I Tried Skin Fasting for Two Weeks With Some Helpful Dermatologist Advice
This is what can happen when you give your skin a breather.
Fasting has taken the health and nutrition world by storm, particularly in the form of intermittent fasting. More recently, fasting has also gained traction in the beauty world: skin care enthusiasts in the Asian Beauty forum on Reddit say this approach can make your skin glow and allow your dark spots to heal more quickly.
Much like fasting for metabolic health, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman, MD, says that skin fasting is basically a detox. Since the skin is an organ and we constantly cover it with all kinds of different products, she suggests fasting to allow it to take a breather.
Inspired by Dr. Jaliman, I decided to part ways with my favorite spot treatments, serums, and sleeping masks, and give my skin the rest it deserves for two whole weeks. Here’s how I survived the experience:
Week One Was a Challenging Adjustment
I was pretty scared (and all sorts of skeptical) going into the first week of my fast. Ditching my beloved cleansers, eye cream, and sunscreen products sounded like a horrific disaster in the making. No matter how much it made me cringe, though, I was committed to the cause, determined to go cold-turkey for the next two weeks.
On the first day of the fast, I chugged as much H2O as I possibly could, wanting to stay hydrated even without moisturizer. Of course, this caused me to go to the bathroom more than I would have liked, but that’s better than my skin becoming a dry and flaking mess.
To my surprise, however, the first two days weren’t so bad. My skin is normally on the dry side with some oiliness on my nose, so cutting back on the retinol and lactic acid at-home treatments was probably a good move anyway.
By day three, though, I really needed to cleanse to some way, especially after a long sweat session on the elliptical, 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. Not being able to reach for the acne patches I’ve become so fond of sent me into a bit of a panic. But I waited, hoping (and praying) that they would clear up. I mean, all that extra water should pay off, right?
Days six and seven came with no major flare-ups, thank goodness. I have been slowly overcoming in my struggle with adult acne, and I didn’t want a zit or two to wreck my hard-earned progress. I felt nervous for week two of my skin fast, my head filling with horrifying images of humongous breakouts.
Week Two Tested My Willpower
Just as I feared, the first day of week two started with a bang, or a gnarly pimple right underneath my chin—and man, oh man, was it irritating. The worst part was knowing I’d committed to not putting product on it, even while my Mario Badescu Drying Lotion sat on my nightstand collecting dust.
More blackheads and minor pimples popped up on days two and three, but by days four and five, things finally started to slow down. On the bright side, I noticed that my skin had definitely started to glow a little more. And although that could be credited to all the extra water I was drinking, my skin also didn’t feel as dry as it normally does with my regular regimen. 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, foaming washes, and toners again, not to mention tackle my embarrassing breakouts.
Still, I have to admit I’m amazed by the strength of my willpower. Even with all the acne-busting products at my disposal, I stayed committed to the fast.
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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 thing.
Dr. Jaliman says this trendy skin approach really depends on your comfort level. While she suggests trying it for a week, you can adjust the length of time to fit your skin’s needs.