'Skin Fasting' - What is it and should you be doing it?

by Carly Hibbins

'Skin Fasting' - What is it and should you be doing it?

Over the coming weeks we're going to be bringing you our Beauty Device School series, which will be full of expert advice, myth-busting, how-to guides and all the inside tips and tricks on beauty devices and skincare. You can get involved by following our social media channels where we'll be posting lots of content for you to interact with, plus you'll be able to read up on our expert knowledge here on the blog too.

In the first part of our Beauty Device School series, we're demystifying the latest skincare trend - Skin Fasting. It's the new term that all the Beauty Editors for the likes of Vogue, Allure and ELLE are talking about. It means minimising the products you use on your skin, or cutting them out completely to allow your skin to 'reset'.

Maybe recently you've fallen into the habit of neglecting your skincare routine, or you've discovered this latest trend and decided to give it a try. But now's the time to switch up your skincare routine, as we explore whether the concept of taking a complete break from your beauty regimen can actually be beneficial for your complexion.

What is ‘Skin Fasting’?

Skin fasting is the practice of reducing the amount of products and treatments you use on your face for a period of time. This might be as simple as removing your daily moisturiser from your routine, or dialling down on your entire skincare regimen. The idea is to fast the skin of treatments and ingredients and allow the skin to rest and ‘reset’. By allowing your skin to repair and rejuvenate on its own, some claim that the skin is able to moisturise and even exfoliate itself.


Does it actually work?

There are a lot of conflicting views on the matter, with many claiming to have gained unbelievable results from skin fasting, whilst others had more breakouts than ever and would categorically not recommend it.

Ditching cleansing and exfoliating from your routine can cause a buildup of excess sebum, dirt, and dead skin cells that can clog pores and cause breakouts.

Many experts in the field advise against skin fasting, but agree that you could conduct a skin ‘diet’ rather than a ‘fast’, this can help you to re-evaluate the steps in your skincare routine. This could be beneficial if you are overloading your skin with a lot of products or ingredients, so many so that you’re not sure which ones are actually benefiting your skin.

Dr Bowe a board certified dermatologist spoke to ELLE, “I think going full fast is not necessary”, adding “I do advocate streamlining your skincare to only products you need, and using products that complement one another, rather than overlap in their function”.

Although if you do decide to cut out some of your skincare products it’s still important to cleanse and exfoliate, and above all else, use SPF to avoid skin damage. Ditching cleansing and exfoliating from your routine can cause a buildup of excess sebum, dirt, and dead skin cells that can clog pores and cause breakouts.

If you’ve built up a skincare regimen that’s working for you, it’s not worth resetting that routine to cause potential imbalance and have to re-acclimatise your skin all over again.

Dr Anjali Mahto, a consultant dermatologist speaking to Vogue said “Cleansing is an important part of one’s skincare routine and removing sweat, dirt, bacteria, grime and pollution from the skin’s surface is useful for personal hygiene as well as prevention of premature skin ageing.”

She also adds that “depending on an individual’s skin type, lack of sunscreen may worsen pigmentation and lack of exfoliation can result in the build-up of dead skin cells.

Also if you’re using ingredients like Retinol, or you’re halfway through a course of facial treatments, you should carry on with these as your skin will have already gone through an acclimatising process. Our skin needs to have repetitive exposure to these types of treatments and so participating in a skin fast means you’d have to restart the whole process.


So should you do a Skin Fast?

Firstly, we can’t comment on whether a skin fast would be good or bad for your skin personally. This is completely down to your individual skin condition and many other contributing factors. However, there is no scientific evidence that conducting a skin fast is better for your skin than not doing one. Plus if you’ve built up a skincare regimen that’s working for you, it’s not worth resetting that routine to cause potential imbalance and have to re-acclimatise your skin all over again.

Using SPF on your face even when indoors is a necessity, UV rays can still cause damage to the skin through windows

If you feel you are overloading your skin with products and you’re no longer sure which is working, you can take a step back from your skincare routine to re-evaluate it. We would follow the guidelines of dermatologist Dr Bowe and perform a skin ‘diet’, eliminating one or two products gradually and then reintroducing them if you need to at a later date.

We would strongly advise you carry on using sunscreen above all else. Using SPF on your face even when indoors is a necessity, UV rays can still cause damage to the skin through windows. To prevent pigmentation and skin damage we recommend using an SPF 50.

Stopping any recommended course of treatment can inhibit the results and your skin will ‘reset’, meaning you may need to restart treatments from the beginning.

Keeping up with your treatments is also really important, if your skin is acclimatising to a certain facial treatment, you should try to keep these up where possible. In most cases, you will only see the long term results of these treatments if you keep up with the recommended treatment plan. Stopping any recommended course of treatment can inhibit the results and your skin will ‘reset’, meaning you may need to restart treatments from the beginning.

The most important routines to keep in your beauty regimen are cleansing and exfoliating. If you are conducting a skin fast, you may feel cleansing and exfoliating have become redundant, as you no longer need to wash product off your face at the end of the day. However, cleansing and exfoliating help to remove dirt and oil caused by environmental aggressors. These block pores and cause outbreaks, so it's essential to rid your skin of these to keep a clear, glowing complexion.

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