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Skin Fasting: What Is It, and Should You Do It?

by Yu-Jun Park 11 Apr 2024

Are you ready to dip your toes into the wonderful world of K-Beauty? 

There's a hot new trend on the block - it's bold, it's refreshing, and it's known as skin fasting

But what on earth is that, you ask? 

Well, instead of cutting out carbs or sugar, you cut down on (not eliminate!) your skincare products! 

Say what? 

Let's take a deep dive and answer your burning questions!

How does skin fasting work?

Skin fasting, for the uninitiated, seems like a contradiction. 

An innovative skincare regime that involves not using any skincare products? It's like training for a marathon by sitting all day, or learning a new language by muting all your Netflix subtitles. 

Yet, there's a method in this seeming madness, which merits a closer examination. 

At the heart of skin fasting lies your skin’s ability to self-regenerate. Your skin isn't as helpless as you might believe. It has its own shields and swords, ready to fight off environmental assaults and heal wounds.

These self-healing powers come from various sources, one of them being the sebaceous glands. These tiny factories within your skin produce a substance called sebum. 

In proper quantities, sebum helps to maintain skin elasticity, fights off harmful microorganisms, and keeps the skin hydrated and protected. We often dismiss sebum as an oil that needs to be blotted away, but it’s practically your skin's bodyguard - 007 in lipid form. 

So, where does skin fasting come in? 

Glad you asked. 

The idea is simple: to take a break from all but your most essential skincare products, allowing your skin to wake up its internal, self-regenerating army. Skin fasting is like pressing a reset button, nudging your skin to rely less on external products and more on its in-built mechanisms.

However, we're not talking about a permanent break from your moisturizers and serums. Think of skin fasting as a short vacation for your skin. 

Just as a break from work helps you restore your energies and gives you fresh perspectives, a brief respite from skincare products similarly rejuvenates your skin. 

Your skin cells, used to the regular supply of external hydration, are suddenly left thirsty. This stimulates them to crank up their production of lipids, including our old friend, sebum. 

The resultant uptick in sebum production helps to rebalance the skin's hydration and protects our skin barrier, ultimately leading to healthier and more resilient skin.

Moreover, limiting the onslaught of skincare products allows your skin to focus on its own regeneration instead of constantly tackling and adapting to external substances. 

During this fasting period, the skin is able to shed dead cells more efficiently and speed up the turnover of new ones.

Lastly, skin fasting can provide your clogged pores some much-needed respite. The accumulation of various skincare products on your skin may lead to blocked pores over time if you’re not careful to avoid comedogenic ingredients

Skin fasting acts as a brief deep-cleanse period, giving your pores a chance to breathe, and possibly reducing the appearance of blackheads and other blemishes.

At the end of the day, skin fasting is about returning to basics. It's about promoting a more intuitive form of skincare, one that listens to, respects, and leverages the complex nature of our skin. 

What happens to your skin when you skin fast?

Okay, fellow skin-lovers, let's delve into the mechanics of what happens to your skin while you skin fast.

First, it braves the wild! 

Without your daily regimen, your skin might experience changes. Some see oiliness, dryness or, ideally, a balance. 

That's right, folks! Just like the wobbly tightrope walker, our skin might wobble around initially during skin fasting, but eventually, it could find its balance.

The science behind this balancing act is pretty neat. Our skin is a smart, self-regulating machine. When we bombard it with products, it can get lazy, not performing its tasks such as natural oil production or hydration. Skin fasting is like a friendly nudge to the skin, reminding it to do its job.

Have you ever wondered why lemonade tastes so good after working outside on a summer day? 

Well, our skin kind of feels the same. After a period of skin fasting, absorbing nutrients from skincare products can become more effective.

But, beware, skin fasting isn't always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes it results in what we call 'the purge.' It can cause a breakout, but don't panic. Consider this a testament to your skin getting rid of accumulated impurities.

'Moderation is key,' they say, and skin fasting isn't an exception. 

Our skin needs a healthy dose of products containing peptides and antioxidants, which are crucial in fighting against environmental pollutants, UV damage, and aging. A total fast wouldn't let our skin enjoy these benefits.

The duration of your skin fast is also critical. We recommend starting small – perhaps a day or two. Then, listen to your skin. That's right! Your skin can communicate subtly through signs such as dullness, breakouts, or supple, glowing skin.

If skin fasting feels right and you're getting positive results, continue. Otherwise, it's time to reintroduce products into your regimen slowly.

Is ACTUAL fasting good for skin?

Let's have a frank chat about an entirely different angle on fasting, shall we? 

We're not merely talking about occasional skincare abstention, oh no. This is about the abstention from food, an entirely different beast — and one that decidedly isn't part of the K-Beauty repertoire. We’re really thinking outside the box here.

You see, Korean skincare philosophy basks in the glow of nourishment - an outside-in and inside-out love affair between your body and your food. 

Allowing your skin a breather through controlled skin fasting can, of course, be beneficial. 

But denying your body those colorful, nutrient-loaded meals? That's a no-go. 

So go on, enjoy that kale-smattered berry smoothie. Drink your aqua. Hydrate your insides and let the radiance emanate outwards. 

Enough said. What else can we chew on here?

The K-beauty fridge

Hold the phone! Rewind your thought process for a second. Did someone say 'K-Beauty fridge'? 

Why, yes! Yes, they did! This avant-garde concept is more than a mere nomenclature; this is innovation du jour, propelling the 'K' in K-Beauty onto another level. 

Picture this - a vibrant, mini-fridge, exclusively housing your skincare treasures. 

Essentially, this fridge is a sanctuary for your skincare gems. 

Shiny, stylish, and oh-so-cool, it's a nod to the Korean skincare artistry, transforming your routine into an icy treat. And here's a cool fact: certain active ingredients, think vitamin C or retinol, remain stable and efficacious for more extended periods in chillier environments.

But do retain this kernel of wisdom: even amidst this minimalistic skincare journey, your cleanser and moisturizer are your skin's steadfast allies. These are the products your skin just cannot do without.

Bet you didn’t expect this to take such a culinary direction, eh?

To fast or not to fast?

So, the big question - should you embark on this venture? 

Skincare fasting is all about a refreshing detox without decluttering the essentials. 

Think of it as an infusion of the novel, a slight deviation from the everyday, and a breather for your deserving skin. 

Yet, bear this in mind, it does not greenlight the idea of abandoning your skincare routine altogether. Think simplification, not elimination. Think detoxification, not deprivation. 

So, as you plunge into this exciting journey of skin fasting, buckle up, stay attuned to your skin’s needs and dare to break the monotony. 

Remember, it’s all about balance. 

Now, go forth, beauty aficionados, and unleash your glow!

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