'Detox' has emerged as a popular concept in recent years and almost everyone will have, at the very least, encountered references to detox diets, detox fasting, abstinence from certain substances and cleansing therapies. All with the intention of removing toxins from the body and improving some aspect of health.
While some of these detoxes have questionable scientific merits, one part of the body which can certainly benefit from a detox process, where impurities are removed, is the body's single largest organ - the skin.
Moreover, there are many different components which help to make up a genuinely useful and effective detox for the skin.
We will now take a closer look at some of the benefits of the detox process on your skin, examine some of the components that make up a successful detox for the skin and explain how you can take steps to remove impurities and improve the health of your skin.
1. Drink Water
As a simple first step to detox the skin, you should drink water as much as possible and try to eliminate soft drinks and other unhealthy fluids, some of which, such as caffeine and alcohol, can actually dehydrate the skin.
Ideally, people living in the UK or countries with similar climates should be aiming to drink around two litres of water each day. If you require an alternative to water, try to turn to things such as green tea, rather than soft drinks, energy drinks or sugary squashes.
Water truly does do so much more for the body than simply quenching our thirst. It does everything from regulating body temperature and lubricating the joints to assisting in cellular renewal, digestion and nutrient absorption.
Biological processes such as breathing and digestion create waste products including urea and carbon dioxide, and these can be harmful if allowed to build up in the body. So water also provides a detox for the skin and the rest of the body by helping to remove waste products and eliminating them in the urine, sweat and breath.
2. Cut Out Sugar and Processed Foods
It’s important to adopt a holistic approach to a detoxing skin and while a skincare regime will certainly help, there are other steps that can be taken. One of the most significant is related to diet and in addition to improving digestion, certain foods and drinks can improve in detoxing skin. At the same time, there are also things to try to stay away from.
Sugar and processed foods are “thought to be at the root of today’s public health crises” including obesity and the development of chronic lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even certain cancers.
These conditions interfere with our natural detoxifying processes as they can cause harm to the important detox organs, the liver and kidneys.
That’s why we advocate for an alkaline diet, rich in vegetables, eand and pulses and low in animal protein, sugar, saturated fat and salt.
Starting with a seven day 100% alkaline detox, consuming an 80% alkaline diet thereafter is great for overall health and detoxing skin.
3. Keep Those Fingers Away From Refined Sugars
Various studies have shown that the skin benefits greatly from restricting refined sugars. While unrefined sugars in things like brown rice have nutritional value, refined sugars do not.
Worse still, they can spike insulin levels, causing skin inflammation - all the more reason for a skin detox. Try to avoid sources of refined sugar: cookies, doughnuts, ready-made sauces, etc.
4. Reach for the Fruits and Vegetables
A good detox skin diet is one that contains plenty of fruit and vegetables; especially leafy green vegetables.
Healthy fats are also vital for maintaining both healthy skin and hair, so try to include sources of these in your diet too. Examples include nuts and seeds, while olive oil is a good addition to a salad.
5. Avoid Alcohol
A detox for healthy skin also means staying away from alcohol as much as possible, avoiding smoking and while it’s important to get some sun exposure, taking precautions.
More than 90% of alcohol that enters the body is broken down by the liver, overloading an already busty organ with extra work. The enzymes in the liver break alcohol molecules down into acetaldehyde, which is linked to certain cancers.
The body knows that acetaldehyde is a toxin, and so it breaks it down into acetate, which is harmlessly laminated from the body. Even so, excessive drinking will slow down this process, which can lead to health problems including inflammation and scarring of the liver. This kind of damage then means that the liver is unable to perform its detoxing duties as efficiently.
Caffeine is also a diuretic and can contribute to problems like dry skin and dark circles and should also be avoided during a detox for healthy skin.
6. Face Mask
A purifying clay mask, used once or twice a week, will go a long way towards detoxifying the skin and preventing breakouts.
7. Salt Baths
Using bath salts, such as epsom salts , sea salt or alkaline salt is a good natural remedy for the skin and can help to alleviate symptoms associated with a variety of skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis.
They can also assist with the removal of dead skin cells, making the skin appear smoother and less dull. Perfect as a detox for skin health!
8. Dry Brushing
Dry brushing once a day, before a bath or shower, has been shown to unclog pores, exfoliate dead or damaged skin and improve circulation, giving skin a healthier appearance.
9. Focus on Good Quality Sleep
When we sleep, our brain recharges and organises all the thoughts and feelings from the day.
During this time, the brain also oversees the removal of toxic waste products that have built up whilst we were awake. One of these waste products is beta amyloid, a protein that can form plaques in the brain that are associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Therefore getting enough good quality sleep is essential for our overall health and to support good detoxification systems.
If we suffer a chronic lack of sleep, our brain cannot perform these important functions, leading to the buildup of toxins that can impact the body and the skin.
Adults are advised to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. If you’re struggling, follow these NHS approved tips for good sleep hygiene.
10. Don't Underestimate the Power of a Good Skincare Regime
Committing to a robust skincare regime has powerful detox effects on skin health. However, this regime should not rely on products which are overly acidic or filled with harsh chemicals, as these can strip the skin of its natural oils, which is counter-productive.
For this reason, ideally, you should look to buy skincare products that are alkaline based, with a pH score higher than seven. Many cosmetic products have a pH score of around 5.5 and this indicates they are acidic. Alkaline products will help to keep skin cells in their natural pH range and protect the skin's natural barrier.
When undergoing a sensitive skin detox, the products you need are as follows - a high-quality cleanser is essential and this should be used with warm water each day, first thing in the morning and last thing at night before bed. Cream cleansers are preferable to more abrasive cleansers, as these can cause irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin types.
This skin cleanse can then be supplemented with a day cream, which can be applied throughout the day, as needed, in order to keep skin hydrated. Then, a high-quality night cream will lock in moisture through the night and provide anti-aging benefits, by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Sönd's Rebalance and Reset Cream Cleanser, Calming Hydration Day Cream and Overnight Replenishment Night Cream are all ideal for this, because they share the same pH score, meaning they can be used together without restricting any of the benefits of the individual products. The regime can be enhanced through use of a detox mask a couple of times a week.
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.