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What Is Skin Fasting? It’s Time to Give Your Skin A Break

How long would you go without washing, toning, indulging in a face mask, or moisturising your face? One day? One week? One month?

One of the latest skin care trends all over the internet is “skin fasting.” A skin fast is exactly what it sounds like: Forgoing your entire beauty routine products for a period of time so your skin becomes more reliant on itself to detox and fixes its own problems instead of relying on an army of cleansers, moisturisers, and serums. The term was originally coined by Mirai Clinical, a Japanese skin and body care brand that describes skin fasting as a way “to strengthen the skin’s natural protective barrier that is weakened by excessive nourishing, to normalise the secretion of natural oils and support the natural rejuvenation process.”

Much like fasting for metabolic health, skin fasting is a detox. Since the skin is an organ and we constantly cover it with all kinds of different products, the Mirai brand suggests fasting to allow our skin take a breather, heal, and also permits skin cells to regenerate.”

The Science

The skin is an interesting organ, besides acting as both a sensory and protective layer for all of our precious blood and guts, it also “breathes.” This means that there is some gas exchange at play (adding up to around 2% of respiration in humans). Naturally, when covered in certain kinds of skin routine products, the skin’s ability to “breathe” is reduced.

Now, for the actual skin fast.

There are only a few things that are more hurtful than having to break up with our skin care products for two weeks as part of what the beauty industry has dubbed “skin fasting.” Here is a tested process on how skin fasting went for me:

Week One

To be honest, I was scared (and all sorts of sceptical) going into the first week of my fast. Ditching my beloved cleansers, face cream and sunscreen products seemed like a bad idea. No matter how much it made me cringe, I was determined to try skin fasting for the next two weeks.

On the first day of the fast, I drank as much water as I possibly could, wanting to stay hydrated even without moisturiser. Of course, this caused me to go to the bathroom more than I would have liked, but that’s better than my skin become dry.
By day three, I really needed to cleanse, especially after a long sweat session of working out, so I rinsed my face in the morning and at night.

Days four and five were when it started to get a bit tough, with blemishes and blackheads beginning to appear. But I waited, hoping (and praying) that they would clear up.
Days six and seven came with no major flare-ups and I began to feel nervous for week two of my skin fast.

Week Two

Just as I feared, the first day of week two started with a pimple right underneath my chin. The worst part was knowing I’d committed to not putting any product on it.

More blackheads and minor pimples popped up on days two and three, but by days four and five, things finally started to slow down. I noticed that my skin had definitely started to glow a little more and my skin also didn’t feel as dry as it normally does with my regular routine. Could the skin fast actually be working?

By days six and seven, I was thankful that this beauty experiment was coming to a close. I was pretty desperate to use my clay masks, moisturisers, and cleansers again.

Should You Try Skin Fasting?

Although my experience with skin fasting had its ups and downs throughout the week, I can see the purpose behind it. For those of us who put so many products on our skin every day, allowing it to breathe is always a good idea.
This trendy skin approach really depends on your comfort level. Try it for a week, then you can adjust the length of time to fit your skin’s needs.

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