Skin Fasting Is The Latest Skincare Trend - Beauty Expert Advice
skin fasting trend

Skin Fasting Is The Latest Beauty Trend – We Asked Skincare Experts If It’s Worth Trying

In our April issue, we take a look at our skincare obsession and ask if we are all using too many products. We asked some skincare experts we trust to tell us their thoughts – is it time for a beauty detox, or a skin fasting process? 

Jennifer Rock, CEO and founder of Skingredients and The Skin Nerd

What’s your take on the idea of “skin fasting”, paring back your routine to simplify and streamline it?

“Skin fasting is essentially what the whole philosophy of Skingredients is about – to have a simplistic, uncomplicated, affordable yet results-driven regime! So I’m a big believer in ‘skin fasting’, or simplicity within skincare, whereby you get the non-negotiable key ingredients that all skins, all genders, all geographies need.

So to give examples, that means your hydrating cleanser, like our PreProbiotic Cleanse Hydrating Cleanser [€29/refill €26]; a Hydrating Serum; a retinoid like Skin Protein Anti-Ageing Retinoid Serum [€55/€49 refill], a fatty form of vitamin A that doesn’t make your skin sensitive and can be used morning and evening; and an SPF. These are the key ingredients all skin needs.

That is what we tend to encourage on the daily, and then everything else is secondary to that. Which means that eye creams, sheet masks, hydrating masks, toners and lotions are surplus until you have the basics of skincare right. I always encourage people to look after themselves from the inside out, too. So essentially ‘skin fasting’ is a new term that’s trending, but it’s something that we are huge advocates of, as a minimalistic, effective, results driven, clinical data-based skincare brand.”

It’s more important than ever for younger beauty-lovers to get good advice about skincare. What do you focus on in your Skin Nerd teen consultations?

“A lot of teenagers are informed by social media, and are well-versed in skin care, so they tend to have opinions and comments on the trending brands on social media. Our approach is to encourage them to tell us how they’re currently using a certain product or brand, and ask how often – and why – they’re using it. We then try to educate them about their skin, listen to their concerns, and then relate back what we believe is best suited to their skin.

For our Skin Nerd consultations, we require a guardian or parent to be present, but also ask them to excuse themselves momentarily so the minor can speak directly to us about their concerns. The whole premise is to audit what the teen is currently using, and then educate them as to what’s needed – versus what’s not needed – in their routine. Then, if relevant, we can suggest alternatives that are better suited to their skin, while looking after their skin barrier. We always encourage gentle cleansing and wearing SPF as a staple routine for young skin. We divide pre-teens and teens into different stages, so if somebody comes at age twelve, for example, we would treat them differently to someone aged 16. But the main reasons we get a lot of teenage consults – and the number has been increasing lately – is down to streamlining their regime. It’s about ensuring that they’re educated as to what they should be using at their age – and what they should steer clear of.

Typically, it’s a basic routine of a hydrating cleanser, hydrating serum and SPF. And then, if someone has problematic skin, we might bring in gentle, low-level salicylic acid suited for minors, or clay masks. And if someone’s skin is sensitised, we would tend to lean on brands that have anti-inflammatory properties.”

Jennifer Rock is CEO and founder of Skingredients and The Skin Nerd. Skingredients is at stockists nationwide and

Dr Helena McMahon, co-founder of Seabody

How can we best focus on a core skincare routine that isn’t too much for our skin – and what is key for keeping things simple? Are we all simply using too much skincare, and is pulling back, aka skin fasting, sometimes the best idea?

“Our skin is a super-complex living system which responds to our internal (inner health) and external environment (the world around us) and as a result we can have multiple issues in play at any one time, with issues such as dehydration, micro-inflammation and sensitivity, dullness, texture issue and the need to support healthy skin ageing. Too often we over-complicate our skincare regimens looking for that instant fix and we can jump from product to product looking for that miracle solution. But our skin is a living system that needs time for bioactive ingredients to do their work at the cellular level and deliver results.

Sometimes it is a good idea to pull back, to simplify your regimen and to use fewer products – but choose ones that are backed by science and that are multitasking. Then, with time, these products will deliver better results for our multi-dimensional skin challenges. The key is committing to a simplified regimen and a holistic approach, embracing nutrition, hydration, movement and sleep. Inherently, this approach will create much less waste.

Once you get to ages 25-plus, the core daily skincare needs are gentle cleansing, hydration, skin barrier nourishment, antioxidant, skin matrix support and SPF. This can be achieved with three to four steps if you have the right products with multi-acting formulations.

At Seabody, our ethos is science-driven simplicity where we use skincare science to create highly complex formulations that address multiple concerns in a single product, and as a result you need fewer products in your daily routine – for example, our Hydrogel Mask Cleanser is a hydrating, brightening cleanser (and doubles as a micro-mask); Glycan Enrich is hydrating, firming, anti-inflammatory and supports the skin barrier supporting – it can be used as a daily moisturiser too.”

Dr. Helena McMahon is founder of sustainable skincare range Seabody. 

Nuala Woulfe, clinic owner and skin expert

What’s your take on the idea of “skin fasting”, paring back your routine to simplify and streamline it?

“Skincare routines have become more complex, with people using sometimes ten or more skincare products in a protocol. For some skin types, this can have a negative impact on skin. Modern skincare often involves a multitude of active ingredients. And product overload can lead to issues like congestion, breakouts or adverse reactions. Skin fasting helps to prevent these.

The skin is home to a complex microbiome. It protects the skin from bacteria, environmental pollutants and moisture-loss by neutralising contaminations. The ‘skin fast’ idea is rooted in the belief that modern skincare routines often involve endless active ingredients and this constant exposure can potentially disrupt the skin’s natural functions and protective barrier. When we cleanse too much, or over-use exfoliating skincare products, we essentially throw the balance off – and this causes issues like excessive oil production and blemishes or in some cases dermatitis and dryness.

The process of skin fasting is nothing new; we would have always advised a client struggling with a skin reaction/sensitivity to pare everything back and avoid active ingredients for a period. The concept is to let your skin reset and rebalance, aiming to improve its overall health. Rely instead on a basic cleanser, and moisturise skin well with a basic moisturiser that contains ceramides or a humectant like hyaluronic acid. Use an SPF daily, if your skin is particularly sensitive or reactive, look for a mineral SPF.

There are several benefits to doing this, including natural barrier reinforcement. The skin has a natural barrier known as the acid mantle or skin barrier, which helps retain moisture, regulate pH levels and protect against external aggressors. Reducing certain products during skin fasting can allow this barrier to strengthen and function optimally. Some of those with sensitive skin or conditions like rosacea might find that using fewer products reduces skin irritation and sensitivity. By eliminating potential irritants, the skin has a chance to calm down and recover.

Too much, too young

We are also hearing a lot recently about kids using skincare products, with parents telling us that children of nine and ten – and even younger – are looking for skincare. I hear this from clients and family members. Social media is probably encouraging this trend, while some cosmetic companies are making skincare products that kids find attractive. The truth is, children do not need much to keep their skin healthy. Youthful skin functions well naturally and does not require the assistance of active ingredients to glow. Mineral sun protection, used daily on exposed skin, helps to protect young skin against UV and environmental damage.

Many skincare products have what we call ‘active’ ingredients, such as salicylic acid, retinols and peptides. These are suitable for mature skin to target wrinkles, or skin with specific concerns like acne. But for pre-teens and teens, these ingredients can do damage – they can irritate the skin and cause rashes. If a child or teen is struggling with a condition such as acne, dermatitis or eczema, rather than self-treat it is best to seek medical advice.”

With over 35 years of experience in the beauty industry, Nuala Woulfe is a skin expert and the owner of Nu Aesthetics. Nu Aesthetics & Serenity Day Spa; 4C & 55 Glasthule Road, Co Dublin;

Dawn Hill, facialist and owner of Floraison Studio, Dublin 2

How much is too much when it comes to skincare? Should we all be doing less and is skin fasting something that we should consider?

“We are bombarded daily with varying opinions about skin and trending skincare on social media – unfortunately alongside a lack of quality information and knowledge. For a consumer it’s incredibly difficult to navigate this huge skin space, and there’s a real disconnect with the reality: the fact is that everyone’s skin is unique, and your favourite celebrity or influencer’s skin regime most likely won’t suit your own. One week a ‘skin expert’ is championing skipping a morning cleanse to keep the microbiome in check, another week this opinion is debunked – it’s exhausting to see.

Skincare really doesn’t have to be complicated. The skin is an intelligent organ and it just needs a few nudges here and there to help it on its way. The narrative around the average skin routine needs to change, in my opinion. For example, a long list of acids simply doesn’t work for everyone. There’s also a sense of fear regarding our skin – from pores, texture ageing, the inevitable drop in collagen, premature lines and so on – which is driving people to strong topicals much sooner, to somehow ward off the signs of ageing before they appear. It’s a worrying trend.

I believe wholeheartedly in a ‘less is more’ approach. Nourishment of the skin is key, even for those who are acne-prone. But I also believe you need a few hard-working products within a routine to help your skin be its best. Serums are a prime example. Not all serums are created equal and if a serum claims to do it all, step back and move on – it’s not possible for one serum to be everything to every skin. Those with the best formulations contain minimal ingredients but of incredible quality with tiny molecular weight, meaning they can be layered with another serum to treat different issues.

At Floraison, we work with a Spanish brand called Ayuna, which is making waves in the skincare industry for all the right reasons. The brand’s mantra is that the world doesn’t need more beauty products, it just needs better ones. They believe in a concept called ‘topical fasting’, where overstimulation is eliminated, meaning repair and regeneration mechanisms are activated – just like fasting for the body. Ayuna’s formulations are incredibly sophisticated and, although more expensive than what you’ll find at your local pharmacy, they work on unique issues in the skin with every ingredient serving a purpose, instead of masking the problem.

It’s a similar story with haircare, too. Scalp care has fast become the new skincare and I’m on board with this trend as the scalp is an extension of the skin. Whilst I do believe the scalp needs to be treated, I think the simplest products can make a huge difference. Jojoba oil is the closest oil in molecular structure to the sebum that we create, meaning it’s fantastic for nourishing the scalp and hair but it also works to balance oily scalps. And with scalp serums and masks etc, it does come back to quality ingredients. There’s a huge difference, in my opinion, in using a shampoo with high quality, ultra-effective ingredients than using one laced in silicones and sulphates. And just like the skincare industry, the most expensive isn’t necessarily the best: every scalp and strand is unique, and it takes some research along with trial and error to find what works.”

With a backgorund in Biomedical Engineering and clinical research, Dawn Hill is now a specialist facialist and owner of Floraison Studio, Dublin 2. 

5 SIMPLE SOLUTIONS: A handful of key items that work 

THE CLEANSER Pestle & Mortar Essentials Cleanser. The fuss-free Essentials range is ideal for younger ages as it focusses on the two basics, cleansing and moisturising. The entire range is designed to use every day, safely and effectively. €24, at Kildare Village; Look out too for Pestle & Mortar’s Daily Shield SPF50 launching next month.

THE MOISTURISER NeoStrata Rebound Sculpting Cream. This is a no-nonsense daily moisturiser based on skin-plumping peptides. It performs as well as moisturisers that cost three times as much. €79.97, at pharmacies; currently €64 at

THE HYDRATING SERUM Skingredients Skin Veg Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum. This hero product from Skingredients is currently from €44/refill €39.20; at stockists nationwide and

THE SPF Seabody Luminous Prime SPF30. Invest in an easy to wear SPF that sits well under your make-up – if it feels good on your skin, you’re more likely to apply it every day, which is key. Try this mineral SPF from Dr Helena McMahon’s award-winning Irish skincare line. €59, at pharmacies nationwide and

THE EXFOLIATOR Ayuna The Facial. The Facial is a natural exfoliator that really works. So ignore the slight vinegary smell and enjoy the glow it gives your skin. Ayuna is a Spanish brand that’s making waves with its belief in “topical fasting” – that is, moving away from overstimulation to focus on repair and regeneration mechanisms, a fast for the body. €100, available at


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