What Is the 5:2 Skin Diet, and Does It Work?

Coming from the UK, a new trend has the beauty community buzzing. It’s called the 5:2 Skin Diet, but it has nothing to do with eating. (The name comes from the 5:2 Fast Diet, where you eat normally five days a week and restrict calories or fast for two.) This 5:2 is more like a makeup diet, requiring two fresh-faced days per week.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

The theory

Improper care, stress, diet, and makeup can all lead to irritated skin. The majority of women who suffer from adult acne choose to cover it up with makeup. But, putting makeup on already inflamed skin could be making it worse. According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology & Leprology, many cosmetics, including some sunscreens, are acne causing.

Skincare expert and founder of her own skincare brand, Indie Lee weighs in on this new trend, “Going makeup free for two days a week will enable the body to detox from harsh chemicals, toxins, and pollutants that may be lurking in the makeup products you apply,” she says. “It will give your sebum the chance to heal itself, reducing inflammation caused by toxic overload and will support the healing of skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and dry skin.”

Makeup collection

Source: iStock

No makeup?

Can you get even, clear skin just by going sans makeup for a couple of days? New York City-based dermatologist, Dr. Sejal Shah, told Yahoo Beauty that giving your skin a break is a great idea, but not necessarily for the reasons people are attributing to the 5:2 skin diet. According to Shah, residue from makeup builds up on skin over time because people don’t properly cleanse their faces.

Without completely removing makeup and dirt, you’re leaving your skin covered in irritants. Over time, this makeup residue can clog pores and cause inflammation. If clear skin is your goal, but you’re not quite confident enough to completely remove your makeup, try switching cosmetic brands and paying more attention to thoroughly removing your makeup.

Makeup can definitely clog the pores, leading to acne breakouts. It can also lead to skin irritation and prevent your skin from “breathing” normally. Use a gentle, effective cleanser to remove makeup every night and after exercising.

Any beauty product, whether it’s makeup or moisturizer, can interfere with the skin’s ability to regulate hydration. Anything that stands between the skin and the air can throw off your skin’s natural moisture balance.

If you’ve recently changed your foundation, powder, or moisturizer and are suddenly breaking out, check the ingredients. “Many oil-based creams, lotions and cosmetics can clog the pores from the outside,” says James Baral, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Even mineral makeup can cause irritation.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Is 5:2 the solution?

It is healthier for skin to be makeup-free, but cleansing techniques and the type of makeup you use are definitely a factor in your skin’s health.

Meaning the same, probably tiresome, skincare advice still holds true. When it comes to makeup, less is more, whether it’s how much you wear on a daily basis or the cosmetic ingredients. Because all makeup can be clogging, it will never hurt to give your skin a break.

If you’re seriously struggling with skin issues, consider seeing a dermatologist. Acne could be a sign of some other health issue. And, as boring as it may be, a healthy diet and proper hydration always benefits your skin. So, go forth and 5:2, 5:1, or 5:3 your face. Better yet, just be kind to your skin, properly cleaning your face.

Since washing, exfoliating, and moisturizing can be tricky, especially with all the products on the market, always go for the most gentle formula you can find — this usually means the most natural. Because all skin is different, pay attention to how your skin reacts to each individual product that you add to your routine.

The dermatologists at the American Academy of Dermatology have put together a great guide to use as a starting point:

  1. Use a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser that does not contain alcohol.
  2. Wet your face with lukewarm water and use your fingertips to apply cleanser. Using a washcloth, mesh sponge, or anything other than your fingertips can irritate your skin.
  3. Resist the temptation to scrub your skin because scrubbing irritates the skin.
  4. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry with a soft towel.
  5. Apply moisturizer if your skin is dry or itchy. Be gentle when applying any cream around your eyes so you do not pull too hard on this delicate skin.
  6. Limit washing to twice a day and after sweating. Wash your face once in the morning and once at night, as well as after sweating heavily. Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, irritates the skin. Wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.

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