What is ‘skin fasting’, and does it actually solve your skin problems?

It’s the latest Instagram trend taking over the skincare world, which claims to help solve issues from dermatitis to eczema and even acne. But how much truth is behind this trend, and how exactly do you do it? A skincare expert weighs in…

From the 16:8 diet to the 5:2 diet, everyone seems to be hooked to some kind of fasting regimen these days. Even A-list celebrities such as Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez and Elsa Pataky all swear by the diet to help them stay in shape.

Now, the latest kind of fasting to emerge has noting to do with dieting, your waistline or food. Known as ‘skin fasting’, this type of fasting is more about putting your skincare routine on a diet, not your body. Intrigued? We spoke to Biologi Dermal Specialist Lucy Macdougald about this latest trend, and why it might be worth giving it a try.

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What is ‘skin fasting’?

Skin fasting is actually a skincare trend that is all about losing products from your bathroom cabinet. We’re all guilty of buying too much and having a bathroom cabinet full of half empty products that don’t actually work. People are continually searching for products that live up to their promises, but the sad reality is that not many do.

Skin fasting is all about stripping back your skincare routine to just those multi-purpose skincare products that truly work. You’ll say goodbye to those ‘hope in a jar’ products that might feel nice on the skin but don’t actually do anything, and hello to those multi-tasking heroes that will transform your face.

Skin fasting is about going back to basics and finding out what really works. It’s cutting back your routine to the basic, absolutely necessary steps and forgetting the rest.

The theory behind skin fasting is balancing out your skin and letting the natural processes work their magic. The skin is a truly incredible organ that works amazing on its own without the interruption of an array of products. The truth is, your skin really only needs a few products to thrive, but we’ve been ‘sold’ by skincare brands and marketing geniuses that you need a whole host of products to get beautiful skin. That is simply not true.

What are the benefits of skin fasting?

The benefits of skin fasting are endless.

Firstly, it will obviously save you time and money, reducing time spent on applying your skincare routine and the money spent buying all the products.

Secondly, you’ll cut out a whole host of unnecessary toxins and synthetic ingredients from your routine – this will be better for your skin in the long run. Many people don’t realise that the skin cells actually retain toxins and over time, this can be incredibly detrimental to the health of your skin. This can cause sensitisation, which can reveal issues like dermatitis, eczema or acne.

Thirdly, it can stop the the temptation to layer your skincare products. Yes, we know that layering skincare ingredients is definitely a trend right now thanks to things like 10 step routines, however there are some risks involved with these types of routines. What you can find is that some brand’s product ingredients don’t mix well with each other so layering them can mean that you’re cancelling out the ingredients that actually work. So, you could be putting on ingredients and not realising that they’re reacting with each other and reducing the efficacy of the active ingredient – so a total waste of money! Or worse, layering some ingredients can cause harsh reactions to the skin like chemical burns. Again, this comes back down to the science and some ingredients not ‘liking’ each other.

Are there any side effects to skin fasting?

The short answer is no. However, some people could experience some temporary skin purging. Skin purging happens when your skin cells release toxic build-up or excess sebum from your pores, which can reveal things like pimples, blemishes and black heads. While it doesn’t sound pleasant, skin purging is actually good for the skin in the long run because it ‘s re-balancing out your epidermis and getting your skin working closer to the way it should naturally process.

Skin purging also often means that the active ingredients in your skincare are working – so sit tight, be patient and go through the process because you’ll be able to reveal your best skin yet.

How to properly skin fast

Firstly, work out ways that you can reduce the number of products you use on your skin – so avoid those products that don’t feel like they’re doing anything and gravitate towards the ones that actually work.

Try to implement a couple of make-up free days per week if you can. This, again, is cutting out unnecessary synthetic ingredients.

Then look for products that contain a high percentage of active, natural ingredients and try to avoid products laden with ingredients like silicones and sulphites. Ultimately, you want products that will do a few things at once – hydrate, radiate, reduce blemishes, target fine lines and protect the skin.

Our top ‘skin fasting’ beauty products

Biologi’s Bd Face Luminosity Serum 30ml, $108

Alpha-H Liquid Gold with 5% Glycolic Acid, $59.95

The Beauty Chef GLOW, $65