Written by Felicity Downes-Caspit (Naturopath, BNat.)
The term ‘detox’ gets thrown around a lot these days, but are we all really that toxic? Can we really detox our skin? Scientists tell us that the only way to actually detox our bodies is through the action of our kidneys and liver. Generally, when we talk about skin detoxing, we’re talking about removing the buildup of dead skin cells along with the pollutants and dirt that we come into contact with on a daily basis
Detoxing allows your skin to function as it should, protecting you from bacteria and viruses while helping to regulate your body temperature and moisture loss. The health of your skin is very important, it has many vital functions and there are several ways in which you can help keep your skin functioning at its absolute best. Get your skin ready for the warmer months with some of these detoxing ideas.
Skin brushing is an effective way to keep your skin smooth and exfoliated, particularly after the during effects of winter. It’s also great for aiding blood circulation and encouraging lymphatic drainage. Lymphatic drainage is important as it helps to remove waste from the tissues in the body. To experience the benefits of skin brushing, all you need is a natural, stiff-bristled brush. Starting at your feet, work your way up towards your heart using gentle long upwards strokes, then repeat for your arms, starting from your hands and again, long strokes towards the heart. Once you have completed several overlapping strokes, jump in the shower and then finish with nourishing natural moisturiser.
Saunas have been used for hundreds of years for a variety of health conditions. The steam from a hot sauna makes your skin temperature rise and your blood vessels dilate, causing increased blood flow. This increase in blood flow encourages the body to produce sweat and therefore helps to flush out impurities via the pores of the skin, keeping it smooth and clear. Some people like to lightly exfoliate their skin whilst in the sauna with a gentle brush or loofah, this is thought to help stimulate the pores and aid in the detox process. You lose a lot of fluid while you’re sweating and you need to make sure that you’re replacing it to ensure that you stay well hydrated, so rehydrate with plenty of water once you have completed your sauna session. Saunas are not only well known for their skin detoxing properties but enthusiasts claim that they re great for reducing stress and encouraging deeper sleep.
Epsom salts have been used for years in both baths and foot soaks as part of a health regime. Epsom salts are a combination of both magnesium and sulphate which are easily dissolved in water and are touted as having many health benefits. Please talk to your doctor before you do a foot soak if you have diabetes as you will have special needs when it comes to foot care.
For a soothing foot bath, simply add 1 cup of Epsom salts to a foot bath full of warm water. Soak your feet for 30 minutes and finish with a soothing moisturiser.
Exfoliation is important to ensure that skin is smooth and pores are clear of dead skin cells and bacteria. Try this foot scrub recipe for smooth, fresh feet:
– 1 cup of Epsom salt
– 1/2 cup of olive oil
– 2 drops of essential oils such as lemon, lavender or peppermint
Gently massage into feet focusing on the soles and between the toes, rinse and pat dry.
MasksMany different types of clays such as bentonite or kaolin have long been used in various situations for drawing out impurities, often in the form of face masks. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you’ve probably tried a clay mask or two before. Clay is a negatively charged mineral which binds on to impurities and leaves behind minerals, so basically taking out the bad and leaving the good. The clay works by grabbing onto impurities such as dirt and excess oil, rinsing it all away after it dries, keeping your pores clear.
You can make your own clay mask with minimal ingredients to keep your skin clear and glowing.
Mix together in a small bowl:
– 1 tablespoon of kaolin or bentonite clay (available from health food stores)
– 1-2 tablespoon of water
– 2-3 drops of essential oil (lavender, rose or chamomile are nice)
Once mixed, apply to the face and leave to dry for 10-15 minutes. Once dry, rinse off with warm water. Try to use weekly.
As our largest organ, our skin needs to be kept well hydrated. The skin, like every part of the body, is made up of cells and these cells are mostly made up of water. By drinking at least 2 litres of pure water our skin is able to keep plump and moist rather than dry and flaky, which may potentially increase the occurrence of blocked pores and congestion. To keep your skin clean and clear, start with a good diet which is full of fresh fruit and veggies and plenty of fresh water. This will ensure that your skin is getting all the nutrients it needs to function efficiently, team your good diet with some of the suggestions above and prepare to see your skin glow