Dr. Jung-Gu Lim of Delta skin clinic “needs to manage moisturizing, fatigue, stress, etc.”
When you think about the skin of flight attendants, you might imagine the clear and healthy skin everyone desires. However, the truth is different from your perception. The flight attendants have susceptible skin due to constant exposure to the harsh in-flight environment. How do they care for their skin condition from painful work conditions and high work density?
The in-flight environment where the flight attendants work is the worst for the skin. Although it varies depending on the temperature, the humidity that feels comfortable indoors is about 40 to 70%. However, the cabin humidity is very dry, ranging from 4 to 17%. In addition, the degree of UV coming through the windows is much stronger than on the ground.
It is also vulnerable to cosmic radiation, which has recently become a big issue due to concerns about the development of skin cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, and so on. Cosmic radiation is high-energy radiation that enters the Earth from outside the solar system. Most of them are reflected before reaching the ground surface and are likely to be directly affected on the ground, and there is a high possibility that they will be directly exposed to cosmic radiation at the altitude at which the aircraft cruises.
What is the skin condition of flight attendants in such an environment?
Dr. Jung-Gu Lim, a founder of Delta skin clinic, explained, "The outside air is heated, pressurized, and sent into the flight, which is why the inside of the flight is very dry. Therefore, dryness is common among flight attendants. In addition, after flying for a long time, it is easy for people with good skin to become sensitive, making it difficult to treat skin diseases such as acne. It is exposed not only to strong UV but also to cosmic radiation. In the case of female flight attendants, there is a research result that the incidence of cancer, such as skin and breast cancer, is high. For this reason, airlines also set and manage the number and time of annual flights for flight attendants to prevent exposure to cosmic radiation."
In addition, the cortisol hormone is secreted due to stress, which can break down the skin barrier, and various problems can appear or worsen as the biorhythm is broken due to lack of sleep, air pressure difference, and jet lag. According to Dr. Lim, in fact, many flight attendants have a completely broken hormonal system as women.
Thus, to improve the skin of flight attendants, it is necessary to take care not only of the skin itself but also of overall areas such as fatigue and stress.
Dr. Lim said," I don't treat flight attendants in the same way as ordinary people. Instead of a general procedure program, I diagnose them first and perform the treatment according to their flight schedule. Since they must show their face in front of many people, they need programs and management to minimize downtime. As a flight attendant, there are many desires for beauty, but since the job is in an extreme environment, the skin condition is not as good as other job groups, so they need to take care of it more carefully.”
To improve dryness and acne, moisturizing care, water light injection, and PDT treatment are performed, and fluid treatment such as licorice injection can be considered for fatigue recovery. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can also be used. According to Dr. Jung-Gu Lim, the hyperbaric oxygen therapy device helps improve overall skin, such as fatigue, wound healing, and collagen regeneration.
It is also important to find the ideal pH (acidity) balance of the skin. pH is closely related to the skin barrier and skin type (dry and oily), and it is said that a slightly acidic environment of about pH 5 to 6.5 is good for the skin to create a strong protective film.
Dr. Lim advised, “If you look at the skin of flight attendants, they go back and forth between the extremes of oiliness and dryness. So, pH is the main focus, and pH management is emphasized a lot. If the pH is not managed properly, no matter how other treatments are used, it will not work. I think that cleansing and cosmetics, if used well at the appropriate pH, will help to restore the skin to some extent.”
During the flight, apply plenty of lotion, moisturizer, sunscreen, etc., and on days when there are no flight schedules, it is good to avoid makeup to give the skin a break. In addition, efforts should be made to improve regular exercise, stress management, and balanced eating and sleeping habits.