After a long flight, you probably just want to get to your home or hotel and fall asleep as soon as possible.

But before you do, it would be a better idea to take a shower first.

Here are 4 reasons why you should always shower after your flight.

1. To Remove Travel-Related Contaminants

The inside of a plane may appear to be clean, but the reality is that a plane’s cabin is a microcosm of diverse contaminants, including:

  • Germs and Bacteria (especially on the armrests, tray tables, and in the restrooms)
  • Allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander
  • Pollutants from sources like engine exhaust, cleaning products, and even upholstery

If you shower after your flight, you will be able to cleanse away all the germs, allergens, and pollutants from your skin and hair.

Not only are these disgusting to have on your skin, especially the more you think about it, but by washing them away, you will reduce the chance of these invaders finding a favorable environment to multiply and cause infections.

2. To Replenish Your Skin Moisture

Airplane cabins are notoriously cold, dry environments that not only lead to dehydration inside your body but also on your skin.

an airplane cabin with the lights on

While very hot showers can dehydrate your skin further, warm to hot showers can help open up your pores, which then allows a moisturizer to penetrate more deeply and replenish your skin’s moisture levels.

3. To Feel Refreshed and Revitalized

After all those hours spent in the controlled environment of an airplane cabin, stepping into a nice warm shower can provide an immediate sense of renewal and revitalization.

The warm water from the shower can also help ease muscle tension that might have built up during the flight, and help recharge your energy levels.

4. To Promote Blood Circulation

Sitting for extended periods is inevitable when you fly, which can impede the natural flow of blood in your body, particularly in the legs.

Not only can this lead to discomfort, but much more seriously, a blood clot too.

Thankfully, the warm water from a shower causes blood vessels to dilate, which in turn enhances blood flow throughout your body, which helps prevent the blood inside your body from pooling.

A post-flight shower can therefore play a pivotal role in promoting blood circulation and reducing the risk of blood clots.

Best Practices for Post-Flight Showering

  1. Choose Gentle Cleansers: Opt for mild, sulfate-free cleansers because they effectively remove impurities without stripping your skin of its natural oils.
  2. Use Warm Water: While a hot shower might be tempting, it’s best to opt for warm water to avoid stripping your skin of essential oils and exacerbating any dryness caused by the flight.
  3. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize: Apply a hydrating moisturizer while your skin is still damp from the shower to help lock in moisture.
  4. Pay Attention to Sensitive Areas: Pay extra attention to sensitive areas that might have been affected by prolonged sitting, such as your feet, ankles, and hands.
  5. Don’t Forget About Hair: Opt for a hydrating shampoo and conditioner to restore moisture to your locks. Also consider using a deep conditioning treatment to provide extra nourishment.
  6. Take Your Time: Your post-flight shower shouldn’t just be about cleansing. Take your time to enjoy the experience after your long flight.

What About Short-Haul Flights?

According to Bruce Green, who is a scientist and founder of SOS Serum Skincare, “If you’ve got off a short haul, you may not have to worry about it, as you’ll have the same exposure as you might in an office building.”

What About Taking a Bath Instead?

You can decide to have a nice relaxing bath instead of a shower.

A bath would be more beneficial if you are looking for more muscle relaxation and recovery, stress relief, and a mindful escape, especially if you use aromatherapy.

woman holding bubbles from a bubble bath

If you arrive later at night, a warm bath can also help you fall asleep more easily.

The Hot Water vs. Cold Water Debate

Not many people enjoy a cold shower, but a cold shower could be a better idea to leave you feeling refreshed and can help you get over jet lag.

A cold shower could especially be beneficial if you land early and need to stay awake for the rest of the day.

Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.

Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.

Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).