Skin fasting is a trend we’ve seen recently which originally came from Japan and involves completely taking a break from skincare products. It is thought that by not using any products, you allow your skin to breathe and reset itself so it can function naturally; improving its condition and detoxifying. As the skin produces sebum (which helps prevent the loss of moisture), the idea is that without products the skin will neutralise and strengthen its natural protective barrier.
THE (POTENTIAL) BENEFITS OF SKIN FASTING
Sometimes we aren’t able to see or feel the negative effects of the products we are using until we stop using them, or we ignore these and continue with our routines convinced our products will rectify any concerns. So by skin fasting, you might find that you are in fact using the wrong products for your skin type – these might be too harsh, too drying, or are unbalancing the skin microbiome.
It can also encourage you to consider the ingredients and properties of these products, how often you are using them and how many products you are using. For example, over-cleansing or over-exfoliating can strip the skin of its natural oils and nutrients, weakening the skin’s barrier, making it more vulnerable to sun damage, free radicals and loss of moisture. Having an excessive routine can also lead to product build-up which clogs the pores leading to excess sebum production and ultimately, breakouts.
Skin fasting can show you which products and which habits your skin actually benefits from so it is quite easy to stop using those products which have no benefit and reduce the frequency of use. Something that can also be achieved by minimising rather than completely avoiding all of the products you use…
THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF SKIN FASTING
Skin needs protection from environmental pollution; it needs any dirt/product on it to be cleansed off thoroughly, and if you end up just using water for a few days then you may end up with other issues. Using water alone can lead to a build-up of excess dead cells which will cause your skin to become dry, flaky and dehydrated, clog pores and result in a dull complexion with breakouts.
There are several other factors (such as temperature, sun damage, skin disorders, menstruation, menopause, age) that can cause our skin to become dry and dehydrated. It is then that it needs more than the skin’s natural oils to hydrate, nourish and replenish to help it feel soft and supple. By avoiding all products, the skin isn’t provided with the additional aid it needs to be happy and healthy.
A reminder of what products can do for our skin when you find the right ones for you and they are used correctly:
- Cleansers remove impurities, break down makeup and re-balance the skin
- Exfoliators buff away dead skin cells allowing other products to penetrate the skin
- Masks target 1-2 skin concerns at a time
- Toners tighten pores after cleansing to protect the skin
- Eye creams/oils calm, hydrate and boost collagen
- Serums deliver active ingredients to strengthen from within
- Face oils nourish and support skin regeneration
- Moisturisers treat the skin when it’s dry
- SPF protects from UV damage
We’ve linked to a few of our previous posts throughout this piece which explain how our skin works as an organ, the importance of the functions listed above and more on the role our products play in supporting them. We definitely recommend having a read before trialling skin fasting.
OUR THOUGHTS ON SKIN FASTING
We’ve shown there are arguments for and against skin fasting and whether it is good for our skin. There is no confirmed scientific proof either way so it is down to personal choice as to whether to give it a go. However, we would say don’t undertake skin fasting if you are receiving treatment for a skin condition.
It’s important to remember that skin has natural processes it will do regardless of whether you are using a particular product or not. All you can do is support its natural function, keep an eye on its health, eat a varied diet rich in fruits and vegetables for natural antioxidant powers, take care in the sun by using an SPF which protects from UVB rays (which are responsible for sunburn, skin cancer and premature ageing of the skin) and dangerous UVA rays (which penetrate deeper into the layers of the skin), and have a regular consistent routine. Exercise also benefits the skin as blood flow is increased, carrying oxygen and nutrients to skin cells.
We believe that you should not do anything as drastic as a skin fast. Skin fasting won’t make too much difference if, like us, your skincare routine only includes products you really need. Overstimulating skin with actives can be an issue for sensitive skin and we are firm believers that a simple skincare routine can be enough. Not expecting overnight results is also a more realistic approach to having healthy skin long term.
You might also like: The Minimal Skincare Routine You Can Get Away With
IS SKIN FASTING A TREND YOU HAVE TRIED OR WOULD TRY?
We’d love for you to tell us in a comment below!