Skin Fasting: What is it & How to Start?

Skin Fasting: What is it & How to Start?

Have you ever heard the term “skin fasting”?

It’s a very well recognized skin care method back in Japan, where I’m from. I thought it might be useful to share what I have found from my experience in my blog, as it might not be as well known in the USA.

Japanese is my first language and writing a blog in English is challenging. Please excuse my use of simple words as I write this article.


What is Skin Fasting?

Dr. Ryuichi Utsugi's book
Dr. Utsugi’s book written in Japanese.

Skin fasting is simply stopping the use of skin care products for a certain period of time. Quite commonly, people do skin fasting for short periods, such as a one day or a weekend. The effect of this is said to improve the ability of the skin to rejuvenate using its natural healing power.

With this article, I will discuss the Utsugi method, which is proposed by the Japanese dermatologist Ryuichi Utsugi in his book. Dr. Utsugi speaks about not using any skin products at all after cleansing with water every morning and night.

This would be something that you would continue indefinitely, rather than just a short period. Is that really possible? No skin care products forever? Well, I will take you on my journey to find out.


The Pros and Cons of Skin Fasting



  • Your skin will be the better condition.
  • Time-saving.
  • Money Saving.
  • Your cabinet will look clean and organized with fewer items.
  • Easy when traveling.



It’s been about two months since I started and I don’t see any cons so far, but if I must mention something here are the cons I can think of.

  • The skin becomes dry initially, but it wasn’t so bad in my case.
  • You cannot use liquid foundation or concealers (which is actually not a problem for me.)


How to do Skin Fasting?


In the morning:

  1. Wash your face only with lukewarm water – below 34℃ (93.2°F).
  2. Dry with a soft towel very gently. Do not rub. Gently pat a towel on your skin to absorb the water.
  3. Do not apply any skin care products except mineral sunscreen if needed.


For UV Protection:

If you are exposed to UV only for a short time, you do not need any sun protection. According to Dr. Utsugi, less than 15 minutes is typically safe for your skin. This time may vary if your skin is a bit more sensitive.

If you anticipate exposure to UV for longer than 15 minutes, protect your skin with a hat, sunglasses, or an umbrella for low to moderate UV. When you are unable to use these items, such as during work, you will have to use a mineral/physical sunscreen that is made with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. ( Dr. Utsugi recommends using a specific sunscreen from a Japanese company that is made with white petrolatum but I can’t find similar products in the U.S. He said it is ok to use mineral sunscreens as an alternative.)

If you are somewhere with high UV exposure, such as the beach or a tropical island, you may want to use sunscreen as well as a hat, sunglasses, and an umbrella for the extra protection.

But it is really best not to use sunscreen if you can. If you have to, remember to apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to the sun exposure, and reapply every two hours or whenever you sweat or get wet.

Read more about the UV protection 


For makeup:

Basically, you should avoid any base makeup products, such as foundation or concealers. If you are not confident with your skin and want to cover, you may use a powder foundation or loose powders. Use mineral-based products that can be easily removed with gentle soap and water.
Point makeups are ok to use, but avoid waterproof and choose products that can be easily removed.


In the evening:

1. Remove your eye makeup gently with cotton swabs or cotton pads absorbed with water. If it is hard to take off, you can rub a bar soap with a cotton swab and gently stroke it around your eyelids or eyelash.

2.  Wash your face only with lukewarm water. If you used powder foundation or sunscreen, use a bar soap that doesn’t contain any additives. Make a thick foam from soap. Only foam touch your skin, not your hand. For the small part like around eyes or nose, gently stroke the soap as if you touch a pudding. ( If you didn’t use any base-make up or sunscreen, do not use soap and just wash with water.)

How to make a foam

How to make a thick foam

Wash your face Skin Fasting

3. Dry your skin the same as the morning.

*Your eye makeup might have left a little bit around your eyes but it will be naturally gone over the 2~3 days. Do not try hard to remove completely. That would damage the skins around eyes.

When your skin is too dry
 that cause itchy or redness, you may apply a small amount of petroleum jelly ( like Vaseline). Use a cotton swab or a small spoon to take out the size of a sesame seed.  Avoid putting your finger in it to prevent contamination. Rub it on your both hands and gently press the hand on the dry area. Do not put too much.


How long does it take to see the results?


It might take as short as a few months or as long as ten years. It all depends on your age, skin condition, and how dependent your skin has become on products over the lifetime. For me, I already started seeing improvement after a week.

Dr. Utsugi says the first 2~3 months might be tough as your skin becomes very dry and look like the worst condition ever. But that is actually the proof of the recovery.


You can start slowly.


If having a few months of bad skin is too much for you to bear, start slowly. Remove a skin care product one by one in order of makeup remover, cream, lotion, serum, and toner.

You can also start fasting once a week, then gradually extend the days to every three days, two days… eventually, you will not need skin care at all.

This is my basic overview of the Skin Fasting thus far. There are so many more things I want to mention but cannot fit in a post.  I will explain more in other posts and share my progress with you as well.

If you have any question, please leave a comment, and I look forward to hearing from you.

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