What is Skin Fasting?
As the concept suggests, skin fasting is abstinence from the use of skincare for a period of time; proponents advocate refraining specifically from serums, masks and moisturisers or anything that is left on the skin, and they suggest removal of these products from the normal skincare regime for a night or even up to a week.
The Theory Behind Skin Fasting:
Your skin produces an oily substance called sebum that helps prevent moisture loss. The idea behind “fasting” is to let the skin “breathe.” It is thought that cutting out products will let the skin neutralise and sebum naturally moisturise. The term infers that skin gets substantial amounts of the oxygen directly from the air and that cutting it off from this source reduces oxygen absorption, impedes cellular respiration, and adversely affects skin function. They are based on misconceptions about how porous the skin is and confusions about the nature of respiration.
Should You Try Skin Fasting?
If you are using a great skin care routine for your skin type and concerns, a skin fast isn’t worth it. There is no physiologic reason to do it; skin does not “adapt” to well formulated products and “forget” what to do naturally. More to the point, trying a skin fast likely means your skin will be missing out on important ingredients it needs on a daily basis. For example, fasting from sun protection would leave skin vulnerable to UV damage as well as environmental damage. Unless you live in a completely unpolluted, UVA & UVB free environment we’d recommend not giving up your protective skincare anytime soon.
The Truth About Skin Fasting:
We hate to break it to skin fasters, but the human skin doesn’t allow gaseous exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, it doesn’t “breathe” at all; it doesn’t have its own respiratory system, tiny lungs or even gills on its surface, therefore it is physiologically impossible for cutaneous respiration to occur in humans! Long story short, toxins don’t get broken down and leave your body through your skin (that’s handled by your and liver and kidneys as part of the body’s excretory system).
The Barrier Function of the Skin:
One of the primary functions of the skin is to act as a barrier. Harmful microbes and chemicals are kept out and water is kept in so if this barrier is compromised our life is put at risk. For example, patients with severe burns, who survive the shock and trauma, frequently die from dehydration or infection. What often misleads people is that the skin has pores. Even if we do not see them in the mirror, the beauty industry reminds us that they are there, and offers us cosmetics to reduce their appearance. However, these pores do not mean that the skin itself is very porous; their function is to allow the skin to release substances on to the skin surface, not to act as a passage for substances coming in through the barrier.