Heard of skin fasting?


Skin fasting is a Japanese beauty hack that has become increasingly popular on social media. It encourages you to avoid applying any skin products for one or two days, allowing your skin to detox and breathe. It’s believed that overuse of skin products has led to a condition where there are not enough natural oils on your skin. As a result, this leads to drier skin. Beauty experts weigh in on the pros and cons of this new beauty hack.

How it all began…

The original idea of skin fasting was to skip the night moisturiser for one or two weeks and go off make-up at least once a week. The reason being, this would help to normalise the secretion of the natural oil on the skin, which has been weakened and or suppressed by excessive moisturising. As far as dry skin goes, it was recommended to apply more night moisturiser, and to apply less night moisturiser for oily skin. However, this idea has now been taken to another extreme, with more people completely going off any skin products for one, two or three days. Dermatologist Dr Batul Patel says, “There seems to be some misinformation on the exact definition of ‘skin fasting’, where people have claimed complete abstinence from skin care products, which is not what the original idea was about. Complete discontinuation of skin care products even for a couple of days can lead to multiple concerns like sun damage, sunburn, dry skin, intolerant skin, acne, etc.”

She goes on to add that for healthy skin, a good skin care routine, as per your skin type, needs to be followed. It should consist of a cleanser, sunscreen, day cream and night cream. The night cream is crucial as it helps repair damage done during the day. This is specially prescribed by a dermatologist based on the individual’s skin concerns and is not necessarily a moisturiser.

Why is this extreme version of skin fasting not ideal?

Like our body, our skin, too, needs daily nutrients and repair, and starving it by going off all skin products is like going on an extreme diet where you survive only on water. Dr Batul shares, “For example, skipping a sunscreen could lead to sunburn or sun sensitivity rash. Skipping a night anti-oxidant cream would prevent the skin from quick recovery. In addition, for individuals on medication for acne or pigmentation, removing a nighttime routine could further aggravate the concern. And for those who have done a recent peel on the face, a post treatment skin care plan is essential to follow for skin repair. Also, there doesn’t seem to be any substantial scientific research to prove the benefits of skin fasting. In fact, there are multiple studies that prove the benefits of a good daily skin care plan.”

Dermatologist, Dr Geeta Fazalbhoy agrees and adds, “There is a growing concern that many people overuse skin products, not giving the skin enough time to heal and recover, and that’s probably why this extreme version of skin fasting has caught on. And while it makes sense to limit the use of skin products on a daily basis, completely going without them may not work for all skin types. For those keen on trying this version of skin fasting, I would recommend they at least use a sunscreen and a mild soap-free cleanser daily.”

Say no to excessive moisturising

Dr Sama Rais, dermatologist and cosmetologist, says, “Going off skin products completely could only worsen certain skin conditions like acne. Instead, people should avoid layering their skin with too many products as it chokes the pores and can lead to breakouts. Apply sunscreen daily before stepping out and stick with one or two creams, rather than over moisturising.”

Put simply, skin fasting is like an extreme diet that may eventually do more harm than good.

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