Skincare trends come and go. Every day we wake up to the internet telling us about a new skincare must-try, each one more questionable than the last.
That’s why among the latest skincare hypes that have taken over social media, skin fasting truly piqued our interest. Unlike other trends, skin fasting asks you to do the opposite of adding new things to your routine. It asks you to stop your routine altogether.
Intrigued? Here’s everything you will want to know about skin fasting and whether you should give it a try.
Skin fasting: What is it?
Extreme as it may sound, skin fasting, at its root, is just the skincare version of the “less is more” approach. Think Marie Kondo, but rather than decluttering your house, she’s specifically looking at your vanity table and the many products you have accumulated.
The concept was popularised by Japanese beauty company Mirai Clinical who, in a blog post, encouraged people to “give the skin a break”. They suggested skipping skincare once a week to let the skin produce its natural oil without relying on moisturisers.
Since then, the concept has been adopted by beauty enthusiasts all over the world and interpreted in many different ways. Some pare down their elaborate routine to the bare minimum, while others take it to an extreme and give up everything, including cleanser, for up to a month.
Skin fasting: what are the benefits?
According to the original blog post, fasting could help the skin heal itself from external damages and reduce its dependence on skincare products. When we use too many products, our skin isn’t able to take care of itself as our skincare products have already taken over its job. That’s why going without skincare products for a certain period of time would serve as a reset button and allow the skin to restore its natural functions.
So far, there has been no credible scientific evidence to support the claims on the above benefits of skin fasting. However, there are certain cases where skin “fasting”, or simply removing all or most products from your routine, would prove beneficial.
If you suddenly suffer from skin irritation, acne or an allergic reaction, pausing your skincare routine before slowing adding back products one by one might help identify the culprit more effectively.
A fast would also be a good opportunity for you to review the products in your routine. Start by removing one product at a time for at least one week. If your skin doesn’t look or feel anything different, chances are you don’t really need that product. This process will help pare down your routine, saving you both time and money!
Skin fasting: does it harm your skin?
The potential damage of skin fasting will depend on what products you leave out of your routine.
If you still wear makeup but don’t use cleansers, the residue from the makeup may cause clogged pores and irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin. And skipping SPF will expose your skin to lasting sun damage such as dark spots and wrinkles.
Skin fasting: Should you try it?
At the end of the day, not everyone needs a 10-step skincare routine. If the idea of having a simple but effective routine sounds appealing to you, having a skin fast to cut out unnecessary products might do you good.
However, if you are dealing with skin issues that require topical treatment such as acne, leaving out these products might worsen your condition. So do consult your dermatologist before attempting skin fasting.
Skin fasting: How should you do it?
Still want to give skin fasting a try? The beauty of this skin trend is that it’s completely up to you how you would like to “fast”.
Having too many similar products in the same category? Cut out all of them for a week. Then introduce them back one by one, giving each one a week to see what difference it makes to your skin.
Suspecting that you might be over-exfoliating your skin? Stop using exfoliants until you don’t notice tightness, redness or inflammation on your skin any more. When you start exfoliating again, reduce the frequency to at most once a week to let you skin adapt.
Whatever fasting method you use, make sure to stay hydrated and wash your face thoroughly with water. Most importantly, you should never, ever, skip sun protection.