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Everyone is fasting this week as the country is celebrating the Navratri festival with full zeal. Turns out, fasting the conventional way can have quite an impact on your skin. Hence, you need to find healthy ways to fast.
Ayurveda, too, suggests that fasting is a great way of detoxing your body but it only happens when you indulge in healthy practices like:
No wonder that Navratri fasting concentrates on healthy consumption such as fruits instead of complex restrictions. In fact, renowned dermatologists also believe that fasting can make or break your skin. Hence, fasting the right way is important.
Healthy fasting helps your body maintain a healthy balance. There are many skin benefits of fasting when done the optimal way. You see, fasting is considered to be a reboot for the gut microbiome which is the origin point for inflammation in the body in most cases.
When you fast, it improves the health of the gut so that the systemic inflammation of the skin reduces. The lowered inflammatory state in the gut makes the skin look younger, healthier, and clearer. In addition, fasting increases the body’s metabolic activity, which also leads to a healthy body and skin.
“When we fast, our body starves for a prolonged period of time which leads to several metabolic changes. Our body derives energy from the food we eat. In the absence of food, it goes through a process called gluconeogenesis in which our body banks on the stored fats to derive glucose (energy),” explains Dr Nivedita Dadu, dermatologist, founder & chairman of Dadu Medical Centre.
She added, “During this process, the body extracts glucose from the non-carbohydrate sources, such as amino acids. Fasting leads to higher levels of purines and pyrimidine in the body which increases the level of antioxidants in the body, improving the overall health and the condition of our skin too. The increase in antioxidants helps in sustaining a balance while the body is starving. This happens to be the body’s natural mechanism to deal with starvation. This further helps in building back the loss caused due to oxidative stress and free radicals. Hence, it helps the skin to fight against ageing.”
Following unhealthy and extensive fasting to lose weight can simply affect your overall health and the signs of it will be pretty evident on the skin. Depending on the length of the unhealthy fasting, you may experience headaches, lethargy, crankiness, and constipation. Avoiding food and water may drastically bring down the blood sugar levels, resulting in hypoglycemia.
“If you’re already marginal as far as body weight goes, there are high chances that fasting will affect you. You may lose too much weight which can affect the bones, overall immune system, and energy level. Dietary restrictions during fasting can also influence the progression of many skin diseases such as atopic eczema, psoriasis, and acne. In extreme cases, skin fasting can also cause skin cancer,” warned Dr Dadu.
Overdoing extreme dieting can, in fact, cause as much damage to the skin as unhealthy eating.
“During unhealthy fasting, our skin goes through a lot, including trans-epidermal water loss, dehydration, sebum production, and keratinocyte proliferation,” said Dr Dadu.
So, ladies, Navratri fasts are an excellent way of detoxing the body but make sure you don’t starve yourself or eat unhealthy during this festive season to ensure your skin stays healthy. Remember, it is important to strike a balance.