As the new year dawns, we will be bombarded with messages of dieting and detoxing. Detox your body, detox your skin etc! This idea that you can somehow wash away the fast food, sugar, and alcohol you consumed over the holidays with juices, teas or other products is a complete pseudo-science.
If our bodies and our skin needed our help to flush out toxins, we would probably be dead by now. Our wonderful bodies come complete with their own internal detoxification system – our livers! Our liver was designed to detoxify the things we ingest and, in most cases, does a wonderful job.
Liver to the Rescue!
To “help” our liver with this job we should maintain a healthy diet but no amount of juice or herbal tea diets are going to magically flush “toxins” from our bodies. Moderation as always is the key – don’t overwhelm your liver by consuming too much fat, sugar, or alcohol.
Another way you can assist your liver with the detox process is by including bitters in your diet. Bitters can trigger the production of bile within our liver. Bile is what the liver uses to break down fat and detoxify what we consume.
Our liver contains bitter taste receptors and when they are activated, they trigger metabolic hormones. There are also studies that indicate that bitters can decrease lipid accumulation in the liver which leads to fatty liver disease. If you want to include some bitters into your diet you can add endive or dandelion leaves to your salads or consume burdock or artichoke leaf teas.
Supplements like teas and juices are unable to detox your body! There is no scientific evidence to support their use. A lot of detox teas at worst contain laxative like ingredients which can cause serious issues long term or at best will contain bitter herbs that will support your liver in doing the job it was designed to do. There are no magic solutions I’m afraid!
Detox Skincare Products
As well as detox products to use for dietary consumption we also see detox products featuring in skincare. There are clay based masks that promise to detox our skin, patches that we can stick to the soles of our feet and night creams that promise to detoxify our skin as we sleep!
But again there is confusion around the basic science here as toxins don’t leave the body via the skin. Yes, sweat does exit via the skin but sweat is mostly water plus urea, ammonia and salt. There are no toxins floating around in our skin that can be pulled out by a skincare mask.
Charcoal Face Masks
Your skin might feel cleaner and smoother after a clay mask. But charcoal in a clay mask is not going to “pull out toxins” through your skin. The clay and charcoal can get rid of grease and grime from the surface of the skin and they can help remove dead skin cells.
If they contain antioxidants then they can help protect the skin from environmental damage and pollution by neutralising the free radicals that are caused but they cannot pull toxins from your body.
How Can you Help your Skin?
If you are concerned about your skin health and want 2022 to be the year that you address your skin concerns then consider upgrading your skincare routine.
Recommended Skincare Routine
A good routine consists of five basic steps:
1. Cleanse – You should choose a cleanser that suits your skin type. Oil and balm cleansers are great for dry or mature skin, younger oilier skin will appreciate cream based or gently foaming cleansers. Ditch the cleansing wipes, avoid over stripping the skin. Give mechanical exfoliation (using salt/sugar/crushed seed or shell) a break, add a gentle AHA based product instead if you need exfoliation.
2. Hydrate – All skin types can do with humectants this time of year, add a hyaluronic acid based spritz or serum to boost skin’s hydration levels.
3. Treat – Use a serum to target specific concerns, whether that’s dull skin, puffiness, hyperpigmentation etc
4. Moisturiser – There is no need to splurge on this step, just find a mid-priced product that suits your skin type
5. SPF – Even in the winter the sun’s harmful UV rays can be present and we need to protect our skin from these always
If you are not sure what skin type you have sign up to Skin Trust Club, we will create a personalised skin care regime for you based on your unique skin microbiome!