This post looks at the holiday essentials I like to pack in my suitcase when travelling abroad. As someone with chronic digestive issues, coeliac disease and PCOS, it’s really important to me that I’m always well prepared when it comes to eating away from home.
Tonight I’m catching a flight with my mum and my sister to Sri Lanka and I’m sooooo excited! We’ve had this girly adventure holiday booked since Christmas and we’ve all been counting down the months, weeks and days – it’s going to be such an amazing experience! This is my first proper holiday in nearly three years (the downside of being self-employed and only being able to take “long weekends” here and there!) so to say I’m in need of some well deserved R&R is a bit of an understatement!
travelling abroad? holiday essentials for acne prone skin
Going on holiday when you’ve got food intolerances, hormone imbalances and acne can make travelling abroad seem really daunting and stressful…but it really doesn’t have to be! Stress plays a huge part in the acne cycle so I hope by sharing my holiday essentials I can take away some of the stress so that you can fully enjoy your trip!
non-toxic insect repellent
Most conventional insect repellent contain a tonne of nasty neuro-toxins and skin irritants that I’d rather not subject my body to including DEET, Butane, Propane and synthetic fragrance. DEET is the most common active ingredient found in insect repellents but it’s a neuro-toxin that blocks an enzyme in the nerve cells of your central nervous system that breaks down toxins, allowing them to build up and kill off your nerve cells. The worlds best natural insect repellent, incognito® doesn’t work in the same way as DEET-based insect repellents and isn’t absorbed deep into the skin meaning it doesn’t interact with your inner chemistry. In this same way, it also doesn’t have a harmful effect on our delicate eco-systems, especially those involving aquatic wildlife – which I believe is equally as important as being safe for us! #earthchild
non-comedogenic sun lotion
Finding an acne friendly sun lotion that suits your skin type can be a mammoth task. Thankfully there are now plenty of non-toxic, acne safe sun creams for face and body to choose from. Personally, I don’t believe you can beat Green People SPF15/SPF30 for the body as it uses organic ingredients, is lightweight, give the best tan that lasts and uses titanium dioxide as the main sun protector instead of zinc oxide. Zinc oxide has been shown to be very harmful to aquatic life, so while it’s usually an ingredient in my facial SPF, I prefer not to use it on large areas of the body.
mile-high hydrating mist
If you’ve ever been on a long-haul flight, you’ll know how dehydrated and tight it can make your skin. Dehydrated skin means there’s a lack of water in the skin and when our skin gets dehydrated, it produces more oil to compensate. More oil means there’s the potential for more sebum oxidisation when can result in breakouts – everything we want to avoid during our holiday! To avoid your skin dehydrating on your flight, pack a hydrating mist in your hand luggage (just make sure it’s under 100ml!) Every couple of hours during your flight, mist your skin with a facial mist and lightly tap it into your face. Not only does this trick feel awesome and maximise hydration in the skin, it also increases circulation so you’ll get off your flight rosy, glowing and ready for some serious sightseeing! One of my favourite mists is the Mad Hippie Hydrating Nutrient Mist but I’m going to be taking the OSEA Sea Minerals Mist with me to Sri Lanka. If your skin is particularly dry, you may also want to pack a moisturiser or facial oil in your hand luggage to layer over the top of your mist.
When travelling and eating and drinking different foods that you don’t normally eat on a regular basis, it can be quite common to experience some digestive discomfort, whether it be stomach upsets or constipation. This is thought to be caused by a disturbance of our natural gut flora so it’s important to take a high quality probiotic to protect you from any harmful bacteria. Two of my favourite probiotics for travelling are Prescript Assist and OptiBac ‘For Travelling Abroad’ as they don’t require refrigeration so you can take them with you wherever you go and contains well-researched hardy strains of live cultures that have been tested to withstand higher temperatures and humidity.
mini blender / vortex mixer
Working on blood sugar levels is one of the most important steps most people need to take to clear their skin and one of the best ways to do this (other than cutting out junk food) is eating enough fat and protein each day, especially at breakfast! Being away from home can make it really tricky to stick to your usual hormone balancing diet and with cocktails and treats galore, getting enough fat and protein each day is even more important! The easiest way to do this is to pack a vortex mixer or mini blender in your suitcase along with some key essentials. I personally use a vortex mixer as it’s convenient, battery powered and mixes liquid fats and protein powders really easily. When I’m travelling abroad I don’t always need a shake every morning and have learnt to just trust my instinct and go with the flow. Many hotels I’ve stayed at do great continental breakfasts which nearly always include eggs and bacon which serves as an excellent breakfast to keep blood sugar levels balanced but I may find I need a shake at lunchtime if there’s not a great choice of gluten free foods. However, when I’m staying with friends in Europe or in accommodation where there’s no breakfast on offer then I really rely on my shake first thing in the morning. European breakfasts are usually pastries, pastries and more pastries – not ideal if you’re struggling with hormone imbalances and totally off the menu if you’re a coeliac!
vivo life salted maca protein powder
Move over Sun Warrior! There’s a new favourite protein powder in town. As I mentioned in my previous point, a plant-based protein powder is one of my essential items for keeping hormones balanced. As well as keep blood sugar levels under control, protein is the most important macro nutrient for keeping us feeling fulfilled till our next meal. I know I’ve had a good hormone balancing breakfast when I don’t even think about eating for a whole 4 hours after! Vivo Life are British supplement brand (also available in the US) that have created, hands down, the most delicious protein powder in the world! I’ve been using Sun Warrior for years, but the Vivo Life one totally trumps it – as well as offering a higher amount of raw plant-based protein per serving, it also contains added maca, lucuma, turmeric and digestive enzymes which all have their own unique healing benefits on the skin, digestive system and hormones PLUS, it tastes soooo so good! The great thing about a high quality, tasty protein powder is that when you’re away, you can literally just add water, the protein and some optional fat and you’re good to go. Obviously it tastes better with almond or coconut milk, but those luxuries aren’t always available so it’s nice to know you can still enjoy your shake and not feel like you’re drinking soil – some protein powders taste gross! For dosage, I generally only need a 1/2 a scoop per day but for those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet I would probably recommend the full scoop.
coconut oil / mct oil
We’ve talked about the importance of protein, but what’s even more important, is healthy fat. Our bodies need plenty of healthy fat to thrive and most of us aren’t getting enough. Like protein, fats also help keeps us fuller for longer but most importantly, they reduce inflammation in our digestive tract. Reducing inflammation in your gut means you can get rid of toxins and excess hormones more efficiently, absorb nutrients better and also give your system a break so it can heal quickly and efficiently. Coconut oil is a beauty staple of mine as a body oil and shaving oil so it’s always with me and can double up as the perfect fat booster for my shakes. However, unless you’re travelling in a warm country or have access to a microwave, it’s solid consistency can spell trouble for your vortex mixer. Avocado oil is an oil that’s always liquid so ideal for shakes and doubles up as a great moisturiser for the body and shaving. Another oil I like to use in my shakes at home is MCT oil, often used in ‘Bullet Proof Coffee‘. It’s another liquid oil that easy to blend into shakes, teas and coffee and has a wide range of health benefits. If you’re interested in using MCT oil, I would start with just 1 tsp a day in your smoothie for the first week then increase to 2 for another week then finally 3 teaspoons (or 1 tablespoon) as it can have some strong detoxing effects.
natural hand sanitiser
Whether it’s a festival, camping trip or beach holiday you have planned this summer, a non toxic hand sanitiser is an essential handbag item for pretty much any trip away! Conventional antibacterial hand sanitisers contain chemical ingredients, such as triclosan and triclocarban, which can can serious allergic reactions and also contribute to bacterial resistance to antibiotics. There are also studies (here and here) that show that triclosan can cause thyroid complications and disrupt other hormonal processes – definitely a no-go!
Do you have any holiday essentials that you couldn’t live without? Let me know your top tips for travelling abroad with acne, hormonal and digestive issues in the comments below and don’t forget to check out next weeks post where I’ll be sharing my travel beauty essentials for acne!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin,