Does Skin Fasting Work? How To Do It and What To Look Out For

Closeup shot of hands applying moisturizer. Beauty woman holding a glass jar of skin cream. Shallow depth of field with focus on moisturizer.

Is “skin fasting” skincare effective?

To effectively practice skin fasting, you need to have the right knowledge.

This is because skin fasting has risks, and it is very important to understand those risks in order to maintain healthy skin.

Here, we will discuss the benefits and risks of doing skin fasting, recommended skin fasting practices, and skincare methods to maintain the skin’s barrier function.

For those who want to know the benefits of skin fasting and want to restore the skin’s natural functions, this article will help you understand skin fasting, its effects, and the care necessary to maintain skin function.

What is Skin Fasting?

Skin fasting refers to spending time without using skincare items such as lotion and milky products, as well as makeup items including base makeup.

Skincare is essential to protect the skin from UV rays, outdoor dryness, pollen, and other irritants.

However, as the variety of skincare products such as serums, creams, and face masks are increasing, skin fasting is also gaining attention.

Facial cleansing is done with water or lukewarm water only, and no moisturizing items are used after cleansing.

This care method recommends leaving the face bare, without makeup.

But is skin fasting really effective?

Effects of Skin Fasting

It is said that skin fasting can have the following effects

  • Improvement of the skin’s ability to heal
  • Prevention and improvement of dryness
  • Prevention and improvement of acne
  • Blemishes become less noticeable
  • Reduced appearance of pores
  • Reduced plugging of dead skin cells
  • Reduced skin damage due to friction
  • Saves money on skincare
  • Saves time spent on skincare

It is difficult to make a general right or wrong judgment about skincare methods and their effects, since skincare effects vary depending on skin type and skin compatibility.

However, considering the structure of the skin and the modern skin environment, some of the above effects are not expected from skin fasting.

For example, “improvement of the skin’s ability to heal itself” and “prevention and improvement of dryness, acne, blemishes, pores, and keratin plugs” are not expected to be achieved.

This is because a functioning skin barrier function is essential to experience these benefits, and skincare is essential to maintain the normal skin barrier function.

In today’s world of where there are increasing UV rays, allergens, dryness, and other external stimuli, it is difficult to maintain a normal skin barrier function without skincare.

It is also known that the skin barrier function is impaired by dirt, dead skin cells, excess sebum, dryness, and UV rays.

Skin fasting that does not wash or cleanse the face and does not replenish water and oil in the skin is in danger of causing the skin’s barrier function to deteriorate.

Among the above examples of benefits that may be gained from skin fasting are “reduction of frictional irritation” and “saving money and time”.

Since frictional irritation is one of the causes of skin barrier function deterioration, the ability to reduce this burden is an advantage of skin fasting.

However, skin fasting also fails to moisturize and protect the skin, which leads to skin damage other than friction, such as UV rays and dryness, which in turn reduces the skin’s barrier function.

Although not an effect on the skin, financial and time savings isare probably one of the most significant benefits of skin fasting.

According to a household survey by the Japan Cosmetic Industry Federation, the average annual cosmetics expenditure for households of two or more people in 2018 was ¥35,412.

If reducing financial and time burdens is a priority, skin fasting can be effective.

It is Dangerous to Suddenly Practice Skin Fasting

If you suddenly do skin fasting, you risk causing skin problems.

For example, if you try a beauty regimen that aims to moisturize, you can check the compatibility of that regimen with your skin based on the feel and texture of the product.

If you feel stickiness or other discomforts after practicing a beauty regimen, you can prevent skin problems by changing the moisturizer or adjusting the amount of its application.

However, skin fasting has no set definition as a beauty regimen, and there are no means for moisturizing, protecting, or other purposes.

Therefore, skin fasting has no adjustable options or beauty items, and because there is only a “do nothing” binding, it is not possible to change the beauty regimen while watching how it works with one’s skin.

Since it is difficult to immediately address skin problems such as dryness, the damage may become more severe while waiting for the effects of skin fasting to appear on the skin.

If you experience any skin discomfort after practicing skin fasting consult your dermatologist to determine whether you can continue with that skincare regimen.

People with sensitive skin are especially advised to follow skin fasting under medical supervision.

Next, we will discuss who may have no problem with skin fasting and who is not recommended to practice skin fasting, such as those with sensitive or dry skin.

If the Skin is Strong and Healthy, Skin Fasting May Be Acceptable

Many people may be tempted to try skin fasting because of the financial and time-saving benefits.

Skin fasting may be safe for people with strong, healthy skin.

If your skin barrier function is strong and stable, they may be able to maintain a constant skin condition without the need for moisturizing, protection, or other skincare.

However, skin conditions can change suddenly due to aging, hormonal balance, and other factors.

Even if you feel that your skin is strong, you should consult a dermatologist before doing skin fasting.

“Little Skin Fasting” is Recommended For People With Dry or Sensitive Skin

For people with dry and sensitive skin, skin fasting is not recommended because of the high potential for damage to the skin’s barrier function.

However, you can save money and time, and also reduce frictional irritation, which is the huge enemy of dry and sensitive skin by skin fasting.

If you have dry or sensitive skin and are interested in skin fasting, little skin fasting is a great option.

“Little skin fasting” is a skincare regimen in which only the minimum necessary skincare items are used.

There is no set definition for “little skin fasting, so you it is possible to use skincare items so that you have options and can adjust and change them according to your skin’s compatibility with them.

What constitutes minimum skin care requirements varies, but here are three recommended “little skin fasting” that can be practiced even by those with dry or sensitive skin.

A skin fasting of make-up items

Try a little skin fasting of the makeup items you normally use.

Carefully select the items you use to reducewith an eye toward reducing frictional irritation to the skin.

We recommend a “little skin fasting” for eye makeup.

The thin skin around the eyes is particularly vulnerable to frictional irritation, and eye makeup can cause wrinkles, sagging, and hyperpigmentation.

Instead of “little skin fasting” on eye shadow, eyeliner, and mascara, a color-correcting primer can be applied to the entire face to brighten the eye area with a single frictional irritation.

Also, limiting makeup items to those that can be removed with cleansing-free soap can reduce frictional irritation when washing the face.

A skin fasting of daily skincare items

Do little skin fasting effectively by limiting the number of skincare items you use.

We recommend all-in-one skincare items.

Using skincare items that can wash and cleanse your face at the same time will effectively reduce frictional irritation to your skin.

Nevertheless, you should not choose a strong cleanser or scrub too hard just because you are washing and cleansing your face in one step.

Items designed for sensitive skin can be used to cleanse and wash your face without causing strong irritation.

Gel-type products are soft on the skin.

For moisturizing, choose a highly moisturizing all-in-one product that doubles as a toner and milky product.

If you choose a skincare item with evidence of effectiveness, such as “efficacy evaluation tested,” you can moisturize your skin more effectively.

Little skin fasting to protect against UV rays when going outside

UV rays can cause significant damage to the skin’s barrier function.

People with dry or sensitive skin should not neglect UV protection, especially if they have dry or sensitive skin.

People with dry or sensitive skin should take UV protection by doing little skin fasting with a sunscreen of SPF 20-25 and PA++ that protects against daily UV rays, while also using items that physically protect against UV rays, such as sunshades and hats.

It Is Important to Take Care of the Skin From the Inside Instead of Making , Not to Make a Day of Doing Nothing

To “restore the skin’s natural functions,” which is the goal of skin fasting, lifestyle improvements are effective.

In addition to moisturizing and protecting the skin with skincare, improving lifestyle habits such as diet and sleep can be expected to maintain the normal barrier function of the skin.

Here, we introduce lifestyle improvements to maintain a healthy skin barrier function.

Maintain a well-balanced diet

A well-balanced diet nurtures healthy skin.

Nutrients from food are essential for skin renewal.

In “Relationship between nutrient intake, metabolism, and autonomic nervous system activity and skin condition of young women” by Shigemi Nagai et al. in Journal of the Japanese Society of Nutrition and Food Science, Vol. 63, No. 6 (2010), the relationship between nutritional intake from food and the amount of water in the skin and water transpiration was also recognized.

The ideal diet for maintaining healthy skin is a well-balanced intake of nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals that build skin.

Carbohydrates, which are often avoided in diets, are also essential for beautiful skin.

Carbohydrates help maintain the body’s water content, and a lack of carbohydrates can lead to a lack of water in the skin, resulting in dry skin.

Improve the quality of sleep

During sleep, “growth hormone” is secreted, which has the function of repairing skin cells.

Since skin turnover is adversely affected if skin cells remain damaged, the secretion of “growth hormone” is extremely important for maintaining healthy skin.

It is ideal to get at least 6 hours of sleep, but if this is difficult, please be aware of the “quality of sleep”.

Avoid consuming caffeine and using smartphones before bedtime, and review your bedding to create a relaxing sleep environment.

Relieve stress

Stress is also said to be a factor that reduces the skin barrier function.

In “Relationship between Skin Status, Nutrient Intake, Metabolism, and Autonomic Nervous System Activity in Young Women,” it is stated that mental stress affects the barrier function of the stratum corneum, indicating that it is necessary to reduce the mental burden caused by stress in order to maintain healthy skin.

Stress can be relieved through moderate exercise and bathing.

Find a stress-relieving method that suits you and rest your mind and body.

Avoid alcohol and cigarettes

Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking adversely affect the skin.

Excessive alcohol consumption puts a strain on the liver and can cause skin problems such as swelling, dullness, and itching.

Excessive consumption of sugar in alcoholic beverages can also cause inflammation such as acne.

Tobacco is extremely damaging to the skin.

Besides accelerating skin aging, and causing acne and rough skin, smoking also increases the possibility of skin cancer and other serious diseases.

To maintain healthy skin, it is recommended that alcohol be consumed in moderation and that smoking be discontinued.


The skin barrier function can be preserved through effective skincare and lifestyle modification rather than skin fasting.

  • Be aware that skin fasting can cause skin problems.
  • Little skin fasting is recommended over skin fasting for dry or sensitive skin.
  • In little skin fasting, it is important to reduce irritation on the skin and select effective skincare items.
  • Skin care and lifestyle improvements are more effective than skin fasting in maintaining healthy skin.
  • The key to improving lifestyle is to improve diet and sleep quality, reduce stress, and cut back on alcohol and cigarettes.

We hope this article has given you a correct understanding of skin fasting, and that you will maintain healthy skin through effective skincare and lifestyle improvement.