What To Know About Skin Detoxing
7 minutes read
While there is no such thing as ‘skin detox’ from a medical perspective, detoxification, or detox, is such a popular buzzword in the health, beauty, and wellness space and is shrouded by many misconceptions.
Beauty Daily speaks to three leading experts about skin detoxing, along with six expert-approved and evidence-based ways to rejuvenate your body’s detoxification system to flush all the toxins out.
What does it mean to detox?
One way or another, we’re all guilty of going on a ‘detox.’ But do we even know what it means ‘to detox’?
Our fad diet culture has interchangeably used it with the term ‘to reset’ our system and give our bodies some leeway from all the junk we’ve consumed. May it be before the summer season, after the festive merriment, or every time we’ve slacked off in the healthy living department.
Some claim detox diets lead to weight loss, improved digestion, improved hair, nails and skin, improved energy levels, boosted immune system, among others. However, medical practitioners are not so convinced.
“The idea behind ‘detoxing’ is that we need to clear our bodies of ‘toxins’ to stay healthy. While it’s perceived as a bona fide trend, the premise behind detoxing is nonsense,” Dr Sammie Gill PhD, RD, Specialist Gastroenterology Dietitian, and Scientific Research and Development Manager at Symprove, says.
Adding: “This is except for specific medical conditions. Your body is well adapted to get rid of anything it doesn’t need. It has its built-in ability to remove waste and toxins.”
The skin, gut, liver, and kidney are responsible for continually detoxifying the body from head to toe by responding to signals to remove waste products or unwanted substances. The British Dietetic Association (BDA) says that there are no pills or specific drinks, patches or lotions that can do a ‘magic job.’
When it comes to drinking alcohol, if you overindulge and do not leave time for the liver to recuperate, it can become seriously damaged.
“Alcohol is a toxin, which your body, and liver specifically, must process, break down and remove from your system. If you overload the liver with toxins – not just from alcohol but from daily life – it can become sluggish and less efficient. This can lead to fewer antioxidants, more oxidative stress, and more inflammation,” Nutritionist Maria Marlowe explains.
What is the difference between skin detoxing and purging?
“Detoxing and purging are both made up terms so that they can mean different things to different people. In my view, detoxing essentially means the skin doing its own natural thing to get back to a healthy balance after toxic skincare products, an unhealthy diet, and other stressors are removed.
This can be through internal cellular processes, which then remove toxins through the liver and kidneys, the normal bodily process, or through gradual cell turnover, as the body replaces all skin cells completely just about every three months,” Dr Jessica Krant, M.D. New York-based Board-Certified Dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Centre.
Skin purging, on the other hand, refers to the skin’s reaction to a specific active ingredient such as retinol, which triggers rapid cell turnover causing the skin to exfoliate and bring congestion to the surface.
Dr Krant, an active member at the American Academy of Dermatology says: “Shifts in diet cause shifts in hormonal balance, which can lead to breakouts, and it can take a while with new products to learn how not to overstimulate and irritate the skin, which also leads to breakouts.”
How long does it take skin to adjust to a new product?
Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager, says that it would take some time to see the actual result of skincare products “This is because they have to pass through some layers such as the lower dermis or dermis before it reaches the surface.”
Adding: “My advice for anyone trying any new skincare routine or a product is to be patient. There is a misconception about samples. Sometimes, they would come back and say ‘It’s hasn’t done anything.’
We don’t expect a sample that lasts three days to affect things like fine lines, wrinkles, breakout etc. because that’s not long enough. The reason we give samples is to check that you are happy with features like the texture,” she explains.
Experts say it takes two to eight weeks for the skin to become used to new skincare products, and only then can you start to see results. You may notice a negative effect on your skin, such as dryness, redness and spots that are completely normal.
Six expert-approved ways to skin detox to clearer, healthier skin
Dr Gill, an active member of the British Dietetic Association says: “The skin is the largest organ in the body and is constantly exposed to environmental factors such as dirt, grime, pollution so looking after your skin from the inside out is important.”
Eat a balanced diet
“My system for promoting skin ‘detoxing’ includes shifting to a whole-food, plant-based diet that does not contain processed carbohydrates, junk food, saturated fats, or excessive oils of any kind. When we make our bodies healthy, our healthy organs take care of the detoxing,” Dr Krant advises.
2. Make sure to stay hydrated
The NHS says we should drink 6 to 8 cups or glasses of fluid a day. Water, lower-fat milk and sugar-free drinks, including herbal teas, all count.
Contrary to popular belief, tea and coffee also contribute to daily fluid requirements – just be mindful of the amount (maximum of 4 regular cups of coffee or 4-6 cups of tea, equating to approximately 400mg),” Dr Gill says.
3. Prioritise your gut health
Remember that your gut and skin are connected through what we call the gut-brain axis and by looking after your gut (and gut microbes), you’ll be indirectly looking after your skin too.
To keep the gut healthy, eat plenty of fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, miso, tempeh, kombucha or even natural live yoghurt and consider a probiotic supplement.
4. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Cut down on alcohol, don’t smoke, exercise, and get 7-9 hours of sleep.
5. Commit to a good and gentle skincare routine
Slow down with the use of acids and actives as they result in sensitivity, irritation and they may compromise your skin’s barrier function. Experts suggest that going back to a gentle skincare routine can be considered a type of skin detox and help you get your skin back on track.
Beauty Daily’s pick is the Velvet Cleansing Milk. This creamy cleansing lotion is enriched with a Gentle Complex from ‘Le Domaine Clarins’. The organic yellow gentian and organic lemon balm cleanses and comforts the skin while respecting the balance of the microbiota. It is also an anti-pollution cleanser in the sense that it draws impurities away from the skin and is composed of antioxidant plant ingredients. In the morning, make sure to wear a broad-spectrum SPF.
Pro Tip: Make it a non-negotiable part of your skincare routine to double cleanse (the process of cleansing twice in the morning and again in the evening). This is a good way to remove all sorts of make-up, impurities, toxins and pollutants from the skin.
Read Next: Your Skincare Routine Order Explained
6. Try lymphatic drainage massage
Another proven way to remove toxins is lymphatic drainage. The fluid in the lymphatic system helps remove waste and toxins from the bodily tissues; however, it needs a little help to keep the flow going. This is where the lymphatic drainage massage comes in handy, as it helps to speed up the removal of waste and toxins from the body.
You can do this via DIY body or facial lymphatic massage or in a spa.
Skin & Beauty