What is Skin Fasting & Why Should You Try It?
We have all heard of food fasting; some of us do it for health reasons, others for religious ones. All in all, fasting is beneficial for controlling your blood sugar, heart health, weight loss, and some experts say it can even aid in cancer prevention. But, what is the deal with skin fasting?
Well, it is not all that different. Food fasting is not feeding yourself and skin fasting is not feeding your skin. It may sound strange right off the bat, but stick with me here. Taking a break from all the serums, lotions, toners, and treatments can reboot your skin in a way. Remember the whole no-poo movement, in which you don’t wash your hair so that your scalp can care for itself and your natural oils can balance themselves? Well, this is the same idea and it is as easy as breaking from your routine one night a week.
That may sound amazing to those who struggle to stick to their skincare routines. You do still need to wash your face and make sure it is free of any makeup remanence, but you forego the moisturizer. On the other hand, for those that are addicted to their elaborate routines and adore the feeling of drenching the skin with hyaluronic acid and antioxidants, it can be daunting to go to bed without that goodness, even just once. This is especially true for those of us beauty junkies who have an obsession with also the extra products like masks, peels, and exfoliators. But it is just for one night, so if you really hate it that badly, you can go right back to your comfort zone in as little as 24 hours.
So what are the benefits of taking a break from skincare? It is actually quite common for skin issues like acne, eczema, and other inflammation to clear up faster when your skin is free from additional substances. This does not mean that all the skincare you have invested in is pointless, it just means that giving your skin a breath of fresh air every so often boosts its natural protective barriers.
As you may know, over cleansing or even piling up on too many ingredients can throw your skin out of whack. It can dry it out, cause it to produce excess oils and cause plenty of other less than healthy results. And with this, things like age spots and wrinkles become more prominent than we would like.
It sounds a bit bizarre, doesn’t it? We take so much time researching the best skincare products, but an overuse of them can actually make your skin lazy in a way. Constantly loading on the serums and such can stop your skin from regenerating its natural oils and halt its recovery process. This can cause your skin to become dependent on outside help.
Many dieticians recommend cutting sugar out of your diet for just 5 days to halt your addiction to it. Once the five days are over, your body no longer craves the sugar. Skin fasting is similar in that breaking from your routine can remind your skin to work naturally without the help of outside products. It also helps those products to be more effective when you are using them. Another diet analogy is caffeine. I drink coffee every day. That one cup in the morning is necessary if I want to function as a normal human being. If I were to take a break, I would get a serious headache until my body would get used to it, but then, that one cup would impact me much more. Your skin is just another organ, so it reacts similarly, and needs a good detox every once in a while.
I have read multiple articles where the writers did a skin fasting experiment. They would go a full week with minimal products. In almost every case, this person dealt with a few days of horror through the detoxing process, whether that be insane oiliness or painful dryness. Their skin was craving the skincare they were used to. But about halfway through the experiment, most testers started appreciating the overall appearance of their skin and its type, it felt like getting to know yourself in a new way.
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.
Are you too stuck in your skincare routine, or will you try out skin fasting? What do you have to lose anyway?
Cover photo via Health