Skin Fasting: A Natural Solution to Skincare


Skin fasting is a natural solution in its own right. It is, as the term implies, a fast: a way to repair skin, since too many skincare products—too many products in general—contain too many chemicals, dyes, additives, perfumes, and allergens that irritate the skin, that inflame the skin, that intensify an already painful skin condition.

The fast is no different than a cleanse. Which is to say it is a chance to rid the body of the very things that ail the body: a reprieve from ingredients that have little or no value for the body, a respite from excess consumption of certain ingredients—even natural or healthy ingredients—in which too much of a good thing is in fact a bad thing; a thing to acknowledge, a thing to address, a thing to avoid.

1. What is the purpose of skin fasting?

The purpose is to give the skin a sabbatical, so to speak. To be more aware, too, of how we treat (or fail to treat) our skin. To recognize how sensitive the skin is, how susceptible the skin is to injury and infection, how soft the skin can be. A skin fast is a way to start a new habit, and break an old and harmful one. For example: Just as the body has muscle memory, just as the body remembers a routine, just as a routine loses value, the same is true of the skin; routinization leads to (some degree of) ruination; regular absorption of the same sprays, washes, and creams—with the same chemicals and toxins—damages the skin, requiring additional treatments, causing both physical and fiscal ruin. Simply stated, it costs a lot not to fast.

2. Why is skin fasting so popular?

Skin fasting is popular, in the West, because it is a new import from the East. It is a longstanding tradition in Japan, which we have worked to promote in the United States. More to the point, Japanese customs regarding skincare—including the artisanal practice of soapmaking—speak to our campaign to educate consumers about health and wellness.

What was foreign to most Americans, save those who have been to Japan or have an interest in health and beauty products, is now familiar to more men and women throughout America.

Social media allows us to talk about this issue with greater ease and frequency. Speaking to your readers is another means of expanding that conversation, highlighting natural solutions to otherwise insoluble health-rated matters.

3. What precautions should a person take before beginning a skin fast?

If you have a serious or chronic skin condition that requires medical attention, if you are currently under a doctor’s care for a skin condition, talk to your doctor before you begin a skin fast. In the vernacular, first do no harm to your skin.

It is not recommended for those who have skin disorders like eczema, uncontrolled acne, rosacea, melasma, or other skin disorders that do require topical products to help to do skin fasting. And many skincare professionals are not a fan of the cold turkey, total elimination of all skincare products at once, especially if you have a skin condition that requires active ingredients.

For an effective skin fast, it is recommended to stop the use of most products and try switching to just a gentle cleanser and a lipid-rich moisturize. Hold off on any chemical barrier sunscreens and switch to a physical barrier sunscreen that contains zinc or titanium oxide. Any other chemicals, including retinol or hydroquinone, should be stopped, too.

4. What are the benefits of skin fasting?

The benefits range from more supple and hydrated skin to better-looking skin. In this case, abstinence can be very fruitful, indeed. It can spare you from irritants that damage or dry your skin, while freeing you from a debt payable in a pound of flesh: in pounds of your own flesh, exacted neither with a patronage knife nor weighable on balance scales, exacted instead through itching, scratching, and stress.

Skin fasting is a great way to calm skin down and rebuild its lipid barrier. Your lipid barrier is the outermost layer of skin and a strong barrier that “prevents allergens and particulate matter from pollution from entering and harming skin, and also protects skin’s moisture,

Ultimately, skin fasting is successful on a case-by-case basis. The method is not a one-size-fits-all process, and listening to your skin in real time is the safest way to proceed when trying out skin fasting.

5. How can a person maintain healthy skin after finishing a skin fast?

Invest in natural solutions. Choose quality products over mass merchandised soaps, sprays, shampoos, and washes that, pardon the expression, do more to clean your pockets than cleanse your skin. Ask questions, too, because you have a right to know what is or is not in a product.

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