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Myth Buster: Skin Detoxing

If your skin is feeling stressed out, the concept of a “skin detox” is a pretty alluring one. Imagine giving your face a holiday, allowing it to rest and reset while flushing out all the bad stuff. Sounds pretty good, right? 

But is skin detoxing just a fantasy – or is there some truth to the technique? We posed the question to the Skin + Me Dermatology Team, and asked them all about the best ways to get your skin looking its best.

What is detoxing?

Detoxing is the process of removing toxins from the body. Toxins can be harmful substances that you ingest or come into contact with, or they might just be waste products that are produced naturally. 

You might have read that you can kick-start the detoxification process with things like lemon water, detox patches or viral green tea face masks, but that isn’t quite true. Your kidneys and liver work hard to remove all the bad stuff in your body, so if everything is in working order then they should have you covered.

What is skin detoxing?

Over on TikTok, the hashtag #skindetox has more than 50 million views. Videos show elaborate routines that aim to promote glowing skin – think strict regimes, intricate concoctions and a whole lot of green juice.

There’s no specific definition of skin detoxing, since it’s an idea that’s grown in popularity on social media rather than in medical circles. The underlying concept is that you can refresh your skin by applying products that draw out toxins, consuming products that fight against toxins, or by limiting the toxins entering your body.

Does skin detoxing work?

It would be nice to be able to magically refresh your skin over a week’s detox, but unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Your skin is a huge organ with a delicate balance, and it has complex needs that can vary over time. 

As Dr Jason Thomson, Head of Medical at Skin + Me says, “There’s no good evidence backing up any form of “skin detox” and this concept has many different meanings ranging from stopping applying all products to your skin to let it reset (skin fasting) to applying (or ingesting) products that claim to promote the skin’s natural detoxing function.” 

However, he notes that there are times when it can be useful to strip back your routine and go back to basics. “The exception is when you’ve overdone your skincare, for example by using excessive amounts of acids and actives resulting in sensitivity, irritation and compromising your skin’s barrier function.” So, if you’re feeling the effects of harsh ingredients, reduce the number and strength of products that you’re using to give your skin a chance to recover.

“If you have sensitive, irritated skin, then stopping products and going back to a gentle and supportive skincare routine can be considered a type of “skin detox” and will help you to get your skin back on track”

dr jason thomson

How can you revitalise your skin?

Instead of embarking on the latest skin detox you saw online, focus on building healthy, long-term lifestyle habits that will help brighten tired skin.

Dr Jason says: “Evidence shows us that our skin is affected by the same environmental stressors that have negative effects on the rest of our body – the ones we all know are bad for us such as smoking, alcohol, bad diet (high fat and sugar), lack of sleep, stress and a sedentary lifestyle. So, having a healthy, balanced lifestyle is the best thing you can do for your body, mind and skin!”

There’s also no better time to embrace skinimalism – select a few efficient products that will actually work and stay loyal to your routine. “There’s no one silver bullet but rather the key is to have an effective skincare routine which should be simple and consist of evidence-based ingredients, targeted to the specific goals that you want to achieve,” says Dr Jason. “This should also take in consideration your skin type, skin tone, your age and your environment. Once you have this routine, sticking to it consistently will ensure success.”

At Skin + Me, we have a team of experts ready to prescribe the best products for your skin. Simply tell us a few details about your skin, snap a few photos and then your personalised treatment will be delivered right to your door.

Dr Jason’s tips for glowing skin

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