Does Skin fasting hold the key to clear, refreshed skin?

Posted on January 24th, 2023 10:20 AM
Does Skin fasting hold the key to clear, refreshed skin? A dermatologist’s take on how and when you should skin fast!!

Skin fasting, a rising trend over the past few years, and your skin's very own version of a detox cleanse.

All we need is a reset button when it comes to health and well-being, especially when we don't not feel fine! When it comes to skin care, as much as one might love their elaborate 10-step skincare regimen, sometimes all we need to do is backdial and take a minimalistic approach to our skin. 
This is the philosophy behind Skin Fasting/Skin Minimalism!

What Is Skin Fasting?

Skin fasting is taking a break from all of your current skincare products or routine to give your skin time to breathe, rest, and reset.

The term was first coined by Japanese brand Mirai Clinical, which describes skin fasting as a way to normalize the secretion of natural oils and support the natural rejuvenation process.

The concept comes from the traditional idea of fasting that allows healing. Skin fasting works ideally when you minimize or stop using any skincare product to enable your skin to rejuvenate on its own.

In essence, it sets you up on your original factory settings, allowing your skin to naturally function the way it was intended to without the help of skincare products.

The theory behind Skin Fasting:


Your skin produces an oily substance called sebum that helps prevent moisture loss. During “fasting” the skin is left to “be as is.” Cutting out products will let the skin regenerate and sebum will then naturally moisturize. 

 If you are experiencing acne breakout or have dry skin from any product use, it is best to go for skin fasting before finding the right combination of products.

Are there any scientific studies supporting Skin Fasting or is it just a fad?


Think of skin fasting like the elimination diet. If there’s a problem, then abstaining from products will give your system a break and a chance to rebalance on its own. 

While there are no studies on skin fasting specifically, there are several reasons why it may work for some and not others. 

It helps skins which are:

    • Exposed to the wrong product for your skin type or skin condition (e.g. using a retinol too frequently/higher strength than needed)

    • You’ve stopped using harsh or irritating ingredients leading to skin sensitivity.
    • Your skin’s cell turnover is happening more effectively while your skin fasts.
    • You’re over exfoliating, and skin fasting lets your skin recover. (using AHA/BHA 
    When does it fail to work?

    Skin fasting depends on the skin concerns you are facing. 
    There are various claims that skin fasting can help us ‘retrain our skin to produce its own sebum’. 
    However, if you suffer from dry skin, there are many reasons such as exposure to sun damage, eczema and dehydration, which will accelerate if you stop your moisturizing routine. In cases like this, skin fasting is more harmful to your skin. 


    Stopping moisturization means you will not see a spike in oil production, and there is no way skin fasting would trigger your body to produce more sebum. So be careful of any new skincare trend before hopping on it!

    I, therefore, do not recommend skin fasting for those who have skin disorders like eczema, uncontrolled acne, rosacea, melasma, or other skin disorders that do require topical products to help.

    How Do You Skin Fast? 


    Skin fasting is unique to the individual. Some slowly eliminate products while others go cold turkey. For a complete skin fast, you stop using all of your skincare products entirely!

    No cleansing or toning, or applying serums, hydrators, or moisturizers. Letting your skin’s own natural sebum [oil] do all the balancing and protecting is the main action. It’s important to listen to your skin throughout the process, which can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

    But I personally recommend sticking to the basics like cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen, and eliminating all other products. If you’re going to eliminate sunscreen, then you should eliminate sun exposure as well.

    If we’ve learned one golden (skincare) life rule, it’s to always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen!!

    Points to remember before you decide to endure Skin fasting:

    • Do not forget your basics. Cleanse, use a moisturizer and never miss your sunscreen.

    • Go slow, reduce one product at a time.

    • The trend toward abstinence and “skin fasting” makes sense, especially in response to the recent product mania of 12-step routines that add a new retinoid, face mask, or serum on a monthly basis, but never forget the essentials.

    • Consult your dermatologist in case your skin does not behave as expected.