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Can fasting help acne? Your questions answered

Let’s look at some of the reasons fasting may help your skin and acne…
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March 31, 2021
5 min

Women fasting is a crew of women who support each other towards the same goal:
Improving our health through intermittent fasting.

Natasha Jordan wrote the article of this week:

Natasha has over 10 years of experience in health and wellness, with nutrition and skin health expertise. Enjoy 👇

Written by
Dr. Sara Diana Garduno Diaz
PhD & Senior Nutrition Consultant
“The best of all medicines is resting and fasting."
Benjamin Franklin

If you’re here, you’re probably already convinced that fasting can set off a cascade of events that are highly beneficial to your health…

But can fasting specifically help with your acne? You see, the skin is a complicated organ; it needs the right nutrients and the right environment to thrive. You can't treat a single skin condition (like acne) without treating the entire skin.

Let’s look at some of the reasons fasting may help your skin and acne…

Fasting may help extinguishes inflammation

During periods of fasting you eliminate intake of poor quality carbohydrates (think the ones found in pasta, cakes and white bread). These carbohydrates are a key driver of inflammation (the fire) in the body. Acne is an inflammatory skin condition, so it makes sense if you take the fuel away, you extinguish the flame.  

Fasting may help balance blood sugar levels

High blood sugar levels can lead to glycation in the skin, and glycation can weaken the skin.

Glycation causes excess sugar floating around in your body to attach to collagen and elastin proteins, which makes them stiff and can make the skin look less supple, more aged and less resilient.

You need strong, resilient skin to defend against potential skin problems like acne.

Fasting may improve gut health

Think of your digestive system as a drain pipe, if you put too much down the pipe it can become blocked, the only way to unblock the drain is to stop using and flush the drain out. You are doing something similar when you fast, you are giving your digestive system (the pipe) a break. A break to move out any waste sitting in your digestive tract that can accumulate over time.

This break also gives your body a moment to repair and renew, which is excellent for your gut bacteria. Healthy gut flora can balance your immune system, hormones and help you absorb nutrients much more efficiently – nutrients that can go straight to your skin to help fight acne.

Staying on top of the evidence

Is there any evidence? Give me some science!

Skin and fasting has been a hot topic in the world of dermatology. This is because evidence has started to emerge that supports the use of fasting to increase longevity. This means it potentially has some profound anti-aging benefits, and we all know anti-ageing medicine is the holy grail of healthy skin.

Let's look at some of the evidence…

To understand how fasting can potentially help the skin, you must understand how fasting helps the body. Research suggests that fasting can help the overall health of your body in three ways.

Firstly, by increasing weight loss - which reduces inflammation in the skin.

Secondly, balancing blood sugar levels - which reduces the damage sugar does to the collagen in your skin.

And thirdly, by reducing the damage to your cells from environmental and dietary stress - which includes our skin cells.

Evidence also suggests that intermittent fasting can reduce age-related frailty. This is a major plus in the science of anti-ageing. We know anything that is anti-ageing is fantastic for your skin. We are personally excited to see how the use of fasting evolves as a potential way to protect against aging... at the moment we say watch this space!

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Here’s a couple of FUN facts we bet you didn’t know

Skin fasting is a thing

There's a new skincare trend on the block, and it’s known as skin fasting. Skin fasting is when you stop using all skincare products in an attempt to detox your skin. Although the benefits are entirely hypothetical (meaning there’s no science to support any benefit for acne). And it is altogether different to intermittent fasting (periodically eliminating the food we eat). It certainly couldn't harm your skin to eradicate potentially harmful ingredients or products.

If you have acne, you should know about IGF-1.

IGF-1 means insulin-like growth factor one. But don’t let the techy term confuse you. All you need to know is, it is the “not so great for acne hormone” – it increases inflammation and accelerates aging.

High levels of IGF-1 have been linked to the development of acne. One fascinating study has demonstrated that when you fast, IGF-1 decreases...eliminating one link to acne has got to be a plus.

Some skincare tips to use during your fast

Let your skin breathe

Your skin is referred to as an organ of elimination. This means when your body is ridding itself of toxins, it will use your skin as a channel to move them out. So, it makes sense that it may be best to let your skin breathe if you are fasting. Try to minimise skincare products (This skin fasting thing may not be as crazy as first thought!).

Your skin may need time

Remember, it is not unusual to experience a few pimples (a breakout) during a fast, especially if you are new to fasting. Your body is eliminating toxins, and some hormones may be moving around in your body a little differently while you fast. Hopefully, with time and as your health improves, potential breakouts should be minimised.

We know fasting is not a cure for all and there is still so much we have to learn. We also know fasting is a unique experience, and we encourage you to share yours.

Become part of our supportive fasting community today by replying to this email; we want to hear from you, what works for you, as well as what doesn't!


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