“Detox” has been one of the trendiest buzzwords of recent years. You might’ve tried a matter of diet detoxes with juice cleanses and meal plans after extra indulgent vacays. Or maybe you drank detox tea to get rid of excess bloat before a big event (where you’ll potentially be in a tight dress). But what about a detox for the biggest organ in your body?
No matter what you think about the trending buzzword, you can’t deny there are days when your skin could use a detox. Some days our skin is extra dull or breaking out, especially after long vacations, and we know it’s because we slept in our makeup, ate too much bad food, neglected our skin after beach days, or, god forbid, all of the above. If any other part of your body isn’t functioning properly, from your gut (too much junk food) to your brain (too much stress), it can show up on your skin because your pores get clogged up when trying to compensate for the other incorrectly functioning systems in your body.
A facial detox means dedicating one week (or whatever your schedule allows) to removing all impurities, toxins, pollutants, and dead skin cells possible to renew and revitalize your skin back to how it normally looks — or, maybe if you detox right, better than it’s ever been before.
Start With The Facial
A proper facial can clean out your pores more thoroughly than a normal skincare routine can. Treating yourself to a facial (complete with a face massage!) might be the most relaxing thing you’ve splurged on for yourself in a long time, meaning an amazing de-stressor while your pores get cleaned. Start off your detox the cleanest way possible with a facial at your preference of dermatologist or spa, or learn how to do your own spa-level facial at home (don’t forget the face massage!).
Cleanse Twice A Day (The Right Way for You)
Cleansing should be a daily habit, of course, but no matter your typical skincare routine, a skin detox requires cleansing morning and night. Be mindful of your skin type when choosing which cleansers to use. It’s important to note that you do not have to, and maybe should not, use the same cleanser for both times every day. If you have drier skin, an oil cleanser in the morning and foam cleanser at night will be cleansing, gentle, and hydrating. If you have oilier, more acne-prone skin, a water-based gel in the morning and at night would be beneficial to get out all of the build-up.
Steam Your Face Clean
After cleansing, exposing your skin to steam is crucial to allow the ingredients to penetrate pores and extract as much grime as possible. If you don’t have a steam shower, it’s simple, easy, and totally free to make your own. Bring a pot of water to boil, then transfer the water to a bowl. Hover your face above the bowl and drape a towel over your head to concentrate the steam to your facial pores for about ten minutes.
Make Mud Masks Your Best Friend
Formulas with clay or mud draw out the most impurities in the top layers of the skin. Dilute any mask with warm water and leave it on only until it soft, not totally dried. We have it programmed into our brains to leave on masks until they’re cracking and our faces can’t move (we’ve all felt the pain when you need to laugh or yawn with a dried mud mask on). But this tactic actually dries out our skin and strips it of essential oils that are key in keeping the skin hydrated and clean. Apply the mask every other day for the duration of your detox.
Properly Hydrate and Protect Your Skin
Serums should be used twice daily in the morning and at night, as they not only hydrate, but also allow whatever ingredients you put on top of them to sink deeper into your skin, allowing better results. Morning routines should follow serums with moisturizer and sunscreen (as well as any other preferred products for your skin type), and night routines should be followed by a night moisturizer, cream, or mask (also depending on skin type). Add in a facial oil to your routine at least twice that week for best results (even if you have oily skin — bacteria doesn’t grow in the right facial oils and does not clog pores). If your skin is dry, dull, or sensitive, add in some hydrating/cooling sheet masks as well.
Drink Lots of Water (and Only Water!)
The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily water intake to around 91 ounces (this number varies depending on your gender, weight, etc.). While this is the daily recommendation to eliminate toxins from your body and stay hydrated, very few people actually get this much, and on top of that, they’re drinking dehydrating liquids like coffee, sugary juices, and alcohol. I am by no means a fan of cutting out any of these crucial categories from my life. But if your skin is asking for help, maybe a break from these liquids will do it good. At least for your detox days, while your skin is being cleaned from the inside out, swap your morning cup (or three) of coffee for hydrating and skin-clearing green tea. Avoid alcohol, sugary juices, and all other liquids except water/tea and try your best to get your daily recommendation.
Detox Through Diet
Yes, even in a skin detox you may have to be careful with what you eat. If you’re like me and love your mac n’ cheese and milkshakes, it’s a tough reality to face that these are not helping how your skin looks. For a total skin rejuvenation, it’s important to adapt your diet to your skin cleansing goals. Stay off dairy products, fried foods, and added sugar, which are all pore-clogging and skin-dulling, for the duration of your detox. Instead, opt for lots of alkaline-rich fruits and veggies like pears, broccoli, kale, watermelon, and bananas. Alkaline minerals (like calcium, magnesium, and potassium) keep skin strong (and hair, bones, and teeth, just for added bonus points). Glow from the inside out with healthy fats like avocados and walnuts.
The key to any detox is implementing what you enjoyed from it into your everyday life, to continue to see results after the detox is over. You may not be able to promise your skin that you’ll always say no to greasy pizza or spicy margaritas, or that you’ll keep up with facials and daily steams, but you can put more care and effort into your daily skincare and add foods into your diet that you feel make a difference. With minor changes like that, your skin won’t need a detox very often!