What You Need To Know About The 5:2 Skin Diet

For the past month, I've been on a diet. But maybe not the kind of diet you're used to; it was a skin diet. I know it sounds a little strange, but just like a food diet regulates what kind of food you put into your body, the 5:2 Skin Diet regulates what you put on your face. If you haven't heard of the 5:2 Skin Diet, its basic premise is that, each week, you should go two days without wearing any makeup so that your face has a detox of sorts. But to gain a better understanding of this diet, and because there's always helpful tips to reap the most benefits from a detox, I talked with skin expert, Indie Lee, to learn a little more about the 5:2 Skin Diet.

Because this diet is even supposed to help heal skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and dry skin; to make sure my (oily, acne-prone) skin reaped the most benefits, I wanted to make sure I understood the in's and out's of the detox. In short, the Skin Diet is meant to reverse any harm done by toxins or harsh chemicals found in makeup products. So the first step towards detoxing the skin is to make sure your beauty products don't contain these ingredients. Indie says to "avoid products with ingredients that end in "paraben," as well as BHA & BHT, DEA & MEA, siloxanes, talc, lead, and artificial dyes." Basically, the more natural the products, the better. And to really reap the most benefits from the 5:2 Skin Diet, it is also important to supplement with a healthy food diet.

Now that I was equipped with the proper insight into the 5:2 Skin Diet, I was prepared to try it for myself. Here's how it went.

The Experiment

I have oily, acne prone skin, so I'm always willing to try something new to help keep it in check. However, I was curious as to how effective the basic principle of not wearing makeup for two days was alone. So I decided to not change anything else about my skincare routine in order to test its efficacy. Honestly, though, I don't have the most regular face-washing routine. Some days I wash my face twice, some days it's only once. Some days I go through a full cleanse, toner, serum, moisturizer routine; and some days I just use a makeup remover and splash my face with water. I know my touch-and-go regimen is not the most helpful control for consistency's sake. But because this on-and-off-again routine does not significantly affect my skin, I thought it best to continue just doing my thing (if you will) while trying out the 5:2 Skin Diet. This way, any significant changes could be attributed to the diet instead of a newly regulated cleansing routine.

Per Indie Lee's recommendation, I made sure my two days off were consecutive days in the week. (She recommends using the weekend if you prefer to wear makeup during the work week.) However, because (as we know) plans change, my days off were not always the same two days. It was always towards the end of the week, though, so my two days were consistently between Thursday and Sunday. And because any skincare change should be given at least two weeks to tell its efficacy, I decided to stick with this diet for a month to really give it a chance. Here's how my skin responded:


Before beginning the diet, I had large pores, oily skin, and around three to five small spots on my face.

Week 0.5

At the half-week mark, I noticed a new pimple under my left eyebrow.

Week 1

By the end of the first week, the eyebrow spot was gone, but there was a new one under the right side of my nose.

Week 1.5

At this point, my skin looked about how it did before I began the detox.

Week 2

At week two I noticed a couple new spots on my nose and forehead.

Week 2.5

But in half a week they were gone. The only difference I found between the beginning of the detox and this point was a zit on my right temple.

Week 3

Aaaand my skin regulated itself again.

Week 3.5

I can't tell a difference, can you?

Week 4

By the last week, I had a new spot under my lip. And my skin was still oily and my pores still large.


Honestly, if there was an improvement in my skin, it wasn't significant enough for me to tell. While I do believe that the 5:2 Skin Diet can be effective, I think it probably works best as all diets do: One fix alone will not usually affect as much change as desired. Just like weight loss is the most successful when diet is paired with exercise, improved skin is probably the most successful when this skin diet is paired with a consistent skincare routine and a healthy food diet.

While on the detox, however, I did make sure to take note of my habits regarding my skin, per Indie's recommendation. I found that really analyzing what I did to impact my skin's health was extremely beneficial. This is because I now know other measures I can take to improve the quality of my skin besides simply wearing makeup less often. Of course I already knew that my skin regimen needs to be regulated so that I can reap the most benefits from my products. However, I didn't realize until this detox how much I actually touch my face throughout the day. The thought of how much extra dirt, oil, and bacteria I've been putting on my face is enough for me to want to implement more changes in my skincare. By being more conscious of my actions and choices, I can take more precautions toward having better skin. Because the best results come from the sum of the parts, not just by changing one thing.

Images: Miki Hayes