Skin fasting: Experts warn against popular TikTok trend

Stripping back your routine isn’t necessarily better for your skin, Katie Wright discovers
Skin fasting: Experts warn against popular TikTok trend

Experts are not a fan of skin fasting. Picture: PA

SOME health experts tout the benefits of intermittent fasting, with devotees claiming incredible weight loss results by limiting the hours of the day during which you’re allowed to eat.

By the same logic, can ‘skin fasting’ work wonders for our complexions?

The term ‘skincare fasting’ has 205.8 million views on TikTok, with beauty buffs saying they take time out from using skincare products for anything from 24 hours to a week or more at a time.

Fans say avoiding skincare and only washing your face with water can help calm breakouts and make redness disappear – particularly if you’ve been loading up on products packed with active ingredients.

But what do dermatology experts have to say about the TikTok trend?

“I am not a fan of skin fasting,” says Dr Thivi Maruthappu, consultant dermatologist and nutritionist from Cleveland Clinic London.

“Your skin loves routine – a regular and effective routine works best for all skin types.”

Kate Kerr, skin expert and director of the Kate Kerr London Clinic is also skeptical: “Whilst the intention of allowing your skin to work for itself is something I fully support, the idea of removing all products from your regime is not something I buy into.”

A simple and effective cleanser and moisturising routine is advised.
A simple and effective cleanser and moisturising routine is advised.

The fact is, products like cleanser and sunscreen help to counteract all the stressors our complexions face every day.

“It would be fine to ditch skincare altogether if we never had to go outside or if we didn’t have HEV (blue) light from screens or pollution to contend with,” Kerr continues.

“But sadly, we do, and all of these things damage our skin if we don’t take steps to protect it.”

Rather than quitting your usual line-up because of a breakout or irritation, experts suggest it’s more important to find products that don’t cause problems.

“If you’re seeing benefits from skin fasting, that’s because the products you were using weren’t working for you,” Kerr suggests.

For a simple but effective daily routine, Maruthappu recommends: “Cleanse, moisturise and SPF in the morning. Cleanse, treat (targeted serum) and moisturise in the evening.”

Cleansing is key for removing make-up, dirt and pollution from the pores, while serums with ingredients like vitamin C fight the free radicals that cause ageing.

We need to take steps to protect our skin. Picture: PA
We need to take steps to protect our skin. Picture: PA

“It’s essential to apply an antioxidant serum to protect your skin from the environment, and, of course, you need to wear sunscreen,” says Kerr, who also recommends adding a gentle exfoliator into your regime.

“Because you’ll be using some form of product on your skin – whether that be make-up or SPF – you’re inhibiting the skin’s cell turnover, and so you need to exfoliate.”

If you’re concerned about recurring skin issues, consult your GP or a dermatologist who can advise on whether you should stop using a certain product.

“The only instances when I really strip back on skincare is if someone is experiencing perioral dermatitis or skin irritation, which can be aggravated by specific skincare products,” says Maruthappu.

“Think fragrances, acids and peels. Even in these cases, I still recommend a simple and effective cleanser and moisturising routine – plus SPF, of course.”

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