Ramadan beauty secrets: Troubleshooting your biggest fasting-related beauty problems
Newsflash: Your stomach isn't the only thing rumbling for nutrients during Ramadan. As we all know, proper nutrition plays an integral part in skin, nail, and hair health, so letting the ball slip on the former is a surefire way to leave you spotty, dry, and deflated.
That being said, when it comes to breakouts, dehydration, and halitosis, it can difficult to pinpoint the exact cause, especially when there are multiple different factors involved. That's why we're here to help—ahead, find our guide to troubleshooting your Ramadan beauty concerns:
Problem 1: "My skin is breaking out!"
Nine out of ten times, we guarantee that the culprit behind your breakouts is your diet. We know it's tempting to reach for fatty, salty and sugary foods once Iftar hits and the cravings kick in, but—just as it is a bad idea any other time of the year—you should strongly consider not doing that. Gorging yourself on all the junk food of the world may be wildly satisfying in the moment, but it's bound to have dire immediate implications on your skin (and gut) health.
Instead, to prevent the breakouts before they can erupt, opt for a buka puasa meal that is rich in grains, veggies and fruit, and make sure to keep sugary and caffeinated drinks like coffee and cola to a minimum. That said, you don't have to be too sensible—a treat here and there won't make or break your skin. Just make sure to keep it all in moderation!
Further, the breakouts that you may be experiencing are probably, in part, due to poor hydration. Though it's true that drinking lots of water won't necessarily clear your skin, not drinking enough certainly won't do it any favours. As we all (hopefully) know, dehydrated skin tends to produce more oils to compensate for the lack of moisture in the skin, which leads to more breakouts. So, yeah—make sure you're drinking at least the bare minimum in the evenings.
As for dealing with your existing zits and blemishes, AHAs and BHAs are your best friend. Here are some of our favourites:
Problem 2: "My skin is so, so dry and dull!"
Once again, your hydration levels are to blame here (believe it or not: water intake is actually a massive theme in this guide). Now, while there isn't much you can do about your 2 litres a day pre-Iftar, there definitely are measures you can take to replenish hydration once the sun goes down. Firstly, make sure you're drinking your full 2 litres between Iftar and Sahur. Do it gradually, sipping regularly throughout the night as opposed to glugging the litres all at once and making yourself sick.
Secondly, you could also up the ante on your skincare routine—go harder on your moisturisers or, better yet, invest in some hydrating face masks to keep your skin moisturised and looking plump.
Problem 3: "My lips are perpetually chapped!"
This one is kind of a no-brainer, and it's unfortunately inevitable with Ramadan territory. However, there are a few remedies that you can employ throughout the day to keep your lips from flaking. The first is to exfoliate them—sugar lip scrubs are perfect for this, as long as you're rinsing thoroughly afterwards and not licking them off after you're done (duh). However, if you cannot be trusted, try an exfoliating lip balm like the Glow Recipe Watermelon Lip Pop, a 3-in-1 scrub-to-balm with exfoliating AHAs and hydrating watermelon extract. Alternatively, you could invest in any of our picks for the best lip balms:
Problem 4: "My hair is dry and limp!"
...Do we have to say it? It's your water intake and/or diet! Drink up is step one, but you should also be working on keeping hair-friendly foods on rotation. For example, topping up your supply of good fats like omega-3—this means peppering a few slabs of salmon or mackerel into your dinners or loading up on avocado toast in the wee hours of the morning (bonus points if you sprinkle some pumpkin seeds and walnuts over the top for an extra boost!). Further, try to be proactive with your vitamin C intake—on top of being excellent for your immune system, vitamin C is important in hair growth.
Problem 5: "My breath smells! Ew!"
Halitosis got you down? Join the club. An unfortunate reality of life is that bad breath comes hand-in-hand with dehydration—when bacteria is allowed to sit and stew between your teeth undisturbed for hours on end, there's bound to be a stench that follows. While the solution on any other day is simply to drink up, that is clearly not an option while fasting. Instead, what you can do is rinse your mouth regularly with mouthwash (or even water will suffice).
Further, not to point fingers, but your dental hygiene habits may also have something to do with your bad breath. While it's important to make sure you're flossing and tongue scraping every day of the year, Ramadan is when you should really be doubling down. If not for your sake, then at least for the sakes of those around you!
Find more Ramadan tips here.