Six Steps for A Skin Detox
Here we are in Dry January when gym memberships soar, diet shakes fly off the shelf and New Year's resolutions are a dime a dozen. This month, the majority of us will be focusing on steps to improve our body and weight, but what about our skin?
The skin is the largest organ in our body, and one of its functions is to get rid of waste and toxins. Unfortunately the party season, full of rich food, endless cocktails, late nights and tons of make-up, means that our skin is fighting a losing battle.
So this January, why not add healthy
skin to the list of New Year's resolutions? This week's blog examines six ways to give your skin a helping hand.
1. Who Doesn't Like a Massage?: Facial massage stimulates blood flow, bringing oxygen and nutrients to our skin and supporting our lymphatic system to draw away impurities. This is particularly the case when it comes to reducing puffy eyes. Stimulation of certain pressure points on the face can relieve tension, stress and anxiety, all of which can lead to wrinkles and breakouts.
The best time to do a facial massage is before bed, so you can capitalise on its relaxing effects. One way to work it into your routine is use your night time moisturiser as lubrication. Another option is to incorporate the massage into your routine for removing make up.
Use your index and middle fingers to gently massage in circular motions starting on your forehead and moving outward towards your temples. Around your eyes, switch to your ring finger as the skin here is very delicate and this finger applies the least pressure. Massage gently downward along the nose, cheeks, jawline, neck, and chest. Don't forget your chest as this is one of the first places to show signs of aging or sun damage.
2. Full of hot air: Facial Steaming has been in vogue since the early 1900s, and for good reason. Hot air softens the skin and helps to shed dead cells and dirt. Steam opens pores, softens sebum and allows acne bacteria to escape. It is easier to extract blackheads and breakouts are minimised.
Steaming also increases blood flow to the face bringing nutrients and removing toxins. The skin becomes more permeable during a steam so that skincare products penetrate more deeply and have greater effects. Lastly a facial steam hydrates and soothes skin.
This is another routine best left for the evening. Boil hot water and allow it to cool slightly. For acne prone skin, add herbs such as rosemary or eucalyptus, as these reduce oil production. For sensitive skin, try camomile or lavender. Place a thick towel over your head and the bowl of hot water. Make sure the water has cooled and that you can tolerate the heat of the steam. Repeat one to two times per week, each session no more than 10 minutes.
3. The Muddier the Better: Mud masks recently came into fashion, but they have been know to have wonderous effects on the skin for centuries. The most well-known of these is that mud masks draw out sebum and toxins from the skin. As the mud dries it sticks to skin leaving it feeling tighter and lifted. Once washed off the mask then exfoliates the top layer of skin, leaving it smooth and glowing beneath.
Mud masks come in several forms. Some will be infused with zinc or sulphur for added antibacterial and anti-acne effects, whilst others will have fruit acids for exfoliation. Charcoal based masks act like a magnet absorbing 100-200x their weight in impurities, and can have powerful tightening effects. Betonite clay has a particular affinity for oil and so it is recommended for acne- prone skin. Apply a mask roughly once a week and I'm sure you won't regret it.
4. Peel the Layers Away: I'm a big fan of chemical peels because I've experienced their benefits first hand. They are derived from sugar cane, milk and citrus fruits. Chemical peels work by "ungluing" the bonds between dead skin cells, allowing them to be sloughed off. This reveals younger, more even and softer skin. Modern peels are gentle and can be tailored to most skin types.
Glycolic peels work on the surface of skin, and are particularly good for reducing fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation.
Salicylic acid penetrates into the pores, reducing oil production and unclogging any debris. Hence these are ideal for oily and acne-prone skin.
People with sensitive skin should use lactic acid. Derived from milk, this is the gentlest of the peels and doesn't penetrate as deeply. On the other hand, lactic acid draws moisture to the skin, so it is a good option for those of us with dry skin. Best to be safe and have this treatment under the supervision of a trained professional.
5. The Face Behind The Mask: The previous detox procedures have focused on exfoliation. Now it's time to hydrate. You could simply invest in a good moisturiser, but if you want to take things up a notch, try a hydrating face mask.
Sheet masks are usually face-shaped fabrics that have been soaked in a concentrated form of a skincare agent. The fabric traps the desired product on the skin, allowing it to penetrate deeper. Seek out a product that contains hyaluronic acid, as this is a potent hydrator of skin. Masks made of cellulose or hydrogel tend to be thicker, contain more product and prevent more evaporation than traditional paper masks.
If you suffer with dry, tight or cracked skin. This is your go-to treatment. P.S Store your masks in the fridge, as the cooler temperate will give them an extra fresh feel.
6. Detox Your Diet: As I mentioned before, your skin is the largest organ in your body and one of its functions is waste excretion. Eliminating unhealthy food from your diet will give your skin a break, and allow it to purge impurities more effectively. First on the list is sugar. After being ingested sugar bonds with proteins in our body in a process called glycation. These glycated proteins produce high levels of free radicals which in turn damage collagen and elastin. They also reduce the amount of new collagen that can be produced.
Alcohol is another no-no. It acts as a diuretic, drawing moisture out of our bodies. Unfortunately, when water is scarce our bodies re-direct water to our internal organs and our skin begins to suffer. Enter fine lines, cracked lips, a dull complexion and dark circles. Alcohol also causes blood vessels to dilate, so that anyone who suffers from blotchiness or roseacea will see their symptoms worsen. Your caffeine addiction may also be contributing to a dull complexion. Similar to alcohol, it is a diuretic and laxative, and so dehydrates the skin.
Reducing your salt intake is crucial if you suffer with facial bloating. This is because excessive salt intake causes the body to retain water, so the face and eyes can appear more puffy.
During your skin detox try to eat foods rich in B vitamins as these support the detoxification that happens in the liver. Dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and kale are ideal. Increase your intake of vitamin C, as this is a powerful antioxidant and crucial for the production of collagen. We all know that citrus fruits have vitamin C, but did you know that strawberries, kiwis and chillies have much more vitamin C pound for pound?
This week I've armed you with a few tips for taking your skin to rehab. Why not use January to get your skin on track in 2019. To find out if your lifestyle could be damaging your skin, check out this blog Is Your Cellphone Ruining Your Selfie? and Sleeping Beauty: Is Sleep Ageing You?
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