For more than 15 years, commercial airline pilot Joi Schweitzer achieved his childhood dream of flying in the sky. Schweitzer, who first worked as a flight attendant before getting her pilot’s license, sees herself as a role model for young black women who have the same dream for themselves.
“I had never really seen anyone like me in this industry, and I knew becoming a pilot was going to be a pioneering step,” says Schweitzer, who currently flies for American Airlines (and whom you may have recognized in reality tv contest The mole). “Representation matters, and it’s important for little girls of color to see someone like me in an elite, male-dominated field. If I can do it, so can they.
Since the beginning of his career, Schweitzer has experienced the many – and sometimes, literal– the ups and downs of a pilot’s life. Amid long layovers, surprise delays, and unpredictable weather changes, Schweitzer learned to alter his health habits to circumvent the exhausting lifestyle that comes with work.
One of those hacks? Overlay with lots of FPS Before boarding.
Here’s why you should wear sunscreen on a plane
The higher the altitude, the closer we are to the sun. When you’re on an airplane, your exposure to the sun’s harmful rays increases, opening up your skin to possible UV damage.
For flight crew members, this repeated exposure to the sun makes them twice as likely to develop melanoma than the rest of the population. A shocking study found that pilots flying for 56.6 minutes at maximum altitude are exposed to the same amount of carcinogenic UV-A radiation exposure as a 20-minute tanning session (yeesh!).
“Pilots are always exposed to the sun’s harmful rays,” says Schweitzer. “We have very large windows in our cockpit, and that makes our skin more susceptible to skin cancer. I like to wear sun visor with me I will carry efficient sunglassesand of course, my skincare routine is major.
To combat harmful sun exposure and keep her skin hydrated, Schweitzer stacks her daily routine with lots of SPF. And with travel season officially here, we could all learn a few skincare tips from someone who flies almost daily.
SPF favorites that a pilot uses before each flight
Before takeoff, Schweitzer makes sure to apply sunscreen for the face with at least SPF 30, which is the bare minimum recommended by dermatologists for daily use.
“I love Neutrogena SPF 45 and wear it every day,” she says. “It’s rich and it goes on evenly without leaving a film.”
On those rare days when her skin needs a little extra love, Schweitzer says she’ll use either Exuviance’s Age Reverse Day Repair SPF 30 ($82) or Shiseido SPF 42 sunscreen ($38). Exuviance sunscreen is loaded with anti-aging ingredients, like retinol and neoglucosamine, while Shiseido brightens skin with an extra dose of vitamin C.
“Both of these products apply perfectly and smoothly, and they look great under my makeup.”
Even for more skin protection, Schweitzer says she’ll top her makeup with an SPF-infused setting powder like the bareMinerals SPF 25 Mineral Veil Setting Powder ($33). This loose powder goes on seamless and adds an extra layer of UV protection for daytime flights.
Because sunscreen should be reapplied every two hoursSchweitzer makes sure to top up with a product that won’t mess up her makeup.
“For long flights, I’ll use an SPF 50, and every few hours I’ll use Supergoop’s Setting Mist,” she says. This ultra-fine setting spray incorporates SPF 40 UV protection in every spray.
How a pilot takes care of his skin after a flight
Frequent travelers know how exhausting and dehydrating long flights can be. After washing her face at the end of the day, Schweitzer likes to use a hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid, specifically StriVectin Advanced Acid Serum ($79). This glowing serum plumps and hydrates tired skin, while smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Finally, Schweitzer treats her skin with a restorative night cream. Right now she loves Neutrogena Bright Boost Night Recovery Gel-Cream ($22), an energizing formula rich in retinol, vitamin C, and neoglucosamine.
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