The Effects of Fasting on Skin

For better or worse, fasting has played an intrinsic role in various cultural, dietary and healing practices for centuries. Skinverse reports that short-term fasting is a natural aspect of healing, citing wounded animals that cease eating until their injuries have healed. Likewise, some findings indicate that short-term fasting may inhibit certain skin conditions and detoxify skin impurities. Consult your doctor before embarking on any fast, which is intended only for short-term use and may have adverse effects.

Woman examining her skin in the mirror.
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Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis may benefit from short-term fasting, according to a study published in Toxicologic Pathology. As its name implies, contact dermatitis is a type of skin irritation resulting from contact from a specific object or substance, the Mayo Clinic says. The Toxicologic Pathology study found reduced dermal swelling in mice with contact dermatitis after short-term fasting of up to 48 hours.


Fasting may also alleviate a specific type of hives called chronic urticaria, according to a case study published in the Journal of Dermatology. Also known as nettle rash, chronic urticaria is a type of hives that lasts more than six weeks, the International Chronic Uticaria Society says. The case study published in the Journal of Dermatology found that fasting was effective in relieving hives in a 28-year-old woman within 11 days. The researchers said the hives returned within three days of breaking the fast.

Acne and Eczema

Skinverse reports that skin conditions such as acne and eczema may clear up more quickly with short-term fasting. This may occur because with the body temporarily freed from digestion, it's able to focus its regenerative energies on other systems. However, Skinverse cautions that when beginning a fast, you may experience headaches or other "withdrawal" symptoms, and suggests that you may opt for a juice fast or one that allows for a small, reasonable dinner.

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