated. I always ask the cabin crew if I can get a water bottle on flight or if not at least a glass of water after takeoff and then one every 2 hours. The altitude and the recycled cabin air really sucks the life out of your skin so do your self a favour and rehydrate as much as possible. Ask for an aisle seat if this means you’ll be running to pee more often – can’t help, it has to be done.

  • Avoid alcohol

I mean its really tempting I know, but the effects of alcohol consumption whilst flying is the worst! It adds to the dehydration (see above point) and you will regret it once you land. Stick to the water – you’ll thank me later!

  • Moisturise your skin before getting on the flight

So many people apply sheet masks or eye patches once already on the flight, but you’ll be surprised to know that the aircraft actually uses recycled air. This means your mask will dry out faster and serve no purpose to your skin. To combat this you should ideally apply a good slathering of moisturiser prior to boarding the flight. This will ensure that your skin is hydrated well before hand.

  • Moisturiser and socks

This is one of the best tricks I’ve learnt! Want baby smooth soft skin? Apply a good dollop of moisturiser onto your feet once you’ve boarded the plane. Wear a pair of socks over your moisturised feet and you will have the smoothest feet ever when the flight finishes. I’m sure you can do this anytime, anywhere, but I find that this is one of those things that you must do on the plane. Definitely a must try.

  • Sleep on the way back

Jet lag getting you down after your long haul flight? I combat this by retiming my sleep-wake cycle. I check the time at my destination and stay up or sleep according to that time. This helps adjust with the day/night situation when you get to your destination and you will be up and bright to start your adventures! Melatonin drugs are available to help you adjust your sleep-wake cycle, but I definitely don’t want to trial with that right now.

  • Temporary deafness

When it comes to blocked ears I find that chewing gum or swallowing (your own saliva – disgusting I know) will help open up that eustachian tube in your ear. This prevents your eyes from getting blocked – relieving you of the temporary deafness or tinnitus you would experience otherwise.

  • Turbulence

So far no cure has been found! To combat with turbulence the only thing that has worked to calm my nerves is prayer. This has certainly heightened with all the airplanes going missing in action and crashing in the recent times. I hang onto my miraculous medals and rosary with hulk like strength and immediately become the good little catholic girl my mother wished I would be. If anyone has tips for dealing with turbulence phobia, do let me know – this steal proves to be my biggest problem.

How pilots and air craft staff do it, I will never know! These are the little tips and tricks that I’ve accumulated over the years and the learning will probably never stop so I will continue to share them. Got any more tricks that I can use? Comment below – I’d love to hear them!

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Hi there!

Hi there! Dr. Rashmira Balasuriya is a medical doctor in Sri Lanka, currently training in Family Medicine. Navigating the healthcare system in Sri Lanka is no easy task and this website was created to help guide other foreign medical graduates and junior doctors. This website also helps demystify life as a doctor in Sri Lanka and also combats medical misinformation circulating amongst the general public!