The newest TikTok skin-care hack is skin fasting, but does it actually work?

Dermatologists weigh in on the trend that involves regularly taking a break from all skin-care products.

Your burning inquiries regarding the fitness, beauty, and health fads spreading over your social feeds may be answered by playing TikTok True or False. With the aid of professionals and academic research, each piece dissects a popular wellness trend to reveal the accuracy and suitability of the online “advice” that has gone viral. You won’t again have to question what is legitimate or what to avoid again.

There is always some aspect of skin care floating about on TikTok, whether it is using Preparation H as an under-eye cream, tape your skin before bed to avoid wrinkles, or applying Pepto-Bismol on your skin to have a clean complexion. However, the most recent craze to sweep the widely used social networking platform doesn’t entail changing up your skin-care regimen in any way. It’s all about cutting back instead. Introducing the skin-care fast.

The idea of taking a sabbatical from using specific skin-care products is nothing new, particularly ones that include abrasive substances like retinol and acids. On TikTok, though, information regarding pausing and/or reducing your skin-care regimen is circulating, and it has been cleverly rebranded as skin fasting.

One example is a video outlining the trend that was posted by Maliha Ihenacho, a skin-care esthetician and student of trichology, according to her TikTok bio. Ihenacho recommends in the video that users take a vacation from using skin care products, adding in her caption that “some gently eliminate items, while others quit cold turkey.” You must abstain from using all of your typical skin-care products for 24 hours, including cleansers, moisturizers, serums, and other staples (she does this once or twice a week). Ihenacho writes in the caption of her post that the belief is that when you don’t use any creams on your skin, its natural sebum takes care of balancing and protecting it.

Ihenacho swears by skin-care fasting, which may seem like an insurmountable undertaking for people who have developed a thorough skin-care regimen. Ihenancho, a well-known TikTok user, claims that doing this can reinforce the skin’s natural protective barrier and is a wonderful method to identify goods that are contributing to rashes, pimples, and other skin-care problems. Those who have skin issues like eczema and rosacea or who need prescription skin care products shouldn’t stop utilizing vital items, she advises in her post. She points out that not using sunscreen is equally dangerous, particularly if you’ve just used retinol on your skin.


I have been doing this for YEARS! And it’s always done wonders for my skin overall. ?Skin fasting is unique to the individual. Some slowly eliminate products while others go cold turkey. For a complete skin fast, you stop using all of your skincare products entirely- that means NO cleansing or toning, or applying serums, hydrators, or moisturizers. Letting your skin’s own natural sebum do all the balancing and protecting. Just like any other detox or reset, skin fasting can be helpful for those who want a fresh start. Personally I do it once or twice a week. It’s important to listen to your skin throughout the process, which can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. ??‍♀️DISCLAIMER: I do not recommend skin fasting for those who have skin disorders like eczema, uncontrolled acne, rosacea, melasma, or other skin disorders that do require topical products to help-especially if you have a skin condition that requires active ingredients. It is advisable to speak to your dermatologist or prescribing physician about taking a break from any prescription products that you are currently using, as some should not be stopped. Finally- Not protecting your skin with sunscreen is a risk. If you’ve used any acids in the last three days, especially retinol, then you must continue to wear sunscreen and limit sun exposure. #skincare #skincaretips #FilmTeyvatIslands #viral #malihaihenacho


Ihenacho isn’t the only person on TikTok discussing skin fasting. More than 350,000 people have seen all of the videos with the hashtag #skincarefasting, and dozens further artists have appeared to provide more details about the procedure. However, is it really essential to temporarily discontinue your skin-care routine, and how effective is skin fasting?

Dermatologists concur that weekly fasting for skin care has certain drawbacks. The notion that you should regularly discontinue taking specific treatments that contain very strong chemicals, like as retinoids, has some truth. Find out more about skin fasting and its safety from board-certified dermatologists below.

What exactly is a skin-care fast?

In order to allow the skin to regenerate and fortify its natural protective barrier, skin-care fasting is refraining from using all or non-essential skin-care products (aka the outermost layer of skin that protects it from pollution, bacteria, and irritation). That being said, according to Naana Boakye, M.D., M.P.H., founder of Bergen Dermatology, how frequently and how long you cease using products should vary dependent on the individual and their skin-care needs.

“I believe that the misuse of active substances, like as retinoids and exfoliating acids, is likely what gave rise to the idea of skin fasting. The skin barrier, the body’s outermost layer of defense against hazardous toxins and pathogens, is damaged when you attempt to push the workhorses (the exfoliating acids and the retinoids) by using them daily “DWB’s founder and board-certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D. This can cause chronic, low-grade inflammation in your skin, which can leave it sensitive and more prone to breakouts and skin aging. It could be beneficial to stop using goods with certain substances as a result.

Do skin-care fasts actually work?

While some TikTokers assert that skin fasting is essential for resetting the skin’s barrier and encouraging healthy skin, according to Dr. Bowe, it “isn’t required or useful” and may even have the opposite effect. “For those with acne-prone skin, skipping your nighttime cleanse with a mild, pH-balanced cleanser might result in outbreaks. Whether you use nourishing substances or not, your skin is still “facing” the day. By nightfall, your skin will have gathered dirt, perspiration, and pollutants from a full day of exposure to the environment “she claims.

That does not imply, however, that frequent use of a modest skin care regimen is ineffective. Dr. Bowe advises considering including recuperation evenings in your program rather than forgoing all items. This is consciously refraining from using products containing active components, such as acids and retinoids, on particular nights in order to restore your skin barrier. Use a mild cleanser, Vitamin C serum, and sunscreen only on these days, she advises.

Is fasting for skin care safe?

Skin-care fasting won’t often have any major negative effects for most individuals, but Dr. Bowe warns that it might put undue stress on your skin, which you don’t want. Additionally, Dr. Naana advises that if you attempt skin fasting, you should do so under a doctor’s supervision. Depending on the drugs and cosmetics you are currently using, the period of time you cease using skin care products may need to change, she says.

Is it true that a skin-care fast is healthy for your skin?

Contrary to what you may have heard on TikTok, you don’t absolutely need to stop using all skin care products to give your skin a chance to regenerate. But as a means of rehabilitation, you may think about using less non-essential goods less frequently. Instead of “skin fasting,” which I do not advise, incorporate “recovery nights” into your skincare regimen, advises Bowe. By doing this, you may give your skin barrier a little respite from products with harsh components like retinol and acids while continuing to use your cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen every day. Always check with your doctor before making changes to your skin-care routine.

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