For many, as soon as a New Year rolls around, a 'detox' is at the top of the to-do list. But how can a detox save your skin?
Detoxification is a natural process within each of our bodies, allowing the toxins and waste products from our diets and environments to be transformed into less harmful substances for excretion. Safely. Easily. Naturally. And happening all on its lonesome. Yep, even in that banging bod of yours, babe - promise.
However, if you're suffering from the post-holidays overindulgence and feeling less than tip-top, perhaps its time you lend that body of yours a hand.
You see, our skin is our largest organ. And, like our kidney, bowel + liver, it's an elimination organ, too - we tend to sweat out what we don't need. But if the rest of our important elimination organs are overrun and overworked... well, aaaalllll that waste starts trying to escape through our skin instead (HELLO, breakouts!).
So, babe: the time is here. Your New Year Skin Detox starts now. Here are our top tips for detoxing your skin.
1. C U T T H E C R A P
And when I say crap, I'm talking the nutrition-less stuff in your diet that's doing its gosh darn best to prevent skin magic.
r e f i n e d s u g a r
Whether it's breakouts you're battling, or age spots, or wrinkles, or cellulite, or just generally...dull skin - yep, you can thank the sugar for that. That delicious, dangerous, addictive white stuff creates a bit of a shitstorm in our bodies: it works to break down collagen whilst creating acidity and inflammation in the body. And, if that wasn't bad enough, it also robs once-healthy skin of vital nutrients and of hydration, preventing anti-ageing hormones from doing their thang.
Foods high in refined sugar can also wreak havoc by battering our blood sugar levels - as our insulin levels soar upon the wings of white, refined sugar, secretion of androgens and sebum soar too. And so hello, acne, old friend.
g l u t e n
Gluten makes up a group of proteins found in various cereal grains, including wheat, barley and rye. I don't believe gluten is the devil, fear reincarnated, etc. But gluten sensitivities and allergies - which can be quite tricky to diagnose - can cause digestive damage (impairing our ability to absorb skin-loving nutrients), inflammation (aggravating already-upset skin, and speeding up the ageing process), and compromised immunity (allowing the allergic response to take hold and present itself as a skin complaint, and increasing breakout healing time). Gosh damn it, gluten.
Gluten sensitivities have been linked to advanced ageing and skin redness, and there is also a strong link between coeliac disease and psoriasis (which is a tricky skin condition that a gluten-free diet might just help work wonders for).
d a i r y
I'll be honest with you: the odds of having acne + breakouts are higher if you eat dairy.
Conventional dairy products can cause an increase in the hormone (insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF1 for short) which plays a role in our sebum production, resulting in blemishes and acne once insulin levels are thrown out of balance - like if you're eating a fair bit of dairy, or opting for non-organic products, for example. In fact, that increase? We're talking a 10-20% rise in hormones - a direct flow-on effect of the antibiotics and hormones (which can also wreak havoc with your body's own hormone levels on their own, by the way) added to non-organic, conventional dairy products.
Oh, and think you're saving your skin and waistline by opting for skim milk products? Think again, babe. Our ability to absorb and process the comedogenic (aka breakout causing) components of dairy actually seem to increase when skimmed.
2. S W E A T I T O U T
Girl, you gotta get all up in an infrared sauna's grill quick smart!
Infrared Saunas are similar to regular saunas in that they warm the body; however, these heat the body directly with the light spectrum of natural sunlight (without the nasty UV rays!), as opposed to warming things up with very high temperatures such as in regular saunas. This makes them safer, less humid, much easier to tolerate, and more resistant to bacterial spread.
The infrared works to detoxify the body as you sweat. Studies show that 15-20% of the sweat dripped off during an infrared sauna sesh contains toxins, as opposed to 3-5% in a regular old sauna. Not only are the toxins expelled from your body and skin in an infrared sauna, but oxygen and essential nutrients work their way to the skin's surface in your blood, helping to improve the skin's texture, colouring, and elasticity.
The heat also enables easier flow of lymph throughout the body, giving the detoxification and immune systems a bit of a helping hand, and as cells activate in the heat, cell growth and repair is promoted.
The glow is real.
3. R E H Y D R A T E
And then rehydrate some more.
Drinking plenty of pure, filtered water each day helps to clear the skin (and our bods + brains) by supporting the elimination of toxins and waste via our kidneys, but also via the bowel (by preventing constipation and supporting elimination at the same damn magical time).
But make sure you're not going overboard - some of my clients drink litres upon litres of water until the cows come home in the hopes of helping their skin, only to end up flushing out all of the vital nutrients the skin needs and loves (sad face).
One way of finding the 'optimal' magic amount is to divide your weight (in kilograms) by 30 - e.g. 80kg divided by 30 = 2.6L of water.
Just don't forget to up it a little if you're exercising or sweating it out in the sauna that day (and to add an extra cup for each coffee or black tea you've had, too!).
4. T E A T I M E
I recommend a range of foods, nutrients, and more when working with my clients, but I especially love using herbs to promote detoxification in the body and skin. Some of my faves are:
B u r d o c k which is a depurative and diuretic herb, promoting the elimination of toxins and wastes through your wee (another reason making sure you're drinking plenty of water each day is so important) whilst working to cleanse and purify the blood as well as the skin.
C l e a v e r s is both a depurative and a lymphatic herb, helping to improve the circulation of lymph and cleansing of toxins throughout the body, making it a smart choice for the calming of inflamed lymph glands and treatment of chronic skin conditions.
Y e l l o w D o c k is purifying and cleansing, as well as a depurative herb, which makes it perfect for cleansing and clearing the skin. Yellow Dock is commonly used in the case of chronic skin conditions, including eczema, acne and psoriasis.
Which is exactly why I included them when I formulated our naturopathic-blend Detox Tea and Skin Tea. Duh.
5. R O L L I T O U T
Jade rollers are all the rage right now, and they honestly get a big tick of approval from me. These facial massage tools, with pure jade crystal, work to increase circulation, brighten the complexion, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and aid in lymphatic drainage. Lymphatic support is key to optimal detoxification. And, heck, if you get a free face massage out of it, why not?!
You can grab a roller here. Then, simply roll your favourite oil or moisturiser into the skin as you roll the tool in upward motions.
What's your fave way to reset skin, body + mind at the start of a New Year?
P.S. If your skin's in need of a little something something more than a New Year detox, or if you've tried these tips and just about everything else but still aren't seeing the clear skin you'd darn well kill for... book a one on one consult with me, and we'll get you on track, girlfriend.