Skin fasting: The beauty trend that goes against everything you’ve been taught

If you’re a beauty junkie, most probably your feeds and timelines are constantly bombarded with new products and treatments so enticing, you immediately jump into the chance of trying them. This is especially true to those with problematic skin, whose search for that “ultimate skin secret” feels a lot more like a lifetime treasure hunt. If you’re one of them, and you find that none of these really work, listen. You might want to try this trend called “skin fasting.”

Simply put, it’s the act of detoxing by taking a timeout from any kind of skincare products, a methodology which draws from the ancient belief that traditional fasting can be used as a healing mechanism. Though it’s been around for a while, it’s been gaining traction recently thanks in part to Japan-based skincare company Mirai Clinical. The clinic’s founder, Koko Hayashi said, “Japanese have studied the skin’s regeneration on a monthly basis and have proved that ‘skin fasting’ will improve your skin’s condition and detoxify skin impurities.”

Though it’s still a subject of debate for many, some scientific facts do support it. One is that the skin is actually a “breathing” organ. Naturally, certain kinds of materials present in the formula of products may impede the skin’s ability to “breathe.” It is also widely known that skin produces an oily substance called sebum, which mainly protects the skin from losing moisture. Additionally, according to Skin Type Solutions, “it contains a lot of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects the skin from aging as well as cancer.” Dr Terry, an integrative skin doctor, told Anything Goes Lifestyle: “Skin fasting gives the skin a chance to reset and encourage it’s own healing and hydrating ability. When we use cosmetics/make up constantly, the skin becomes lazy and loses this natural ability. We should be encouraging our skin to work by itself from time to time.”

This makes so much sense to me. Honestly, my mom gave me the same advice—”let your skin breathe”—years ago. And even though I was skeptical at first, I have found that refraining from exhaustive beauty routines did do wonders for my skin. And yes, there are days I tried laying off of any type of beauty product. So I guess I’m among the few who were in on the trend before it blew up, so it’s not that revolutionary to me. But for those who deem themselves dependent on products, the method may be intimidating, and the effect may obviously be different.

Beauty junkies may experience something similar to Man Repeller writer Rachel Siemens, who tried skin fasting for a week. She shared she had trouble on the first few days (“I just felt gross—tired and lacking polish”), and her greatest concern was her uber dry lips, which was painful. But a moment of epiphany, thanks to her brother, led to a big realization: “I was unwittingly using skincare to mask dehydration. Having to sit in my parched skin for a few days was a wake-up call,” she said. She then doubled up on the hydration, and by the end of the week, she said that her skin was looking great.

What Rachel did was of course done for the sake of experimentation, which you are also free to try. But if you’re not comfortable with going completely cold turkey, then maybe you could take it slowly. Instead of laying off all products for instance, maybe just start by nitpicking the ones that you think you can do without. Just like Kelsey Merritt, who revealed in a Harper’s Bazaar video that she stopped using cleanser because “In my experience, I would always break out when I would use a cleanser. And there was this one time when I got lazy and I stopped using cleanser, and my skin got clearer,” she said. Also, instead of fasting for seven days, maybe you could try it only once or twice a week. For me for example, though I have tried skin fasting, I found that I can’t go two days straight without putting on moisturizer at least.

Though there are many products and trends being promoted, I say just try not to forget that we all have different skin types. Ultimately, I think it’s important we listen to our body and let that dictate what we need.

Skin fasting: The beauty trend that goes against everything you’ve been taught

Back to blog