If you listen, skin speaks. Your skin is your body’s largest organ and has a huge impact on your overall health. It deserves to be heard. One of the loudest messages our skin gives us is that it’s time for a detox. If you don’t know the signs — if you aren’t tuned in — you may miss them. This lack of awareness can spiral out, leading to your skin not looking its best and other overall health issues.
There are many signs your body uses to communicate with you. They can be visual, physical, and/or emotional. Symptoms can come and go, change, or be persistent. However, once you learn what to look for, you have the power to be proactive and lessen the stress on your skin and body.
Here are some telltale phrases I hear that means it’s time for a detox:
- “I don’t know what is going on with my skin.”
- “My skin just changed. I can’t get enough moisture/It’s overproducing oil.”
- “Where did these pimples/blackheads come from?”
- “I feel so low energy and my skin isn’t glowing.”
Your skin is a wonderful window into your overall health. It provides clues and signs that we ought not ignore. I aim to have people do the entire detox process from the inside out. To garner the optimum results, I recommend internal cleansing as well. I suggest using the Be Well Cleanse detox protocol for the internal, in conjunction with Sumbody’s Detox skincare line for the external — a double whammy.
While most of us already know when we’ve been “overdoing” it in some form, this list can serve as a key to help determine if you need a detox:.
- White or yellow-coated tongue
- Bad breath
- Congested/uneven/enlarged pores, blackheads, or pustules
- Increased belly fat
- Abdominal bloating
- Inability to lose weight
- Acne, rosacea, itchy skin, extreme dryness, skin feels rough, bumpy and/or uneven skin
- Fatigue/waking up tired regardless of how many hours you slept
- Lowered immunity
- Frequent headaches
- Chemical sensitivity
- Under constant stress
- Carbohydrate and sugar cravings
- Needing caffeine for energy
- Dull, ruddy appearance of skin
- You, or someone you spent a lot of time with, is a smoker
- You are outdoors often
- You travel often
- Seasonal changes
- Overproduction of skin oils
Here are some of the causes of these issues — as well as the solutions:
Your skin reacts to what you eat. It can manifest in your overall complexion, luster, and glow, as well as how you feel. Dehydrating foods cannot only be counterproductive for your overall health, but a killer for skin. These foods include, but aren’t limited to: white sugar, white flour, alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, soda, and some dairy. Some of these foods are also inflammatory and can exacerbate skin issues, further necessitating a cleanse/detox. Dehydration and a lack of essential fatty acids can also lead to skin issues.
WHAT TO DO: Reduce your intake of the inflammatory foods listed above and choose healthier options. Drink herbal teas, turmeric milk, incorporate more dark leafy greens, avocado, chia and flax seeds, drink green vegetable juices that are not filled with fruits (I like to say eat your fruit and drink your greens), soak your seeds and nuts, drink plenty of water, and cook with roots such as turmeric, burdock, and ginger.
CHEMICALS IN COSMETICS
Chemical additives in cosmetics don’t just sit on top of your skin. They have transdermal penetration capabilities, allowing them to enter your bloodstream. This is especially true when products are filled with penetration-enhancers, like propylene glycol, which allow chemicals to more easily enter your bloodstream. Simultaneously, our bodies are bombarded and burdened with increased chemical exposure from cleaning supplies, clothing finishes, paints, and pollution. This taxes our bodies as well as our skin. Cosmetic chemicals in the “cone” family have become extremely popular, including dimethicone and silicone, and they can clog and congest pores, wreaking havoc on our skin.
WHAT TO DO: Dare to go bare! Use products free of toxins. Disregard the marketing on the label and read the ingredients list. Be wary of greenwashing jargon such as “all natural,” “chemical free,” and “toxin free.” JUST focus on the ingredients. With so many options, here’s a good rule of thumb: If you can’t read it or don’t know what it is, then skip it.
Frequent air and automobile travel also exposes us to extra toxins. The recycled air on airplanes is drying and can lead to congested pores. Exposure to exhaust fumes while commuting can clog and pollute pores. Other activities like sports, baking, and even gardening all have small particulates (dirt, flour) which mix with your skin’s natural oils, causing pore obstruction. Habits such as smoking or vaping also lead to skin and health issues and make detoxing a must.
WHAT TO DO: Hydrate inside and out, especially while traveling. Shower promptly after exercising and sweating. Wash your face after exposure to dirt and other particulates. Keep the car window open for fresh air if not in heavy traffic when there’s increased exhaust. Wash new clothes before wearing and give your skin a “breather.” Try going makeup free!
Simply put, it’s a killer, not to mention a HUGE skin ager. Most of us can’t avoid it, but we can learn to manage it.
WHAT TO DO: Make a list of your personal stress-busters. They could be anything from reading a book, spending time with friends and family, practicing yoga, exercising, walking, going to the movies, or laughing. Make sure you are making time to incorporate de-stressers into your life. Keeping this list will act as a reminder. Try to start and end your day with three deep belly breaths and remember to take deep, calming breaths throughout the day.
Hormones influence the development and function of skin.
WHAT TO DO: At different times in our lives, hormones can affect both our skin and overall health. If you feel hormones are playing a role in your skin/health issues, talk to your doctor.
PORE-CLOGGING OILS IN PRODUCTS
When pores are clogged, they cannot breathe and function properly. It accelerates the deterioration of collagen, which in turn accelerates aging.
WHAT TO DO: Not all oils are created equal and thus not all oils are beneficial for every part of your body. While cocoa butter, coconut butter, and shea butter in body lotions are wonderful for the neck down, I do not recommend using them on your face. Shea butter in small percentages in a face cream is fine, but since you likely don’t know the exact amount in a cream, I suggest skipping it. Look for non-pore-clogging oils, such as jojoba, argan, hemp, sunflower, avocado, tamanu, rosehip, and sea buckthorn.
Some other skin-care ingredients to look for when detoxing include activated charcoal, obsidian clay, deep sea mud, salt, burdock root, dandelion, elderberry, and Irish moss. Talk with your doctor before doing an internal detox. Fasting, juicing, and starving are not recommended as part of a healthy cleanse. Make sure your overall plan includes healthy foods, exercise, and plenty of rest and downtime. A healthier you is a happier you — and a happier you is a skin-glowing you!
Deborah Burnes is the CEO and co-founder of sumbody, a skincare company dedicated to all-natural, eco-friendly products.