6 Shocking Truths About Fasting for Skin Health
You’ve heard about fasting for gut health, but what about fasting for skin health? Can fasting help fix your skin? Let’s talk about it.
What is Fasting?
Start with the basics, what is fasting? Fasting happens when you restrict the times you eat but not necessarily what you eat.
Fasting is culturally and religiously significant for many people. For example, Ramadan in Islam is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and the holy month of fasting. In this instance, the practice of abstaining from food and drink lasts from dawn until dusk and is a time for self-reflection (1).
In other cases, fasting can help reset your body functions and promote proper digestion. One of the more well-known practices is known as intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is when you limit the window of time you eat each day, therefore going into a fast during the non-eating hours. It’s an umbrella term for any type of diet that cycles between set periods of eating and not. This improves gut health by allowing the body a good stretch of time in between to properly digest and absorb all the minerals and vitamins.
There are several kinds of intermittent fasting, including:
- Alternate day fasting
- Warrior diet
- 16/8 fasting
- 5:2 diet
Regardless of the method you choose, there are numerous benefits for all of your organs, including your skin.
Fasting for skin health
Many of the benefits from fasting align with the internal improvements. The way you look and feel is not disconnected from how your body is functioning, and these are some of the skin benefits that can come from fasting:
1. Reduce inflammation
Inflammation is the root cause of a lot of problems, and when we’re talking about skin that can mean any number of irritations. Studies that examine the effects of fasting on weight loss have also connected it to an overall decrease in inflammation (3). That can mean any number of things for your skin.
Many skin conditions are caused by internal inflammation that can manifest externally. This includes eczema, psoriasis, acne, and more. Giving your body time to process the food you are eating can allow your gut to calm down, and therefore calm inflamed skin.
2. Reduce stress
One of the main things that occur as a result of fasting works to directly reduce the amount of stress your body undergoes. On a cellular level, fasting helps your body deal with stress. When you are fasting, your body naturally reduces the number of oxidative stress cells sent throughout the body (5).
This has to do with the established link between body weight, caloric intake, and oxidative stress levels. During fasting, your overall caloric intake is lessened. This trains your body to resort to ketone stores for energy as opposed to constant new caloric input from meals (3). As a result, the cells receive less oxidative stress because the body is not producing as much to keep up with constant digestion.
And it’s more than just physical bodily stress. Mental and emotional duress wreak havoc on your skin and body. Fasting for skin health will not only combat the biological processes which spike stress levels, but it can also ease the mental and emotional ones as well.
The benefits of a de-stressed body are numerous, and when it comes to fasting for skin health this internal relaxation can be a turning point. When everything down to your very cells is less stressed, you won’t experience the stress-induced breakouts and rashes as a result. And when you aren’t stressed about the stress acne, you can finally break the cycle.
3. Healthy gut = healthy skin
We already know gut and skin health are linked, so it makes sense that anything which benefits your gut could also give you a glow.
When your intestines are stressed or malfunctioning, you can see it on your skin. Routine fasting will give your gut enough time to digest food and rest. By overworking your gut, there is no time for the natural microbes to replenish. A healthy gut can properly absorb the nutrients from food and circulate that throughout your body for your skin and other organs.
4. Better sleep
Going to sleep on an empty stomach is beneficial for a lot of reasons. For one thing, bedtime is when your body gets most of its repair work done (6). Multiple systems can’t function properly at the same time, so your body has to choose between what’s most important. If you eat before bed, that means digestion trumps nighttime repair.
If your body is trying to digest food all night, it can’t devote energy to other things like fighting inflammation. As we know, fighting internal inflammation is a big part of reducing skin inflammation. Instead of reducing inflammation, this actually causes the body to create more inflammation-causing cells. Bad news for your skin.
So the reason you wake up with puffy eyes and breakouts is that your body never fully relaxed and took time to replenish. Fasting is a way for you to align your natural body processes with your eating and sleeping schedule.
5. Reduce dry skin
Fasting actually helps regulate your blood glucose levels which manage several skin issues. High blood sugar levels can dry out your skin and leave you with a tight, itchy feeling. Fasting monitors your insulin levels and can help prevent dried-out skin, as well as other skin issues that are often linked as symptoms of diabetes.
6. Plumper skin
Another effect linked to your blood glucose levels is the production of collagen. Increased blood sugar levels actually reduce the amount of collagen your body creates through a process called glycation. Collagen needs sugar, but glycation is a detrimental process that occurs when collagen is forced to use the wrong kind of sugar for production.
These sugars cause tissues to stiffen and cause the skin to age faster. Fasting promotes the correct production of collagen by regulating your blood sugar levels. The result: plump, healthy skin.
Written by Christiana Sinacola