If you are a skincare enthusiast, you may have probably heard about skin fasting.
Just like food fasting, Skin fasting is a fast-growing beauty trend where a person avoids every kind of skincare product like lotion, toner, and serum.
It has been popularised by Mirai Clinical, a Japanese beauty brand dedicated to sharing “unique beauty secrets from Japan which you have never seen or experienced”. The method builds on the ethos of “less is more” and the premise that fasting can often lead to a healing process.
The duration for skin fasting varies from one person to another because everyone has different skin types – oily, dry, or normal. It can be as simple as giving up your moisturizer for one night or as in-depth as abstaining from your entire routine for a few days.
On its own, your skin produces a natural oil called sebum, which works to counteract moisture loss. With too much artificial moisturizer, aka all those beauty products in your cabinet, you’re training your skin to stop producing its natural oils. Therefore, skin fasting is rooted in the idea that you must allow your skin to “breathe.”
How do you do it?
Skin fasting is basically ridding your skin of any and all kinds of product. This means no cleansers, toner, serums, moisturizers, or makeup for the duration of your skin fasting process. By eliminating these products for a period of time, your skin can heal and return to its natural state. Then, you can slowly re-introduce products to figure out what works best for your skin.
What are the benefits?
There are quite a number of benefits of skin fasting
1. In the process of skin fasting, you’re protecting yourself from dryness and external factors like UV rays, air pollution, and harsh temperatures, whereas excessive beauty products actually strip your skin of its ability to renew skin cells.
2. Weakened skin leads to wrinkles, dark spots, sagging, and aging, so eliminating skincare products for a period of time helps your skin begin making its own natural oils again, leaving your skin revitalized and vibrant.
3. Skin issues like acne, eczema, and other inflammation will clear up faster when your skin is free from additional substances.
4. If you’re using a new skincare product or combination of products and experiencing a negative reaction, you need to eliminate (or take a “skin fast” from) the product or products that you suspect might be the culprit. This process of elimination is necessary to determine what’s causing the problem, and then you can adjust your routine accordingly.
Are there side effects?
1. It may lead to dry or oily skin patches, but as your skin begins to neutralize, its natural maintenance system will kick in.
2. It is a particularly bad idea for acne-prone skin, as a break from your anti-acne products (a good cleanser, salicylic acid (BHA), and benzoyl peroxide) could result in an uptick in breakouts. A consistent anti-acne routine is imperative for keeping breakouts at bay.
A week may sound excessive, and it sort of is. Experts that support skin fasting say one night a week is all you need for your skin to breathe. And here is how to do it right:
- Gently cleanse the skin in the evening. Use a non-stripping cleanser. Avoid ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, alcohol, and fragrance. Rinse and pat the skin dry.
- Stop there. Do not use a toner or treatment. Do not apply any oil or serum. Just skip it all.
- Make sure your environment is not arid. If your room is too dry, skin fasting will not work correctly. I recommend using a humidifier—a diffuser on your bedside should do the trick.
- Cleanse with water. Since there isn’t any excess of product on your skin’s surface, cleansing with just H2O in the morning is best. This will prevent your natural oils from being stripped away.
- Drink plenty of water. No matter your skin type, there is a good chance your skin is dehydrated. So make sure you are keeping yourself replenished.
- Skin-fast once a week. You can go for twice a week if you really enjoy it, but if you skin-fast too often, it can actually cause harm—making it even drier. Stick to once a week, and you should be good.
Do remember though, if you struggle with a serious skin condition, skin fasting is probably not for you. If you are unsure, discuss it with your dermatologist before starting the process