A Guide to Holiday Skincare – Skin Rocks

A Guide to Holiday Skincare

As travel restrictions begin to ease and temperatures rise, many of us are jetting off to tropical beaches and sunny resorts all over the world. So, to help you decide which skincare to pack and how best to look after your skin while on your summer holiday, we've broken down our advice for each step of your routine.


Cleansing is more important than ever whilst on holiday. Over the course of a day, your skin will experience a build-up of sebum (oil), sweat, SPF and general grime from being in the sea/pool. Many of us also cleanse our skin more frequently whilst on holiday (e.g., in the morning, before dinner and before bed).

As you will be washing your face more often, choose a gentle formula to use in the morning and before dinner – milky cleansers are a great choice that won’t strip your skin. You can then reserve your double cleanse for your PM routine to remove any makeup and SPF. Use an oil cleanser as your first cleanse (as this will be lighter and may be more comfortable than a balm in the heat) and your usual cleanser as your second. 


Exfoliation can be a brilliant pre-holiday preparation step to help you achieve a glowing complexion. It’s important to note, however, that exfoliants that use AHAs such as glycolic acid can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. If you are going on a short trip and know you will be spending lots of time in the sun, leave the acid exfoliants at home. Alternatively, if you are going on a longer holiday and wish to use acids whilst you’re away, reserve exfoliation for your evening routine and ensure you wear SPF 50 during the day. Pre-soaked pads can be a practical option for packing. The products below are all glycolic-free.


The hot weather can cause water to evaporate from our skin which can lead to dehydration. A mist is your portable, on-the-go hydration station and you’ll want a formula that contains hydration-boosting ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin. The La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra 8 Mist is a brilliant option that is super hydrating and offers a spritz of refreshment. It’s also small enough to take in your hand luggage – a win-win!


If you want to narrow down the serums you take away with you, prioritise a hydrating serum and an antioxidant serum containing vitamin C. Not only will the vitamin C serum help to give you a radiant, holiday glow, but when used in your morning routine alongside SPF, it'll boosts your skin protection too. 

A hydrating serum is perfect for your evening routine after a day in the sun, look for humectants such as hyaluronic acid, polyglutamic acid and glycerin on the label and pair with a hydrating mist for ultimate hydration.


The gold standard when it comes to skincare, retinoids (such as retinol) are a wonderful ingredient with many skin benefits. However, retinoids can cause peeling and general irritation - particularly when you are new to them - and some research shows that retinoids may increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun. For your holiday, you’ll want to ensure your skin is calm and comfortable before potentially exposing it to the sun for prolonged periods of time. Whilst you are away and for a week prior to jetting off, consider taking a break from using retinoids; you can then continue use once you’re back so long as your skin feels as it usually does (aka no sunburn!). However, if you are using retinoids (or tretinoin) to treat a skin condition such as acne, you may not want to interrupt your treatment programme. If in doubt, speak to your medical practitioner. 


You may believe that because you often end up oilier and sweatier whilst you are away, a moisturiser is unnecessary. In reality, it’s quite the opposite. Moisturisers help to prevent water loss from the skin and this is crucial as you are prone to dehydration when exposed to hot temperatures. If your usual cream feels heavy or sticky, opt for a formula with a lightweight and refreshing texture – such as a gel or gel-cream. Those with an oilier skin type may also benefit from an oil-free formula.


Last but certainly not least is the most important step of your holiday skincare routine: SPF. Please ensure you take a broad-spectrum SPF50 and apply this each morning before you leave your room. Remember to apply a teaspoon amount for the face and neck - plus a little extra for your ears - and reapply every 2 hours (or more frequently if you are going swimming). You may also want to pack some SPF mists/sticks for easy reapplication throughout the day. Mists can be extra handy as they’re also convenient for scalp application to prevent a burnt hairline. Be sure to shake any mists or sprays before use and remember that you need to really coat the skin (not just give it a light mist!) if you want to achieve the SPF level on the bottle.