What Is Skin Fasting?

by Jenn | Last Updated: April 14, 2019 When you buy something using the links on our posts, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

One of the hottest trends in the beauty market is skin fasting. But what is it? How do you do it? What are the benefits? Most importantly, is it something you should try?

We were mystified by this new fad so we set about getting to know it better.

Defining Skin Fasting

If someone says that they’re going to go on a fast, what do you think? For most people, a fast means avoiding eating certain types of food for a set period – from a few days to a few weeks. It’s a popular way to reset your body and get it back to working at optimal levels.

This is the concept behind skin fasting. However, instead of abstaining from eating, you abstain from putting ALL products, lotions, serums, and makeup on your skin.

In theory, this should be able to help “reset” your skin, and it should start looking and feeling younger and healthier from this reset. As with food fasting though, expect a Herxheimer reaction – things get worse before they get better.

This means you’re in for a rough ride before you start seeing good results, i.e. the skin starts to heal itself.

The Skin Fasting Routine

Unlike other beauty fads that have you buying certain products to get ready, this is the polar opposite. There are no products to buy. You only need to stop all your existing beauty rituals.

If you’re puzzled, don’t worry. So were we.

Here are the exact steps:

how to do skin fasting

The Science Behind

The proponents of skin fasting explain the process in this manner:

Your skin functions as a protective organ that keeps bacteria and germs out. It has pores that allow it to “breathe” throughout the day. When you apply heavier layers of makeup or skin treatments, you stop your skin from being able to breathe as well as it can when your face is bare. This can lead to clogged pores, excessive oil production, and breakouts.

normal pores

Photo Credit: hudabeauty.com

Your skin also naturally produces an oily substance called sebum. This comes formulated out of a mixture of fatty acids. Sebum’s main function is to help prevent moisture loss through your skin. When you cleanse your skin too much and apply too many products, it can strip away this sebum layer. In response, your body can start to produce more sebum. You can end up with oily skin that has a higher chance of breaking out or feeling grimy as time goes on.

By not applying products to your face, it’ll start to heal and re-balance itself. You may feel itchy during the first day or two. Your skin may also look very oily at first because your body is used to producing more sebum to keep up with sebum you remove when you remove your makeup or apply cleansers and toners. This should start to clear up around day five if you choose to do a week fast.

The Dos and Don’ts Of Skin Fasting

Just like anything you try during your lifetime, there are things you should and shouldn’t do during your skin fast. These things can help you improve your overall results at the end of each fasting period. They include:


stay hydrated


Do We Recommend It?

When I first heard of skin fasting, I was perplexed. I thought it might have been an April Fool’s story. Getting to know more about it though, I have to admit that in theory, skin fasting makes sense.

Makeup and an overwhelming amount of skin products in the market are simply not healthy for our bodies. In fact, I believe in this so strongly that I have pared down my own beauty essentials (makeup, that is) to a tinted facial sunscreen and a smidgen of lipstick when I go out.

So, on one level, I get it. Give the skin a break from the harmful products we expose it to on the regular.

But the rest? I’m afraid, it’s not too practical. For one, by having you give up all beauty products, it also forces us to give up products that are actually beneficial or even downright essential in this day and age like moisturizers (hello, winter) or sunscreen (hello, deadly space rays).


To conclude, I would say skin fasting is not for everyone. If you live somewhere where the air is really clean and you don’t need to go out in the sun for long periods of time, I think you have the perfect environment to do skin fasting.

However, if you live in a grime-filled city and under a thinning ozone layer like I do, I opt to give this a hard pass. Instead, I’d recommend the following if you are serious about taking your skin care to another level:

Author: Jenn Miller

Don’t be fooled by her innocent baby face. Jenn’s a demanding shopper who WILL push each and every beauty product to its limit.