Just like how healthcare experts suggest fasting could benefit our body, skin fasting is said to be the ticket to a healthier skin.
If you’re just like me who has been struggling with acne for the longest time ever, you would understand how dangerous it is to play around with new skincare products or trying out a new skincare trend. One wrong decision and my skin would throw its biggest tantrum ever for weeks or even months. While I’ve come across many beauty trends and tried several my own, skin fasting is perhaps the first trend that truly caught my attention at first sight.
Skin fasting is unlike previous trends that recommend us to a new skincare ingredient or 10-step beauty routine. Instead, it tells you to ditch all your skincare products and go au-natural, literally. Not only do you have to forgo applying makeup, but also your entire beauty routine. If impossible, at least reduce the products you put on your skin to a minimum. Essentially, it means going back to when you were five years old and simply using nothing on your skin. This is so that the skin can detox itself and fix its own problems instead of relying on chemical ingredients.
The term was originally introduced by Mirai Clinical, a Japanese skin and body care brand that describes the purpose of skin fasting as a way to “strengthen the skin’s natural protective barrier that is weakened by excessive nourishing, to normalise the secretion of natural oils and support the natural rejuvenation process”.
As a beauty hoarder with a strict daily skincare routine, I was very sceptical about the result this trend would deliver. However, since this MCO period means nobody except my family would be able to see how good or bad my skin turns out to be, I figured there’s no harm giving skin fasting a try. After all, my mum is convinced for many years that the reason why my skin is so bad is because of the products I pile on it.
Instead of starting the fasting process immediately, I decided to progress slowly by first starting with a “skin diet”. I skimmed down my extensive skincare routine to just two simple and gentle products: Philosophy Purity One-Step Facial Cleanser and Philosophy Purity Made Simple Ultra-Light Moisturiser. Since over-cleansing and active ingredients can strip the skin’s natural oils and nutrients, switching to hypoallergenic and gentle products can be better for the skin to slowly heal itself.
The beginning is always the hardest since I’ve been so used to piling a bunch of skincare products on my face. It felt really weird to spend only five minutes on my skincare routine. However, the silver lining was at least I could give my skin a proper cleanse with a mild cleanser followed by moisturiser for a hydration boost. Nevertheless, my skin would always feel oily after a couple of hours but it was still manageable. Overall, my skin didn’t react as badly as I’d expected. There were tiny whitehead bumps appearing on my forehead and right cheek but apart from that, all was well.
I decided to take skin fasting up a notch by ditching my cleanser and only used warm water to wash my face. Of course, my skin didn’t feel squeaky clean at all like how it used to with a cleanser and I can’t deny that it did bother me a lot. Applying moisturiser felt like a useless thing to do because it wasn’t getting absorbed into the skin like how it used to. If anything, it felt like all my pores were clogged and barely anything could penetrate through.
My skin started feeling tight around the cheeks and it was producing more oil than before. It also felt really uncomfortable to not wear any SPF even though I was indoors 24/7. I was practically living like a vampire trying to avoid being too close to a window to protect my skin. On Day 11, I noticed two blind pimples on my right cheek which was slightly painful. But since I figured that this could be a sign of my skin detoxing itself, I left them and continued sticking to the process.
I was convinced skin fasting is a bad idea. I gradually gave up moisturiser towards the end of Week Two and my skin only went downhill from there. Not only was my skin very oily and tight, but it was starting to become itchy near my jawline too. The worst part was waking up one morning to a terribly itchy and tight skin. Not to mention, my skin was flaking around my nose too. Instead of feeling like my skin was purging, it felt like a test to my willpower for how long I could go before giving up and reintroducing skincare products to my skin again.
It would be a complete lie to say that “skin fasting” worked on me. It certainly didn’t make my skin softer, clearer and healthier. There’s no way I could treat my skin like how I used to when I was five years old due to various factors like hormones, lifestyle and diet. However, this experiment did make me realise that it’s important to give our skin a breather every now and then. Just like how we fall ill and switch our diet to bland food, our skin could use some rest from harsh chemical ingredients too.
The million-dollar question is: will I ever forgo my skincare routine again? Not a chance. But I would certainly be paying more attention to what’s best for my skin and skip unnecessary products that are likely to over-stress my skin.