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ESC, How to Deal Desert Skin

Whether heading to Indio or Abu Dhabi, there are a few desert essentials one must bring, which even the most experienced travelers tend to overlook. Think beyond flowing dresses, gladiator sandals and a collection of funky sunglasses and reconsider the old standby toiletries bag. Because according to celebrity dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross, the skin-care items you pack can mean the difference between radiant, healthy skin and breakout city. 

If not accustomed, our skin can really freak out in desert locales. "In dry climates, there is less moisture for your skin to absorb," explained Dr. Gross, who treats style stars like Olivia Palermo and a private roster of celebrity clients. "Your skin can become dry and rough faster than it would in a more humid climate."

What's more, heat and sun exposure can increase the skin's oil production, causing clogged pores and breakouts. Not exactly the look we're going for in our #vacay and #coachella insta-moments. Thankfully, Dr. Gross is giving us the Rx for how to take care of skin so it stays bright and clear while in the desert and after we return.

ESC, How to Deal Desert Skin

Try oil-minimizing cleansers and moisturizers: While in the desert, basic skin-care steps should stay the same, Gross advised. However, we should pack different products to compensate for the sun's rays and dry air.

That means swapping out creamy cleansers for those with salicylic acid and/or glycolic acid, like M-61 Power Cleanse, which can rid the skin of excess oil, and using oil-free moisturizers like Ambi Even & Clear Daily Moisturizer. Since pores clog more readily in sweaty conditions, exfoliating dead skin cells is also a great way to prevent zits from surfacing. Dr. Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads, which Molly Sims uses, contain both acids and are packaged in travel-friendly towelettes.

Pack water: "I have patients who return from travel with blemishes, rosacea, excessive shine or irritation that they didn't have before," Gross said. "This may be due to tap water in their hotels containing different minerals from the water that comes of the faucets in their homes. If skin is not accustomed to certain minerals, they may cause adverse reactions."

The fix? Pack a TSA-friendly spray bottle of water to use when washing your face away from home.

Cleanse skin with tepid water: Using hot water to wash your face can strip the skin of essential oils and cause drying, Gross explained.

Turn the bathroom into a spa: "When showering, it's always wise to close the bathroom door and let the steam build up in the room," Gross said. "It is better for the skin once you exit the stall."

Cover up: Music-festival dressing and warm weather beg for skin-revealing clothes. But Gross recommended covering up and applying SPF, like Supergoop Skin Soothing Mineral Sunscreen, which is designed for sensitive skin types. "Be sure to take proper sun safety measures, such as wearing sunscreen (and reapplying often), a hat, sunglasses," he said. "Trying to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun—especially between the hours of 12 and 2 PM."

Sound advice no matter what your locale. Luminous travels!

Dr. Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads $35; M-61 Power Cleanse  ; Ambi Even & Clear Daily Moisturizer Supergoop Skin Soothing Mineral Sunscreen, $28