- 8 FAQs About So-Called Skin Detoxing
- Assess your current skin care routine
- Add exfoliation to your routine
- The same goes for sunscreen
- And don’t forget antioxidants and retinoids
- Limit foods and drinks that trigger skin flare-ups
- Stay hydrated
- 7 best face oils to add to your skin care routine — and which is right for you
- The Ultimate Skincare Routine According to Experts
- Combination Skin
- Oily and Acne-Prone Skin
- Dry Skin
- Sensitive Skin
- Morning Skincare Routine
- Evening Routine
- Pregnancy Skincare Routine
- Acne Scars
8 FAQs About So-Called Skin Detoxing
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If you spend a considerable amount of time online, you may have seen several headlines detailing the importance of “detoxing” your skin. And “detoxing” your home, your friendship group, pretty much your entire life.
Detoxing has become an overused term. But, just clean beauty and the growing wellness movement, “skin detoxing” is seen as a bonafide trend.
All, however, is not what it seems when you delve a little deeper.
To detox, in simple terms, means to remove toxins from the body. These can come from the environment, from your diet, and from lifestyle choices such as smoking.
Thankfully, there’s little you need to do to aid this process.
Your lungs, liver, kidneys, and colon have the ability to remove harmful substances all by themselves. (Substances in alcohol and cigarettes can, however, cause lasting damage.)
But that hasn’t stopped people from embarking on juice cleanses and fad diets in a bid to fully “detox.”
The trend has also encouraged the beauty industry to adopt detoxification. And there can be quite a bit of confusion over what this means.
Because the skin is the largest organ in the body and can therefore pick up dirt and grime, some believe it is possible to “purge” the skin and remove all the “bad” stuff that’s clogging pores. This isn’t really true.
“There’s no such thing as skin detox from a medical perspective,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Fayne Frey.
What you can do though is protect it from potential environmental toxins, such as pollution and UV rays.
All of these things — along with a poor diet and excessive cleansing and exfoliation — can deplete the skin’s outermost layer.
Also known as the stratum corneum or skin barrier, it helps keep skin healthy by blocking substances that can cause premature aging, among other damage.
“When people talk about ‘detoxing the skin,’ it’s more about what you can do to the surface to protect your skin from the outside environment more so than clearing out what’s on the inside,” says Dr. Ross Perry, medical director of CosmedicsUK.
Why? Because toxins can’t exit the body via the skin.
You can cleanse your skin as much as you want or leave it alone for extended periods of time. This “detoxing” won’t actually remove any toxins.
Instead, it’s the aforementioned organs — primarily the kidneys and liver — that hold that responsibility.
Your skin, however, “may need you to stop certain products that aren’t working for you,” notes board-certified dermatologist Dr. Caren Campbell.
One example, she says, is a condition called tachyphylaxis where the skin “becomes used to” things steroid creams and they stop working.
“In this instance, skin detoxing makes sense,” states Dr. Campbell. “A doctor may need to switch to an alternative steroid for it to work and then later switch you back.”
Here’s where most of the duping occurs. Self-proclaimed skin care experts, says Dr. Frey, “say that the skin contains toxic substances. They are wrong.”
That makes sense because skin care products boasting the ability to detox in this way are rarely transparent about which toxins they’re claiming to remove.
It’s true that your skin may feel cleaner and smoother after a charcoal mask, for example. But that’s all the product is doing.
As explained, no product can physically remove toxins because the skin does not have the ability to remove toxins.
Products can, however, get rid of “grime from the surface of the skin such as excess sebum and dead skin cells,” says Dr. Perry.
But people with extra sensitive skin should be careful when using a so-called “detox” product. “Some may irritate the skin,” Dr. Perry adds, potentially leaving it dry and red.
Some skin care products use the term “detox” in terms of skin defense. Products containing antioxidants can reduce the effects of environmental damage.
But they can’t physically pull damaging substances the body. Instead, they inhibit or remove the free radicals that cause the damage.
Not really. Sweat is, in fact, almost entirely made up of water.
Humans do excrete a tiny amount of waste products, urea, through it. But the amount is ly to be so small that it’s barely noticeable.
Bottom line? No amount of cardio or hot yoga is going to aid your body’s natural detoxification.
Sweating won’t help to remove toxins, and neither will any kind of diet. The few studies that exist haven’t provided strong enough evidence to suggest otherwise.
In fact, a 2015 review published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics found no convincing evidence to support “detox” diets’ toxin removal claims.
Some people admit to feeling better after juicing or undertaking another kind of “cleansing” diet. But elements of some of these diets are generally guaranteed to improve health anyway.
Their benefits have nothing to do with detoxification and more to do with eating nutritious food, drinking ample water, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.
To keep your body working the way it should, it’s recommended you follow such health principles, especially consuming a balanced diet with five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
Sorry, the answer is no yet again.
Companies that claim to sell “detoxing” supplements and the tend to struggle to prove those claims.
In fact, in 2009 a group of scientists asked manufacturers of 15 “detoxification” products to provide evidence.
Not even one company could explain what their detox claim meant, or what toxins their products were supposed to eliminate.
Thankfully, there are plenty of science-backed ways to help your skin look the way you want it to. Here are a few key strategies to take note of.
Assess your current skin care routine
What does your daily skin care ritual look ? Do you even have one? If the answer to that second question is no, try to get into a skin care habit morning and night.
“If you’re following a good skin care regime, then a ‘facial detox’ really is just another buzzword,” Dr. Perry says.
A basic routine involves products such as cleanser and moisturizer. “Make sure you’re cleansing twice a day at home, morning and before bedtime,” says Dr. Perry.
“A gentle cleansing foam should suffice, followed by a toner if skin is particularly oily and a light moisturizer. [Don’t] forget to use an SPF of at least 30 every morning.” (More on that later.)
Once you’ve got those important parts down, feel free to add products designed for your skin type and needs.
For example, people with acne may want to incorporate products that include salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide in the ingredients list.
Whatever you end up using, sticking to a personalized routine every day can boost your skin’s appearance.
Add exfoliation to your routine
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of the face or body.
This tends to happen naturally every 28 days, but factors aging and oiliness can slow the process down.
A build-up of dead skin cells can reduce the effectiveness of any skin care products you use, lead to breakouts, and even dull your entire complexion.
Exfoliation has to be done right to benefit the skin rather than damage it. There are two ways to do it: physically or through chemical means.
Physical exfoliation involves things scrubs and brushes, but it usually isn’t suitable for sensitive skin.
If you’re worried this method may be a little too harsh, stick to the chemical type involving alpha and beta hydroxy acids.
Remember to exfoliate gently and not to overdo it to avoid a red, raw look. Dr. Perry recommends exfoliation twice a week.
The same goes for sunscreen
The sun’s rays can be harmful all year round, so covering yourself in sunscreen is the best form of protection against skin cancer and signs of sun damage.
You can use whichever formula you and your skin prefer.
Just make sure that the sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection, water resistance, and an SPF of at least 30.
Wear it daily, regardless of the weather! And remember to reapply every two hours or straight after sweating or swimming.
And don’t forget antioxidants and retinoids
Dr. Campbell calls sunscreen, antioxidants, and retinoids the “holy trinity.”
Antioxidants, she says, “help make sunscreen more effective and protect against free radicals that break down collagen and elastin and age us.”
Retinoids can also keep skin looking firm, notes Dr. Campbell. They are “one of the few things we can apply topically to the skin to stimulate collagen.”
Limit foods and drinks that trigger skin flare-ups
While research suggests that diet can play a role in the development of skin conditions acne, you may have to go through some trial and error to figure out your personal triggers.
Foods and drinks to look out for include ones high in sugar or refined carbohydrates, or ingredients lists containing dairy. Alcohol can also have a negative impact on skin.
Try cutting individual items out one by one to see which, if any, result in improvement.
A general rule of thumb is to drink eight glasses of water — or water-based beverages — a day to benefit your overall health.
It’s also thought that hydration can help the skin by remedying dryness and dullness.
There isn’t much research to prove this, but keeping up your water intake certainly won’t hurt.
You can also directly boost your skin’s hydration levels by applying a hydrating moisturizer or product containing hyaluronic acid.
As you’ve probably realized by now, detoxification doesn’t always mean what you think it does.
If you’re concerned about your complexion, living a healthy lifestyle and taking good care of your skin can often help.
And if it doesn’t? Instead of shelling out for a product that may end up doing very little, find a dermatologist that fits your budget and book an appointment.
Lauren Sharkey is a journalist and author specializing in women’s issues. When she isn’t trying to discover a way to banish migraines, she can be found uncovering the answers to your lurking health questions. She has also written a book profiling young female activists across the globe and is currently building a community of such resisters. Catch her on .
7 best face oils to add to your skin care routine — and which is right for you
I remember when Bobbi Brown Extra Face Oil first launched. I was working at a magazine at the time, and the skin care oil trend was blowing up — all the mainstream brands were clamoring to get one on the market.
The Bobbi Brown version felt lovely. However, there was absolutely zero chance I was going to put it on my face. Oil on my acne-prone skin? That seemed a terrible idea.
It wasn't until I came across Sundari Essential Oil for Oily Skin that I dared to try a skin care oil for myself.
This felt different since the formula is extremely light, the instructions call for only two drops (how much damage could that do?) and the website explains that peppermint helps control skin's oil production.
Of course I was hesitant the first night I used it, but when I woke up to glowing, even skin I knew it was the oil — and I haven't looked back since.
Despite the popularity of face oils, I realize that there are still plenty of people who are as intimidated as I was. Here's the key: You have to figure out which face oil is right for your skin, and start slowly with just a drop or two. These seven skin care oils are some of the most popular, and they come highly recommended by experts. Read on to find out which one you should try.
Even though I was afraid of face oils, I remember using The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil as a blemish spot treatment when I was in high school. It feels and smells more an astringent than an oil, so it doesn't have the same ick factor that turned me off with the others.
And tea tree oil really works: Studies have found that five percent tea tree oil is as effective at treating acne as five percent benzoyl peroxide. Miami dermatologist Leslie Baumann recommends tea tree oil as a gentle, natural alternative to harsher acne treatments.
- 1. The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil, $10, Amazon
Also available at Ulta.
This oil contains 15 percent tea tree oil concentrate and helps to target breakouts, remove impurities and mattify skin, according to the brand.
- 2. Burt's Bees Herbal Complexion Stick, $8, Walmart
Also available at Target.
Not only does this product contain tea tree oil and juniper oil, it also comes in an easy to apply stick that is sized to be able to be easily stashed away in a purse.
If you have oily skin — even if you don't have acne — you're probably as averse to oils as I was. In the middle of the afternoon, I need blotting papers or pressed powder — definitely not more oil on my already shiny forehead.
But grapeseed oil ( peppermint oil, which I mentioned earlier) can actually help regulate your natural oil production, says holistic skin care expert Cecilia Wong. Plus, it's packed with antioxidants, including skin-brightening vitamin C.
Still not convinced? “I often tell people who are interested in skin care oils to start using it on your body and if you the results, try it on your face,” Wong said.
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- Caudalie Vine[Activ] Overnight Detox Oil, $50, Macy's
Also available at Sephora.
With more than 10,000 “loves” on Sephora, this oil is made up of grapeseed oil to regenerate and moisturize, carrot, lavender and white sandalwood oils to detoxify and almond oil, rosemary extract and neroli essential oil to fight fatigue.
When I think about Argan oil, supermodel and skin care guru Josie Maran immediately comes to mind. Her entire line is based around this miracle ingredient — and her perfect complexion is proof of how well the stuff works.
Argan oil also very rare and expensive — so it's a good thing that you only need a tiny amount for it to be effective. “If you see 1 ounce of Argan for $15, that's not right,” said Wong.
She adds that cheaper versions may have added ingredients that make them less effective.
- Josie Maran 100 Percent Pure Argan Oil, $40, Amazon
Also available for $48 at Sephora.
Argan oil is said to smooth fine lines and wrinkles while moisturizing skin. This oil contains a high concentration of vitamin E and fatty acids, which are more stable in sunlight than other antioxidants — so it's great to wear during the day.
I asked Wong what she would recommend for a client whose skin had been traumatized in some way — after a laser treatment, too much time in the sun or even windburn from skiing. Her answer? Black currant oil. It's her favorite reparative treatment because it's rich in fatty acids and has anti-inflammatory properties. It even works on eczema.
- Botanical Beauty Black Currant Seed Oil, $18, Amazon
It's loaded with fatty acids to help heal itchy, irritated skin.
The same way you can drink chamomile tea to relax, you can use chamomile oil to calm your skin. It soothes redness and irritation in a matter of seconds. “It has amazing anti-inflammatory properties that make it ideal for patients with rosacea,” says Baumann.
Just be sure to dab some on your wrist and wear it for a day to make sure you don't have an allergic reaction, she says, and be especially careful with organic versions.
Since organic ingredients are treated with fewer chemicals, they're often growing alongside weeds and other allergens, which means organic essential oils are more ly to have traces of those allergens than conventionally farmed varieties.
The result? They're more ly to cause allergic reactions on the skin.
- Darphin Chamomile Aromatic Care, $75, Nordstrom
This oil is made up of pure chamomile, sandalwood, sage and lavender oils. Applying five drops each night is supposed to reduce redness, irritations and blotchiness.
Mally Steves Chakola, the founder of M. Steves Skincare, first realized the healing power of rose hip seed oil after applying it to an 18-year-old scar for two weeks — it faded significantly.
She recommends using it as a boost for your moisturizer — just mix in a few drops before you apply.
This is a great option, especially if you're skeptical about putting oil directly onto your face.
- 1. Pura D'Or Organic Rosehip Seed Oil, $13, Amazon
Rosehip seed oil is know for protecting your skin as well as increasing cell turnover. You can also use this on your hair to help with dry scalp problems.
- 2. Kate Blanc Rosehip Seed Oil, $13, Amazon
With more than 2,600 reviews on Amazon and 4.6 stars, this organic formula might help lessen acne scars, according to the product description.
We've all heard stories about women in Italy bathing in the stuff — and I'm sure they have beautiful skin — but using olive oil as a face oil is the scariest of all. I may have become an oil enthusiast, but I've never been able to use this one for anything other than cooking and salad dressing.
However, Baumann loves extra virgin olive oil for patients with very dry skin. (Note the word “very.”) She says you can buy it at the grocery store — just be sure to look for the term “first cold press” on the bottle. (These formulas are higher in antioxidants than other varieties.)
- Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $15, Amazon
Not only is it super moisturizing, olive oil is also rich in compounds polyphenols, squalene and fatty acids — all of which are meant to be nourishing and help fight aging, according to the brand.
This article was originally published in July 2012.
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The Ultimate Skincare Routine According to Experts
Who doesn’t want beautiful, bright, glowing skin? But with so many different products on the market, it can be confusing to know which ones to use. While genetics can define it, other factors influence how your skin responds to certain products.
These include your age, climate, hormones, diet, lifestyle, pregnancy, and even illnesses and medications.
To answer your daily skincare questions, we have consulted dermal clinician Mai Guillou from COSMETIC 1, and Desiree Stordahl – Paula’s Choice Senior Research and Education Manager, who shared the industry secrets for glowing skin.
Combination skin is a mix of oily and dry. Most people with this skin type notice they get oily in the T-zone where their pores are largest – on the nose, chin, and forehead. However, they also get dehydrated patches or flaky skin.
Combination skin changes a lot too; in summer, it may seem very oily, while in winter, it’s dry, and hormone changes will often cause breakouts. Mai Guillou shared with us that the key is maintaining a balance between what is bringing too much moisture to the skin as opposed to what is not bringing enough.
It is important to choose the right cleansers that are active enough to have a deep cleansing effect but are gentle enough so that the skin does not feel stripped.
Desiree from Paula’s Choice advised that combination skin does well with products that have a lightweight consistency that can be layered and adapted for the different zones of the face. Consider using oil-absorbent formulas for the oily areas and more moisturizing products everywhere else.
Otherwise, opt for a skincare routine that falls somewhere in the middle in terms of consistency. Gels-based cleansers, milky toners, and fluid serums work great. During the day, apply serums and moisturizers that strengthen the skin barrier and increase its water content, whilst not feeding an oily T Zone too many nourishing ingredients.
However, at night, it is important to use cleansers, toners, and treatments that will continue to regulate the overproduction of sebum.
Oily and Acne-Prone Skin
If you end up with a greasy film over your face at the end of the day, you ly have the oily skin type. Unfortunately, acne often goes hand-in-hand with oily skin. That’s because the extra sebum traps dead skin cells and debris inside hair follicles on your face.
Luckily, with the right products, both excess oil and acne can be treated. Desiree advises to avoid heavily emollient, occlusive textures and to stick to liquids, lightweight serums, gels, or weightless-feeling consistencies.
Oily, acne-prone skin tends to have an extra buildup of dead skin on the surface that can lead to dull skin, clogged pores, and breakouts.
Exfoliation is critical to prevent breakouts; use a product with a BHA and AHA that will penetrate deep inside your pores to clear them out.
Mai explained that a popular BHA is Salicylic Acid and is well known for penetrating through skin appendages and dissolving oil content. Therefore, what we refer to as congestion is successfully treated with BHA.
Conversely, the AHA Glycolic Acid helps the skin to regenerate, remodeling through the acceleration of cell renewal and reorganization of the epidermis, to promote smoother, plumper, healthier skin.
Oily and acne-prone skin would highly benefit from these active ingredients, whether it be in the form of a cleanser, toner, or evening treatment, and this depends greatly on the skin of each individual. Don’t forget to cleanse and moisturize the skin twice a day.
Dry skin doesn’t produce enough sebum, meaning it often feels dry, tight, and sensitive. The lack of natural oil – known as the ‘lipid barrier’ – can make it more fragile and prone to environmental damage.
Dry skin has many causes; while it’s usually genetic, being dehydrated or exposed to cold weather can make it worse. Desiree says using ceramides and hyaluronic acid will help boost hydration.
Proven emollients such as jojoba oil and shea butter will also revive the skin’s barrier.
If you have dry skin, it’s recommended to use gentle exfoliators, hydrating cleansers that won’t strip away any moisture, and vitamin C serums that are engineered to treat the lower layers of the skin.
Mai remarks that today’s cosmeceuticals can be powerful and active, and she recommends that consumers seek professional skincare advice. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another.
This depends greatly on the concentration of the product, its form, and its PH level.
Sensitive skin requires a lot of care because it tends to become irritated and inflamed very quickly. Gentle, and hydrating products with soothing ingredients are ideal for this skin type.
Desiree commented: “For sensitive skin, it’s all about being as gentle as possible, going fragrance-free, and using formulas brimming with soothing agents to keep irritation and redness at bay.
At the same time, you don’t want to compromise on anti-aging benefits, so the key is to find ingredients that are highly effective yet comforting to the skin. Antioxidants beta-glucan, licorice extract, and green tea and its derivatives are incredibly beneficial for sensitive skin”.
Mai Guillou reminds us that the first step to treating sensitive or reactive skin is to diagnose correctly. Inflammatory skin disorders are broad and with the right skincare and treatments, can be managed.
She advises that to strengthen the skin, it is essential to repair the skin barrier. Once restored, it will be able to hold on to water better, and cell renewal will function in a healthier way.
Additionally, if you have this skin type, you should limit time in the sun, as sensitive skin tends to burn quickly.
Morning Skincare Routine
Part of your morning skincare routine will depend on your skin type. However, there are some steps that everyone should include at the start of the day. First is a cleanser, as you may have dead skin cells, bacteria, sweat, and products lingering on your face.
If you use a face oil at night, use an oil-based cleanser in the morning to ensure any excess is lifted off. Next, apply a toner to balance your skin for the day. Acne and oily-prone skin types should always include this step. Finally, use a vitamin C serum, moisturizer, and sun-protection product.
If you wish to defend your skin from the effects of the pollutants auto exhaust, smog, and small particulate matter in the air, Desiree advises to use a routine packed with proven antioxidants (glutathione, brown algae, and grape polyphenols just to name a few) and an antioxidant-rich sunscreen as your last skincare step in the morning.
Some skincare ingredients make your complexion more susceptible to sun damage, which is why they are better to apply before you go to bed. Your evening skincare routine is also the perfect time to use heavier creams and serums as they will have plenty of time to sink in while you sleep.
Start the process by double-cleansing; that means removing makeup with one type of cleanser, then using a second product to clean your face. If you have an oily skin type, use a toner to balance the skin’s pH levels. Once or twice a week, swap the toner for a face mask.
After cleansing and toning, your skin is primed for treatments serums, retinol or AHA and BHA and eye cream. Finally, apply a night cream or moisturizer to lock in moisture.
If you would to revive the skin’s firmness, Desiree suggests using peptides and going for Niacinamide if you are struggling with enlarged pores.
Pregnancy Skincare Routine
During pregnancy, the hormone levels within the body alter, and these have a direct impact on a woman’s skin. Changes vary amongst women, some develop adult acne, pigmentation – called melasma – sensitivity and redness.
There are also common skincare ingredients that you should avoid while pregnant, including retinol and frequent use of salicylic acid, willow bark, parabens, hydroquinone, and essential oils.
Skincare needs to be altered during pregnancy and breastfeeding to cater to the transient changes occurring within our body, which in turn affect the health of our skin. Desiree suggests consulting your doctor first.
She advises adding products rich in omega fatty acids to help strengthen the skin’s surface —something any skin type can benefit from as it’s going through changes.
There are six main elements to include in your routine to keep your skin looking its best at every age. Firstly, broad-spectrum sunscreen is a must, as the number one cause of skin damage is from sun exposure. Next, reduce fine lines and wrinkles with vitamin C, which helps to stimulate collagen production.
Retinol and niacinamide are also vital ingredients that will make your skin look smoother and firmer while reducing age-related pigmentation. Exfoliating with AHA has been shown to stimulate the growth of the skin’s upper layers. Finally, copper peptides have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties while also stimulating collagen production.
That means your skin will look plumper and have improved elasticity.
Those who have suffered from severe acne are often left with permanent indentations and rough skin texture known as acne scars.
Acne cysts cause the scars by destroying skin tissue; when they eventually rupture, the space they occupied doesn’t heal, leaving the skin with a pitted appearance. Dermatologists classify the scar types the shape and how deep they penetrate the skin.
Mai explains that the treatment of acne scarring usually incorporates modalities that have an effect in regulating collagen production for tissue regeneration and remodeling.
COSMETIC 1 offers a range of different treatments, from varying chemical peels to LED lights, intense pulse light, as well as the ablative and non-lasers.
During the consultation, you will receive a treatment plan and a specific skincare routine tailored to your skin type and condition.
Azelaic acid, retinol, chemical peels, and anti-scarring treatments can all reduce the uneven texture and treat discoloration.