One of the latest trends in the skincare community is skin fasting: cutting down (or cutting out) your skincare routine for a period of days. It's good for your wallet and, according to some people, good for your skin. But does it actually work, or are you just setting your skin back?
First things first: yep, any skincare company is going to tell you that you need skincare products. We make cosmetics because we truly believe that they add value and happiness to your life, and because science shows that certain ingredients are actually really good for your skin.
So when we first heard of skin fasting, we were skeptical. But we'll admit, there are some good reasons to trial a skin fast.
What is skin fasting?
Skin fasting is about taking a break from your usual skincare routine. This is meant to help your skin reset and return to its natural self-maintenance system without the help of skincare products. One of the big claims is that using a moisturiser stops the skin from naturally producing oils, making your skin dry itself out so it has to rely on moisturiser instead of its own system.
People who do skin fasts usually skip their routine for a few days, but there are also mini fasts where you just give up a product for one night.
Are the claims solid?
Well, our skin does have a natural maintenance system, but good skincare should help, not hinder.
Our skin's natural defences only work perfectly in ideal conditions. That means a world with no sun exposure, no pollution, no varying humidity and temperature shifts. Not to mention our genetics (where skin issues like eczema take root) and changes from general aging! If you have dry skin, skipping the moisturiser just means that you're making your skin more vulnerable to all these issues... and it's definitely not going to make your skin make more of its own oil. In fact, if you have chronically dry skin, it's just going to make the issue worse.
If you have acne, stopping your anti-acne products will just result in more breakouts. The best way to treat acne is by consistently breaking down sebum buildup and bacteria. If your skin isn't doing it on its own, then a well-formulated salicylic acid product will work wonders.
Basically, skin never needs a break from a good skincare routine. If you skip all your products, you're making your skin miss out on important ingredients that kickstart the repair process or boost its self-protection.
But skin fasting worked for me!
If you've skipped your routine for a number of days and experienced improvement in your skin, it's probably because you were using the wrong products for your needs. This is the perfect time to work out what your skin could use instead. (If the world of skincare is too overwhelming, start with our Ask R&D subscription service to get one-on-one advice on your skin with our cosmetic chemists!)
Are there any benefits at all?
Well, for detoxing and resetting your skin: not really.
But if you're having negative reactions from your current skincare routine, skipping one product at a time for a week or so can help you work out which product is causing the reaction. (This is perfect if you've done a bit of a skincare binge and tried all your new products at once without testing them one by one!)
At the end of the day, don't mess with a good thing — if you have good products that do good things for your skin, that's all you need.