By Trisha Chawla
For someone who writes beauty, researching ingredients and trying new skincare products are all part of the job. Throw in the months of failed lockdown beauty experiments and it’s no surprise that in late 2020, in marched the angry, red zits.
After a brief consult with my dermatologist, I was put on a strict diet of acne-fighting skincare that I followed diligently for four months.
While I had steered clear of the cute face masks that called my name each morning, I soon fell prey to the buzzy new niacinamide and salicylic acid serums on my shelf. We’ve all been there, right? But with this new cocktail of acids along with my -prescribed regimen, it was no surprise that I broke out once again.
It was during that I discovered skin fasting, a new beauty trend that involves taking a break from all or some of your skincare products to allow your skin to hit reset.
Popularised by a Japanese skincare brand Mirai Clinical, you may have noticed the trend on your Instagram feed. Skin fasting allows your skin to function naturally and balance itself.
It’s also a great litmus test to identify which ingredients in your routine may be causing sudden irritations or breakouts. It certainly was the answer to all my problems - and here’s how it’ll help you too.
How to skin fast?
Instead of going cold turkey, I phased out all acids from my routine. “Eliminating active ingredients like retinol, AHAs, BHAs and even Vitamin C (ingredients that increase skin sensitivity) can allow your skin to heal from irritations and outbreaks,” says Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta, dermatologist and founder of ISAAC Luxe, New Delhi.
I stuck by the golden rule of wearing sunscreen and used a face cleanser, twice a day. Remember, these are non-negotiable steps to keep your skin healthy and protected from environmental aggressors while you’re fasting.
I even hit pause with my moisturiser. We ended up with something of a friends-with-benefits relationship where I only reached out for it when my skin felt dry or flaky. On the other days, my skin’s natural oils did a stellar job of keeping it balanced and hydrated—one of the many perks of skin fasting, affirms Dr Mittal Gupta.
What to expect
My month-long sabbatical from skincare experiments left me with lower sebum levels, ample hydration, and allowed a lit-from-within glow to shine. Pimples? It’s been a while since I saw those either.
It turns out, my skin is just like an angsty teenager—it behaved the best when it was left alone and not overwhelmed with too many instructions. I slowly reintroduced my moisturiser into my daily routine and a month later, the results still hold.
While it did wonders for me, it’s important to note that skin fasting is not a one-size-fits-all process. As with any skincare regime, you’ve got to figure out if it works for you. Dr Mittal Gupta says, “You must avoid skin fasting if you’re under medication for conditions like acne or eczema or you may counter the effects of your treatment and set yourself back in the recovery process.”