I’ve had a flabby tummy ever since I can remember, so after my first 2 days dry fast, I stared at the mirror, stunned: my waist had shrunk, my belly was tighter, and I even had a six-pack!
Does dry fasting tighten loose skin? Dry fasting triggers the process of autophagy or ‘self-eating,’ which removes unneeded protein, cells, and tissues in your body, including loose skin. Dry fasting also increases human growth hormone and stem cell regeneration, helping to rejuvenate skin.
However, your ability to get this miraculous hack sprucing up your skin depends on a few factors. Let’s skewer the science.
How does dry fasting tighten loose skin?
There are many reasons for the loss of skin elasticity: smoking, alcohol, sunburn, stress, genetics, nutrition, weather, and, of course, aging; as you age, there’s a natural decline in your skin’s health, elasticity and collagen content, so it doesn’t bounce back like it used to.
Your skin also expands or contracts depending on the need: when you put on weight, the skin’s elastic tissue gets stretched out; when you lose weight, it contracts. In many cases, however, excessive weight loss can lead to flabby skin since most people who shed these pounds are unhealthy; the saggy state of their skin reflects that (more on this later).
In all of these bleak scenarios, your once sweet, supple skin is no longer the lovely thing it used to be. It’s just laying there, not really doing much, like a slab of flab.
And this is precisely when dry fasting saves the day.
There are several kinds of fasting. The most popular is intermittent fasting, a type of time-restricted water fasting. Water fasting means no food, only water; dry fasting means no food and no water either.
However, a dry fast is water fast on steroids: 1 day of dry fasting equals 3 days of water fasting. It takes 3-5 days (72-120 hours) to reach the maximum spike in skin-boosting benefits during water fasting. During dry fasting, that spike happens in 1 day (24 hours).
Fasting creates a series of metabolic processes for the body to survive with its limited resources, and your body starts changing its fuel source from sugar to fat, resulting in a surge of autophagy, stem cell regeneration, and growth hormone secretion.
Autophagy is your bad skin’s mortal enemy; it destroys damaged organelles, proteins, viruses, and bacteria, consuming the least needed proteins like dead cells, cancer cells, skin tags, and loose skin. Autophagy also increases fibroblast production, which creates more collagen, improving skin elasticity.
Autophagy works magic to maintain cellular health and is possibly the best-known benefit of fasting. This award-winning study done by Kuma & Mizushima talks about autophagy as an intercellular recycling system.
But your body doesn’t just enjoy a spike in flabby-skin-eating autophagy during a dry fast; we get more human growth hormone (HGH) and stem cell regeneration in our system as well.
HGH tightens loose skin by reducing fat tissue from accumulating and increasing muscle mass. More muscle mass means more bulking and filling out of loose skin. The hunger from dry fasting also causes you to secrete more ghrelin which also increases growth hormone secretion.
This article describes how growth hormone is secreted up to 300% more during 5-day water fast; another study on men showed growth hormone increased 5x in 48 hours. This study shows how artificial doses of HGH can increase muscle mass and even makes skin thicker!
Finally, during a dry fast, we get a surge of stem cell activity. Stem cells are those remarkable cells that can develop into multiple types of cells, which means the regeneration of new skin cells. This study on mice and humans shows how stem cells activate during a prolonged water fast of 2 to 4 days—less than 24 hours of a dry fast!
How to promote healing loose skin with dry fasting?
Proper nutrition during dry fast refeeding windows
Increase your intake of collagen. Collagen can improve our skin by making it more supple and elastic. You can find collagen in tendon meats, bone broths, salmon, and sardines. Eat leafy greens like kale, spinach, high in sulfur, needed for producing collagen.
Collagen supplements, as well as gelatine supplements, can also help with skin elasticity. Gelatine can also be naturally resourced in chicken feet and oxtail.
Eat foods high in vitamins and minerals. Vitamin E is essential for skin health because of antioxidants (almonds, spinach, avocados, and sunflower seeds). Vitamin A supports healthy skin production (sweet potatoes, kale). Omega 3 (oily fish, algae products, spirulina, chlorella) helps boost stem cell production.
For more ideas on losing loose skin after weight loss, check out this article.
Stop bad lifestyle habits
Stop smoking and drinking alcohol, especially around the dry fasting periods, as both dehydrate and age the skin, and work against rebooting skin health.
Do resistance training exercises
If you can exercise, especially during a shorter dry fast (less than 24 hours is safer, especially if you’re a beginner), choose resistance training exercises like yoga and light weight-lifting. In the periods before and after dry fasting, also do more resistance training.
The growth hormones released during the dry fast increase muscle mass, which helps bulk up the body and fill out the skin, so it’s healthy and taut. Avoid too many high-impact cardio exercises that can help lose fat but build muscle, resulting in more loose and flabby skin.
Increase dry fasting regularity and duration
Try to incorporate regular dry fasting into your lifestyle. You want to activate autophagy as often as possible, which allows the skin to heal itself and remove harmful cellular debris. Regularly dry fasting for 24 hours and intermittent dry fasting daily can help with this.
Once you are used to drying fasting up to 24 hours, you can try pushing it up to 12-hour intervals; 3-5 days of dry fasting is not too challenging when you become comfortable with extended periods of dry fasting, which completely resets the whole body.
According to Dr. Sergey Filonov, the Russian doctor who has conducted numerous trials on dry fasting over the last 20 years, there have been accounts of people who have dry fasted over 11 days and cured themselves of skin diseases and other degenerative diseases.
I would recommend more cyclical dry fasting, for instance, 24 hours, 2 or 3 times a week, and daily intermittent dry fasting.
You can also incorporate more prolonged water fasting into your fasting lifestyle and mix that up with dry fasting cycles. However, all the metabolic processes that surge during long water fast (autophagy starts around the 1st day of water fasting, reaching a high on the 3rd or 4th day) are activated much quicker in dry fasting—which is a much more efficient way to enjoy benefits.
Can intermittent dry fasting help tighten skin?
The verdict is yes; even intermittent dry fasting (IDF) helps with loose and saggy skin. We could potentially start reaping skin regeneration benefits with intermittent dry fasting in as many as 12 IDF hours. However, it does take longer to get results.
Not many people have consistently practiced IDF, and there hasn’t been enough research done on long-term IDF, although the science does back this up.
Some sources in forums claim to be on IDF, about 14-16 hours daily, for several years, and have seen incredible results with their skin health and elasticity, with some declaring IDF has made their skin look 10-30 years younger.
Why do people who lose excessive weight have loose skin?
People with massive weight loss usually weren’t healthy, to begin with, and have unhealthy skin that can’t spring back into shape. However, most of those with excessive weight loss also achieved it through dieting, not fasting.
Most weight loss methods use different diets and calorific restrictions or attempt shorter periods of fasting, which doesn’t activate the similar metabolic processes and pathways that allow the body to heal itself. Here’s a success story on how weight loss affects loose skin when combined with fasting.
The world has simply not caught up with this knowledge since most of the accounts of dry fasting for loose skin have been on forums or anecdotal. Dr. Jason Fung, a fasting expert, has used the accounts and examples of Holocaust victims to prove that prolonged periods of water fasting helps the skin rejuvenate itself.
Now that you know the skin-saving powers of dry fasting, I hope you’re excited about how dry fasting also helps with rapid weight loss and age reversal. Because that’s precisely what I teach in my new video course, 25 Again! The Dry Fasting Lifestyle For A Younger, Slimmer You. See you there!
***Disclaimer: I am not a doctor/ physician, and although I have a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science, I cannot and do not hold myself to be a medical professional (“Medical Provider”). This article does not contain medical /health advice. The medical/ health information here is for general and educational purposes only. It is my opinion, based on my research and personal experience, and not a substitute for professional advice by your health care provider. Please consult with a professional before acting on the information here, and do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical attention because of anything you read in this article. THE USE OR RELIANCE OF ANY OF THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.***
- Dunning, August. The Phoenix Protocol Dry Fasting for Rapid Healing and Radical Life Extension: Functional Immortality. August Dunning , 2020.
- Coutinho, Luke. Dry Fasting Miracle. EBURY PR, 2020.
- Filonov, Sergey. 20 Questions & Answers About Dry Fasting . Translated by Vera Giovanna Bani , Siberika , 2019.
- Fung, Jason, and Jimmy Moore. The Complete Guide to FASTING: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting. Victory Belt Publishing, 2016.
- Kuma A, Mizushima N. Physiological role of autophagy as an intracellular recycling system: with an emphasis on nutrient metabolism. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2010;21(7):683-690. doi:10.1016/j.semcdb.2010.03.002
- Edén Engström B, Burman P, Holdstock C, Karlsson FA. Effects of growth hormone (GH) on ghrelin, leptin, and adiponectin in GH-deficient patients. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003;88(11):5193-5198. doi:10.1210/jc.2003-030713
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- L Hartman, J D Veldhuis, M L Johnson, M M Lee, K G Alberti, E Samojlik, M O Thorner, Augmented growth hormone (GH) secretory burst frequency and amplitude mediate enhanced GH secretion during a two-day fast in normal men, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 74, Issue 4, 1 April 1992, Pages 757–765, https://doi.org/10.1210/jcem.74.4.1548337