Specifically, intermittent fasting can trigger autophagy, a “self-cleaning” process that clears out old, damaged cells and proteins to make room for new, healthy ones. And autophagy comes with loads of purported benefits, including enhanced brain health, blood sugar control, longevity—and, yep, glowing skin. 

See, your skin cells also respond to this renewal process: When autophagy is kicked on, dull, damaged cells are replaced by younger ones (and younger, spry cells appear brighter). Consider board-certified dermatologist Keira Barr, M.D., another expert on board: “Fasting not only reboots the gut microbiome, which helps [support a balanced inflammatory response] and improve skin health, but it also stimulates autophagy, our cells’ self-cleansing process that breaks down and recycles damaged molecules and cellular organelles, which contributes to cell longevity,” she once shared with mbg. 

Perhaps this goes without saying, but you can’t only fast your way to a youthful, bright complexion. Yes, autophagy does have potential skin care benefits, but it’s not the only way to tend to your skin. Think of IF as a boost you can throw in once in a while (and only if you’re able—remember, fasting isn’t for everyone). “If you combine clean skin care products with the right diet, and autophagy [with] intermittent fasting, you are going great guns at trying to get yourself as youthful as possible,” says Youn.