Still, both experts caution against stripping away all of your skin-care products at the same time. "Rather than a skin fast, what I tend to do is deconstruct a patient's skin-care routine and pull out any 'red flags,'" Robinson explains.
Because the overuse of active ingredients can cause dryness and/or general irritation over time, limiting the use of these products from time to time can be beneficial — especially for those with sensitive skin. "This doesn't mean entirely getting rid of all products, but dialing down can be beneficial," Lortscher explains.
In other words, "by eliminating all skin-care products, you are allowing your skin to 'reset,' and, in turn, improving the way your skin functions," adds David Lortscher, a board-certified dermatologist in San Diego.
As mentioned, "in cases of significant skin irritation, dryness, or a negative reaction in general, stopping products with active ingredients is necessary to allow the skin to heal," Lortscher says.
Aptly dubbed "skin fasting," the idea is this: Minimizing your skin-care routine, or even forgoing it altogether, for a set amount of time will allow your skin to reset.
However you choose to interpret skin fasting in your own routine, the bottom line among experts seems to be this: "If you have found it to be helpful, I see no problem in doing so," Lortscher says.
We asked experts for the full breakdown on skin fasting, including whether or not it really lives up to the hype. "A skin fast allows the skin to return to its natural homeostasis," explains Deanne Robinson, a board-certified dermatologist based in Westport, Connecticut.
Of course, with regards to skin, "it could go either way," Lortscher explains. "If you have a compromised skin barrier [to begin with], eliminating potentially irritating ingredients will encourage healing.
By temporarily stripping away the use of products via a fast, the thought is that "when we take away the support system to our skin, it allows it to get back to what it naturally does," Robinson explains.
If you suspect that your skin needs a break from any of these actives, try stripping them out of your routine one by one "until your skin feels normal again," Lortscher says.
That said, there is one product that both experts say you should never fast from: Sunscreen. "I'd never advise 'fasting' the skin of SPF coverage," Robinson says.
In sum, "everyone's skin is different, [so] what works for one person may not work for the next," Lortscher says.
Additionally, for those with acne-prone skin, "dropping active ingredients that prevent, as well as treat [acne], from their regimens can lead to more breakouts weeks down the line.
Then, "once your skin has returned to baseline, slowly introduce one product back into your routine at a time.
Some people claim that staving off of skin-care entirely (re: using zero products, not even soap) for a few weeks will allow your skin to fully return to its natural baseline.https://twitter.com/Allure_magazine/status/1246189778187554816