Should You Take a Break From Products to Let Your Skin Breathe?

August 09, 2022
Jessica Harrington
By: Jessica Harrington | by L'Oréal
Derm DMs: How Important Is It to Take a Break From Products to Let Your Skin Breathe?

Between your morning skincare routine, evening skincare routine and wearing makeup during the day, it can feel like you’re constantly slathering products onto your skin’s surface. Beauty devotees are not known to go without their precious products. But it raises the question: How good is this habit for your skin? To answer this burning skincare inquiry, we spoke with two board-certified dermatologists to find out just how important it is to let your skin breathe by taking a break from products.

How Important Is It to Take a Break From Products?

There are differing professional opinions around this subject. While Craig Kraffert, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and President of Amarte Skin Care, doesn’t advise his patients to take part in the practice of skipping out on their skincare products, Purvisha Patel, MD, another board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare, does.


“It’s very important to let your skin breathe, or go without products for at least a few hours a day,” says Dr. Patel. “A good time would be when working out. Going product-free lets the sweat come out of the pores.”


However, dry skin types should be cautious when attempting a skin detox. “One of the biggest components of skincare is moisturization. Dry skin is subject to barrier breakdown and malfunction with resultant inflammation, oxidation and degradation,” warns Dr. Kraffert. 

If you have dry skin and you’re looking to cut back on skincare products as a whole, be sure to keep a gentle, hydrating cleanser in the mix. We love the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, which is formulated with ingredients to support your skin health. For example, the hyaluronic acid and ceramides included in this formula will help your skin retain moisture, therefore preventing that uncomfortable, stripped feeling.

According to Dr. Patel, people with oily skin have the most to gain from taking a product break. “Those with oily skin should take breaks regularly, as products can clog pores.” Again, we recommend keeping a face wash targeted toward removing excess sebum and unclogging pores in your lineup, like Thayers Blemish Clearing 2% Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Cleanser.

All of this is not to say that you should go without the most important product in your skincare regimen: sunscreen. Both Dr. Patel and Dr. Kraffert agree that SPF 30 or higher should never be skipped. “Unprotected skin is subject to increased damage from sun and wind exposure,” says Dr. Kraffert.

If you experience peeling, rashes, redness or irritation, it may be a sign that the skincare products you’re using are not a right fit. “If the skin needs a break from products in a specific regimen, it may be a sign that the regimen needs to be altered or replaced, not paused,” says Dr. Kraffert. “Products in consideration of intermittent discontinuation may not be worth using in the first place.”

The best way to determine if your skin needs a regular breather from your beauty products is to consult with your dermatologist.

Photo: Shutterstock

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