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Image / Editorial

I tried the new ‘skin fasting’ trend and learned a lot about what my skin needs


by Aisling Keenan
24th May 2019
I tried the new ‘skin fasting’ trend and learned a lot about what my skin needs

Skin fasting is a new trend of sorts involving limiting your skincare usage to fully assess the true needs of your skin. I tried it, in the name of research, for three days. Here’s what I learned about my skin…


Billed as a way to ‘detox’ your skin (and sure don’t we all love a good detox) this skin fasting trend basically involves avoiding all skincare products for a period of time to see how your ‘real’ skin feels and reacts.
There were no instructions I could find other than that, but I thought it was safe to assume avoiding make-up was a big part of it. I managed to nab a three-day gap in my calendar where I was pretty much housebound and set about my fast.
skin fasting

I was worried

I’m not going to lie, I had serious concerns. I washed my face on the first night with my usual cleanser, double cleansed just in case, and started then by avoiding applying my usual eye cream, toner, serum, overnight mask.
My skin felt PARCHED. I allowed myself only lip balm (I can’t sleep with dry lips, I’m sorry) and went to bed skincare free. It felt alien, I didn’t like it, I was sure I’d crack by the morning.

I didn’t crack…

…but my skin did. My skin felt so undernourished the next day. It felt dry, but at the same time seemed a little oily – its true colours being revealed, maybe? I tried to think outside the box: How could I hydrate my skin without products? Ah. WATER. That old thing.
I skulled a pint of H20 and got back to work. After three more pints that day, I felt better and I don’t know if it was the placebo effect, but my skin wasn’t crying out for moisture quite as much.

The next day

It wasn’t much better. I washed my face with just water that night, which didn’t horrify me as much as I thought it would – after all, nothing had gone onto my face that day. I was shocked at the dirt that was on my face cloth in spite of having a clean face. Is this what’s hidden normally under a layer of make-up? Apparently so.
skin fasting
My skin definitely wasn’t as dry, but I was noticing patchy bits and texture problems and redness – not to mention the absolute terror I faced when I had to venture outside without SPF… there were caps, umbrellas, sun visors – it all kicked off.

The final day

I’ll be honest, my skin wasn’t coping well. I decided that this would be my last day – who am I to argue with the skincare that’s been my constant companion all these years? Do I need to ‘know’ my true skin all that much? Probably not.
But when I woke up on the final day, I noticed a little improvement. My face looked fresh and glowy in an exceptionally natural way. There wasn’t much redness, although it still felt dry. Had I discovered my true skin? I think I might have.

What I learned

Not much, I’ll be honest – certainly when it comes to my own skin. I already knew how dry I was. I already knew about my redness, and my tendency to burn without SPF. I didn’t need to take time off skincare to find that out.
What I did learn, however, was how much my skin relies on multiple products, and it made me see that my skincare routine has possibly gotten a little out of hand.
It also showed me I have no discipline – I intended to do this research for a week. Reader, three days is four days short of a week as I’m sure you know. Would I recommend skin fasting? No. But it was interesting to try it, if only to see that my skincare monthly investment isn’t going to waste.

Read more: I always thought I had good skin. I was wrong.

Read more: The difference between skin changing and skin maintaining

Read more: Skin TLC: Four face SPFs

Photos: from Unsplash

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