The ever-increasing number of skincare products might seem to be a dream for skincare enthusiasts. However, the biggest challenge is ensuring the products you apply to your skin suit your specific skin and its needs. A wrong formula may cause more harm to the skin than any good. That being said, have you ever considered the possibility that your skin might need a break from your skincare products from time to time to look and feel its best?
Well, you might have heard of the latest trend in the beauty world called “skin fasting,” which emphasizes reducing or stopping skincare products for a short time to let your skin reset. If you’re not familiar with what skin fasting is, how it works, its pros and cons, and who should or shouldn’t try it, keep on reading!
What is Skin Fasting?
Skin fasting is basically a process in which the amount of skincare products or ingredients applied to the skin is reduced for a specific period to improve the skin’s functioning and appearance. The method may vary from person to person, depending on their preferences and skin type. Simple skin fasting may encompass removing just one product or ingredient, like a moisturizer or niacinamide, or it may be more intense and includes cutting back on all your skincare products. Skin fasting allows the skin to rest and reset.
How Does Skin Fasting Work?
As the name suggests, skin fasting embraces the idea of taking a break from your regular skincare routine. The practice involves not applying skincare products to your skin for some time.
You might be familiar with how fasting works on your body and helps to flush out toxins from the body during long intervals between your regular meal patterns. Skin fasting also works similarly to detoxify the skin by not using any skincare products. It’s also believed that fasting the skin can allow it to repair and restore on its own. Furthermore, the skin is thought to moisturize through its natural sebum production and exfoliate naturally.
Pros and Cons of Skin Fasting
Now that you know about skin fasting, you might be wondering what benefits or side effects accompany it. Here’s a list of some pros and cons of skin fasting to help you figure out if you should or shouldn’t be trying this new trend!
Pros of Skin Fasting
Below are some changes that occur in your skin when you’re skin fasting and how these changes help to improve the skin:
- Helps You Understand Your Skin - Since skin fasting lets your skin work at its own pace to maintain its balance, it can yield a better understanding of your skin type. The skin’s natural oil production is regulated during skin fasting, helping to make adjustments to your skincare routine according to your skin type.
- Improves the Skin’s Recovery - If your skin is prone to get aggravated after applying certain skincare products or ingredients aimed at repairing and renewing the skin, skin fasting can be helpful in this situation. If your skin gets dry or inflamed due to acne-fighting products, fasting can help you through the process.
- Shows the Skin’s Reaction - Skin fasting can help better comprehend how your skin responds to various skincare products, especially if you apply plenty of skincare products as a part of your regular skincare routine. It can help you see how each product affects your skin, removing your uncertainties about specific products.
- Clarifies Your Skincare Routine - No matter how many skincare products you apply, if they are not suitable for your skin, you may not achieve your desired results. To attain your skin goals and a healthy complexion, it’s crucial to know if your current skincare routine is working or not. It can save you plenty of time, money, and effort.
- Boosts Your Skin - Some skincare formulations may strip your skin of its natural oils, leaving it dry and dull. It also reduces the skin’s ability to regenerate damaged skin cells to restore its glow. Fasting the skin can increase the skin’s healing ability and allow the skin’s natural oil to add radiance to the skin.
Cons of Skin Fasting
The fact that skin fasting comes with various benefits for the skin doesn’t rule out the possibility of some drawbacks. Here's how it may affect your skin adversely:
- Your Skin Gets Fewer Nutrients - Think of skin fasting like regular fasting when you don’t feed your body for a certain period, reducing the nourishment your body receives. When you stop applying your skincare products formulated to nourish, repair, protect, and hydrate the skin, you are depriving it of its daily supply of nutrients.
- Increased Chances of Sun Damage - Other than sunscreen, other skincare products, such as face serums and day creams, also help fight UV damage. When you stop using those products, you put your skin at a higher risk of sunspots, wrinkles, age spots, fine lines, inflammation, and other skin issues caused by oxidative stressors.¹
- Damaged Skin Barrier - Another adverse effect of not applying your skincare products that hydrate and moisturize the skin, especially moisturizer and face serum, is damage to the skin’s protective barrier. A compromised barrier can lead to dryness, irritation, signs of aging, and discoloration.
How to Skin Fast
It’s essential to follow the process of skin fasting accurately to reap the optimal benefit of the technique. Here’s the right approach to skin fasting:
- The first step to skin fasting is ensuring your face is thoroughly cleansed. Use a face wash or cleanser that suits your skin to eliminate all the impurities on the skin. Skipping this step can cause skin problems, particularly for oily and acne-prone skin.
- You can cut out all your products at once or start taking one step back daily. Initially, use a cleanser and a hydrator or moisturizer in the morning and at night. You can remove other products one at a time, once or twice a week.
- Gradually, stop applying any skincare product at night to allow your skin to breathe and heal properly throughout the night. Wash your face with lukewarm water the following morning to avoid removing all the natural oil from the skin.
- If you don’t experience any side effects, like irritation, dryness, and itching, after fasting the skin for one night, continue for a few more days. If your skin is dry, keep applying a moisturizer to avoid dryness and hypersensitivity.² For oily skin, cutting down on moisturizer may not cause any problem.
Who Should and Shouldn’t Do Skin Fasting?
It might be appealing to try this new skincare trend and see how your skin reacts to this huge change, especially if you have been applying many skincare products daily. However, it’s important to know about the potential risks of this beauty trend.
We all have different skin types. Therefore, how our skin responds to skin fasting is highly subjective and may vary from person to person. If you suspect that your skincare routine isn’t doing much for your skin type or is causing harm, skin fasting can help reset the skin.
If you have dry skin, fasting might cause adverse effects, such as excessive dryness, flaking, and redness. Dry and inflamed skin becomes more susceptible to bacterial invasion, leading to infection. It can also signal the skin to stimulate a higher production of sebum and may lead to acne breakouts.³
Similarly, if you have sensitive skin, skin fasting may aggravate it and cause inflammation. Skin fasting can also be troubling for those using acne treatments for their acne-prone skin. Stopping your acne treatment can result in clogged pores and bacterial growth, leading to more acne breakouts.
So, be careful and watch out for warning signs when you start skin fasting. For example, ditch the idea if your skin doesn’t respond well to removing skincare products from your routine. Also, when cutting back on your skincare products, it’s still essential to keep the skin protected from the sun. Hence, no matter what, don’t remove sunscreen from your daily skincare routine during skin fasting.
With all the craze about advanced and unlimited skincare products available on the market, many advocate giving the skin a little break to allow it to breathe. The main idea is to make the skin less dependent on skincare products and take care of itself independently.
In skin fasting, the amount of skincare products or ingredients applied to the skin is reduced to enhance the skin’s natural functioning and allow it to breathe. The skin fasting beauty trend may involve either eliminating one skincare product or ingredient or dialing down your whole skincare routine. We hope this article will help you decide whether skin fasting is right for your skin.
- Santos-Longhurst, Adrienne. (2018). ‘Are Sunspots on the Skin Cancerous? Comparing Different Types of Skin Lesions’, Healthline, Accessed June 13, 2022. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/sunspots-on-skin
- Gardner, Stephanie S., MD. (2020). ’20 Common Questions About Sensitive Skin’, WebMD, Accessed June 13, 2022. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/beauty/sensitive-skin-20-questions
- Cleveland Clinic. (2020). ‘Acne’, ClevelandClinic.org, Accessed June 14, 2022. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12233-acne