What to Know About Skin Detoxifying

Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on July 23, 2023
3 min read

Many products and fad diets claim to help “detox” your skin. These “skin detoxifying” solutions promise to remove impurities for more radiant, healthier skin. But the truth is that it doesn’t take a lot of money or time to detox. Your body is built to eliminate waste naturally. There’s little you can do to speed up this process.

Toxins, like chemicals from pollution and smoking, can prematurely age your skin. They may contribute to wrinkles, age spots, and uneven color. For example, people who smoke often discover that the chemicals in cigarettes damage the skin’s elasticity, leading to sagging or wrinkles.

In some people, foods high in processed sugar and unhealthy fats are thought to cause mild inflammation that may contribute to acne and older-looking skin.

Some of the biggest threats to skin health and appearance are environmental toxins. Air pollution and ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun damage your skin. This ages it and increases your risk for skin cancers.

Your skin itself is a defense against toxins. But it doesn’t move toxins out of your body in a meaningful quantity. Sweat gets rid of water, but not harmful substances.

Your body has other organs and systems to help it get rid of toxins. The ones doing  most of your body’s detoxification include your:

  • Liver, which helps your body eliminate harmful substances and process drugs
  • Kidneys, which filter out waste
  • Intestines, which screen out parasites and other foreign substances
  • Immune system, which recognizes and attacks foreign substances 
  • Respiratory system, which filters out large particles and removes smaller ones in mucus

A healthy lifestyle helps maintain the health of these organs and systems. This makes sure they’re able to process toxins out of your body effectively. 

While “detox” diets are popular, there’s little scientific evidence to suggest that they work. Even worse, many of these diets don’t provide your body with essential nutrients. Some can dehydrate you and even affect your digestive health.

Beauty products and treatments don’t “detox” your skin, either. No matter what the label or esthetician claims, lotions and facials can’t detoxify your skin or any other areas of your body through your skin.

These skin care tips won’t help to eliminate toxins from your body. But they will help you maintain skin health and appearance.

Wash your face twice a day (and any time after you sweat). Use gentle motions and a mild cleanser to rid your face of surface bacteria, dirt, smog, and makeup.

Wear sunscreen every day. Look for a product with an SPF of at least 30, and reapply throughout the day and after exercise. 

Apply a moisturizer. By trapping water in your skin, moisturizers can make it temporarily look younger.

Don’t smoke. The health of your skin is one of many reasons to quit smoking. When it comes to your skin, smoking can:

  • Speed up aging
  • Slow down wound healing
  • Worsen skin conditions like psoriasis

Eat antioxidant rich foods, as part of a balanced diet. Foods high in antioxidants include:

  • Orange fruits and vegetables 
  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Berries
  • Fatty fish
  • Nuts 
  • Lentils and beans

Drink more water and less alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates. Dehydration can make skin look older.

Use a retinoid. Talk to your dermatologist about adding a retinoid to your skincare routine. These products can boost collagen production and improve skin elasticity.