“If you think a seasonal change or higher altitudes are rough for your skin, just imagine what freakin’ space travel can do to your complexion. According to recent studies, living amidst microgravity can cause premature aging, as in increased thinning of the skin, changes in elasticity, and hindering cell regeneration. While obviously these symptoms are minor when you consider that these astronauts are living their interplanetary dreams, they’re helping advance skincare technology for us down on earth—and it goes far beyond just slapping “antigravity” on the label. Here are four ways you can take a more NASA-minded approach to your own skincare routine.
Measure your hydration
Ask an astronaut about their skin in space and the first thing they’ll tell you is how dry it becomes. In fact, skin cells can actually “molt,” floating around in thin air. (Yes, like a bug.) Needless to say, moisturizing at least twice a day is essential. And while us earthlings aren’t living with microgravity conditions, why not take advantage of outer-space-worthy tech?
Fight environmental aggressors that cause skin stress
In addition to dryness, NASA reports that skin also falls victim to increased sensitivity to its environment.
Don’t skip the serums
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, what serums lack in weight, they make up for in potent, skin-enriching power—particularly in outer space.
Visitors to the International Space Station (ISS) know that life in a microgravity environment ain’t no cup of tea (cups are ineffective, hot liquid would go everywhere). Extensive measures are taken to study, protect and improve living for astronauts carrying out their missions, particularly long-term missions like that of American astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent 340 consecutive days at ISS. In that environment, even skin care becomes important.
A 2016 NASA program called “SkinCare” was initiated to examine the changes in skin before, during and after spaceflight. With the determination that “long-duration missions in microgravity affect skin by causing excessive dryness, increased cell loss and increased aging,” the challenge focused on measures that could assist in slowing and even reversing these changes. The tests used a skin emulsion (thin lotion) and found that treatment with it “over the course of the mission led to an improvement in the hydration of the outermost layer as well as in the barrier function (moisture retention) of the epidermis.” Translation: astronauts moisturize.