What is detoxification and how can it help your skin?
Every day we are exposed to toxins in our air, water, food and personal products. Examples of these chemicals are pesticides (in our food, lawns and parks), solvents (in gasoline, paints and cleaning products) and plastic chemicals (such as BPA and phthalates). We can do our best to live free of these substances, but some are unavoidable.
The good news is that we do have organs of elimination and detoxification that work hard to clear these from our bodies. When it comes to detoxification, the most important organs are the skin, lymphatic system, digestive system, liver, and the kidneys. The liver is the primary detoxification organ in the body. It protects the rest of the body from harmful substances by reducing their toxicity and making them ready for excretion.
When the liver and other organs involved in detoxification aren’t working properly, it can cause a build up of toxins in the body. This also happens when we’re exposed to more toxins than our body can handle. When there are excess levels of toxins, we can notice it in our bodies –skin rashes and itching, fatigue, headaches, body aches, and even weight gain are some of the symptoms people notice.
What does detoxification have to do with hormones?
The liver is responsible for metabolizing hormones (breaking them down so they can be properly eliminated and maintain balance). In addition, estrogen-mimicking chemicals found in day to day products such as in many skincare ingredients and plastics should also be eliminated by the liver.
Therefore, supporting the liver is one of the most important and essential parts of treating hormonal imbalance. If the liver is congested, fatty or overtaxed, ALL the good things you are doing won’t be very effective until that liver is cleansed and balanced. If you have hormonal acne, this is particularly important for you.
What is a cleanse?
Our bodies get out of balance over time—our hormones, digestion, and nutrition. A well-designed cleanse enhances the functions of the detoxification organs and helps us regain balance. A big focus for my cleanses is enhancing phase 1 and phase 2 liver detoxification while at the same time supporting elimination via the kidneys, digestive tract and skin.
Here are 7 steps for healthy cleansing:
1. Consume food and drinks that support detoxification.
During a cleanse, you’ll want to nourish your body well to support your liver, kidneys and colon. Here are some of the most important foods and drinks:
- Cruciferous vegetables(such as broccoli, cabbage, arugula and radishes)
- Sulfur-containing foods (such as onions and garlic)
- High fiber foods (such as fruits, veggies and legumes)
- Antioxidant-rich foods (such as colorful fruits and veggies)
- Herbal Teas (such as Milk Thistle, Dandelion, Burdock Root, and Yellow Dock)
2. Avoid common reactive foods.
Eating reactive foods leads to inflammation, which can lead to a number of symptoms and diseases, including chronic skin problems such as acne and eczema.
Common reactive foods include Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Peanuts, Soy, Caffeine, Alcohol and Sugar. A cleanse is a great time to take a 10 – 21 day break from these foods and see for yourself how much these impact your health.
3. Keep the exit routes clear
Ensure your bowels, kidneys, and skin are all working effectively to clear toxins released during a cleanse. For bowels, fiber is key. For kidneys, it’s essential to drink plenty of filtered water. For skin, it’s a good idea to exfoliate and ensure clean pores so you can sweat adequately and slough off dead skin.
Exercise during a cleanse leads to lipolysis (breaking down fat cells) which also helps release toxins that are stored in our fat cells.
5. Avoid toxins in your environment
If you’re doing a cleanse to support your body, the last thing you want to do is add more toxins to the mix. Take a close look at your air, water, food, and personal care products to see how you can reduce exposures such as eating organic, using natural cleaning products, drinking filtered water, and choosing non-toxic skincare products.
6. Enhance detoxification with supportive cleansing techniques.
Certain supplements – herbs (such as milk thistle) and nutrients (such as glutathione) – can help phase 1 and 2 liver detoxification pathways. There are also specific hydrotherapy and massage techniques that improve blood and lymph flow.
I go into much greater detail in my Spa Cleanse Program. It’s the program that I’ve refined over the last 15 years and added at-home spa treatments to enhance the results.
7. Cleanse emotionally.
This might seem unrelated but I find that emotional cleansing is key to a successful in depth cleanse program. Emotions come up during a cleanse, and it’s a great opportunity to work thru them. During my program, I walk people thru exercises such as meditation, breathwork and guided imagery.
Symptoms that indicate you may need detoxification support:
- Fatigue, feeling run down
- Skin rashes, skin itching
- Acne (especially hormonal acne)
- Digestion problems – bloating, constipation, diarrhea, etc.
- Bad breath
- PMS, irregular cycles, infertility and other signs of Hormone imbalances
- Brain fog, difficulty focusing/concentrating
- Weight (fat) gain or inability to lose weight
- Chronic muscle or joint pain
- Inflammatory conditions/diseases such as eczema
Wondering where to start?
Some simple changes to your diet can be a great start for a healthy liver to keep your skin clear and body healthy. You can begin with drinking plenty of filtered water, eating colourful fruits, veggies and legumes as well as cruciferous vegetables, onions and garlic.
If you’re ready for the next step, check out my All-In-One 14 Day Cleanse. It’s not a fast, but it’s a great cleanse product to get you started. For those of you who want something more in-depth, check out my Spa Cleanse Program.
Show your liver and other detoxification organs some love by giving it the support it needs. This will show not only in how you feel but how your skin looks too!