It's true that our skin needs regular breaks from makeup and repetitive layers of creams and moisturisers, more so for those with inflamed skin.
Fasting is a common practice in India. Ayurveda, in fact, supports it as an important factor to maintain health. It’s believed that fasting provides rest to the digestive system and the freed-up energy is used by the body for healing.
But what if we were to extend it to our skin? Currently trending on social media, ‘skin fasting’ is a routine that encourages you to avoid using any product—cream, base, powder, etc—on your skin, allowing it to detox and breathe. It’s a way to reset and allow the skin to heal by itself, helping improve the way it functions naturally.
So is there any merit to the popular trend or is it just another social media fad? More importantly, should you try it? “Skin is the largest organ of the body,” says Delhi-based dermatologist Deepali Bhardwaj. “Skin fasting ‘detoxifies’ the skin from inside out. This means the interaction of flora (microorganisms which reside) on the skin doesn’t get inhibited by any topical application. It also helps in the natural process of healing, taking away the dependency of skincare aides that our faces have become dependent on,” she says, adding, “What is best advised as a daily routine is to have a weekday regime of applying night creams with anti-ageing benefits… and for weekends, apply organic serum. Use a different facewash for weekends. This way, your skin can breathe and naturally throw toxins out.”
It’s true that our skin needs regular breaks from makeup and repetitive layers of creams and moisturisers, more so for those with inflamed skin. The use of moisturisers, in fact, can stop the production of natural sebum (oil) making the skin drier. After the skin becomes normal, products can be reintroduced. Since sensitive skin is prone to reactions, natural ingredients and hypoallergenic cleanser and moisturiser are advisable, besides having a good diet and sufficient sleep. For soft, supple and hydrated skin, natural oils are advised. It’s also important to stay hydrated and increase the intake of fibre and fruits.
As per Bhardwaj, skin flora like mites and yeast help in skin rejuvenation. “Applying lotions and potions tend to disturb the natural habitat and lifestyle of mites found in the layers of the skin, which react and release toxins needed for the skin,” she explains.
For those, however, who regularly use makeup, Bhardwaj advises to stick to a routine as per the skin type. People with normal and dry skin can use cleanser oils to clean first and then use facewash. Oily skin types should use cleanser gels and those with sensitive skin should use cotton dipped in milk. To remove eye makeup, one should use almond oil or vitamin E oil.
Skin fasting also makes the pores healthier. “The overload of makeup, skincare products, chemicals can take a toll on our skin. Skin fasting helps the skin breathe and makes the pores healthier,” says Rajni Ohri, founder, Ohria Ayurveda, a Delhi-based organic skincare brand. She, however, cautions against leaving skin too dry. “We should not leave the skin too dry. It’s essential to use a mild cleanser to clean off the pollution and dirt that can get accumulated on our skin. Allow the skin to retain its natural oils… Alternatively, if one has very dry skin, they can apply a few drops of coconut oil mixed with rosewater,” Ohri says, adding, “Skin fasting allows you to embrace your skin in its natural form. It’s beautiful… also gives our skin the much-needed downtime.”
But there’s a flip side to skin fasting too. If we don’t, for instance, use a sunscreen, our skin might get exposed harmful UV rays. Ritika Jayaswal, founder, Nourish Mantra, an Ayurveda-inspired natural skincare brand from India, feels a zero-product regime is not for everyone. “Slight modifications based on your skin or lifestyle can be done. For extremely dry skin, a moisturiser is apt to give your skin that hydration that it can’t fulfil by itself, or a layer of sunscreen to help your skin from harmful sun rays.”
It’s true that environmental changes have a huge impact on our skin and, hence, it’s best to have a balance of the best. Find a skincare regime that suits your skin type and doesn’t hamper your routine.