In the high tech world of skincare, an ancient practice has resurfaced as the key to maintain youth and radiance. Intermittent fasting is gaining lots of attention for its promising benefits for skin health and beauty. However, how much of this is hype vs truth? In this article we explore the scientific evidence behind the benefits of intermittent fasting and whether it can really treat acne, ageing and give you more youthful and beautiful skin.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a diet that is based around regular cycles of eating and fasting. There is no restriction on the type or amount of food that you eat during the feeding period and you can have as much water and zero-calorie fluids during fasting as you like. Popular methods include the 16/8 method, where you fast for 16 hours and eat within an 8-hour window and the 5:2 approach, where there is normal eating for five days and severely reduced calorie intake for two. Whilst intermittent fasting can help with weight loss, it is popular because of the vast range of benefits it can have on the health overall. These include improved metabolism, better brain function and even may lead to a longer life span. In addition to this, there is also growing evidence that intermittent fasting can also have a number of benefits on skin health and ageing.
The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Skin
There are a number of effects that intermittent fasting has on skin appearance and health. Here are some of the key benefits of intermittent fasting for skin:
- Improved Skin Hydration & Texture: During intermittent fasting, the body can better regulate hydration levels, which is crucial for maintaining healthy skin. Enhanced hydration leads to improved skin texture, giving the skin a plump, more elastic and smoother appearance.
- Clearer & More Radiant Skin: Intermittent fasting promotes autophagy, a process where cells naturally detoxify and repair themselves. This process helps in clearing out toxins and cellular debris which leads to to clearer and healthier-looking glowing skin.
- Reduction in Acne & Other Skin Conditions: Intermittent fasting can decrease inflammation in the body which can alleviate conditions like acne, rosacea and other inflammatory skin issues. This results in calmer, clearer and more even toned skin.
- Anti-Aging Benefits: By promoting cell turnover and regeneration, intermittent fasting can have major anti-aging effects on the skin. It helps slow down the aging process and results in skin that looks and feels more youthful.
How Intermittent Fasting Improves Skin Health
Fasting influences various biological processes which together benefit the skin. Here’s how this happens:
- Autophagy: Intermittent fasting triggers autophagy which lets the skin clear out damaged cells and toxins efficiently. As a result your skin regenerates with newer and healthier cells.
- Enhanced Collagen Production: Research suggests that intermittent fasting can boost the production of human growth hormone which plays a significant role in collagen synthesis. This helps increase elasticity to tighten and firm up skin. Through this, intermittent fasting also reduce signs of skin aging like wrinkles and fine lines.
- Reduction of Inflammatory Markers: Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body by lowering the levels of pro-inflammatory markers. This is why skin conditions caused by inflammation such as acne, rosacea and eczema may improve with intermittent fasting.
- Hormonal Balance: Intermittent fasting can help regulate hormones like insulin which can significantly affect skin health. This is helpful in treating conditions like acne which are often made worse by hormone imbalances.
- Oxidative Stress Reduction: This occurs when there’s an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body which can lead to skin aging and damage. Intermittent fasting increases the body’s ability to fight oxidative stress. This protects the skin from premature aging and environmental damage.
- Improved Gut Health: There is a growing body of evidence supporting the gut-skin axis and suggests that a healthy gut microbiome is vital for healthy skin. Intermittent fasting can improve gut health, which in turn can have a positive impact on skin health and conditions like acne and leading to a clearer more radiant complexion.
- Nutrient Optimisation: During the eating windows of intermittent fasting, there is often a more focused approach to nutrition. Consuming nutrient-dense foods rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can directly benefit skin health and give glowing skin.
How to Use Intermittent Fasting To Make Your Skin Better
The best way to use intermittent fasting to benefit your skin is to personalise your routine. Consider your lifestyle, overall health, skin type and skin goals. This is particularly important if you have existing health conditions or specific dietary needs. Here are our top tips for starting an intermittent fasting plan for better skin:
- Assess Your Skin Needs: Understand your skin type and any specific skin concerns you wish to address. This will allow you to set goals and help to tailor your diet during eating periods to achieve them.
- Choose the Right Fasting Method: There are several types of intermittent fasting. Choose a method that seems most manageable for you and aligns with your daily routine and lifestyle.
- Start Gradually: If you’re new to intermittent fasting, start slowly. You might begin with a shorter fasting period and gradually increase it. This helps your body and skin adjust without shock or stress.
- Hydrate All Day: During fasting hours, ensure you stay well hydrated. Water plays a crucial role in maintaining skin moisture and getting rid of toxins.
- Improve Nutrition During Eating Windows: Focus on a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These nutrients are vital for skin health. In addition, foods high in fibre, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins C and E are particularly great for skin.
- Avoid Overindulgence: During eating periods, don’t be tempted to over eat foods high in sugar, processed ingredients and unhealthy fats. These can worsen conditions like acne or inflammation and negate the skin benefits of intermittent fasting.
- Monitor Your Skin’s Response: Pay attention to how your skin responds to the fasting routine. Some people may notice immediate improvements in skin hydration and texture. Occasionally, some may initially experience detoxification effects like temporary breakouts and purging. Adapt your skincare routine to support the effect intermittent fasting is having on your skin.
- Leverage Your Skincare: Boost the benefits of intermittent fasting on your skin by using active skincare products like retinoids (e.g Retinal, Retinol or Tretinoin), antioxidants like Glutathione or Vitamin C and peptides.
- Make Better Lifestyle Choices: Support your fasting routine with better lifestyle habits. Try to improve your work schedule, sleep patterns and exercise routines. Also try to build your fasting routine around these so that you can more easily stick to your plan.
Intermittent fasting is a powerhouse for skin health. When done properly, it can be an incredible tool in your skincare and healthy living arsenal. The best thing about intermittent fasting is that it offers a holistic and highly personalised approach to boost your skin. It not only helps you get a clearer, more youthful and glowing complexion but can boost your overall health and well-being. However, intermittent fasting is not for everyone. It’s a good idea to consult with a doctor or nutritionist before starting a new diet especially if you have an existing health conditions or dietary needs.
At City Skin Clinic, we are all about personalised skincare. Through our online skin clinic, our doctors offer safe effective treatments like Tretinoin and Hydroquinone. We treat a range of skin conditions including acne, hyperpigmentation, melasma and skin ageing. To start your personalised skincare plan, book a virtual video consultation or use our online consultation form. The journey towards great skin starts here.