Can You Really Detox Your Skin?

Often, we hear of celebrities trying out a new cleanse or detox to lose weight and get "healthier." For example, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the Master Cleanse made famous by Beyoncé when she lost 20 lbs. for her movie "Dreamgirls" because she only drank a mix of hot water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper for two weeks (via Diets in Review). 

However, this may not be necessary. "Our body is able to cleanse or detox itself by using normal bodily functions," registered dietitian Rachael Hartley told Insider, so there is no need to take the extra step to cleanse or detox the body. While such drastic cleanses might help you lose weight quickly, it has disadvantages, and no one really needs to go on an intense detoxing cleanse. Detoxes aren't sustainable, and you're not getting enough nutrients, so you're just going to feel weaker — and the lost weight usually comes back.

Skin detoxing is also pretty popular nowadays, with beauty aisles filled with products and ingredients that claim to help detox your skin. On a day-to-day basis, our skin surface deals with pollution, makeup, and sweat. Therefore, fancy "detoxing" products can help cleanse your skin and unclog pores for healthier-looking skin, but they mostly work on the surface, per Allure. So, do these treatments also help remove toxins from the skin, which is what detoxing actually means? Here's what the medical professionals have to say about trendy skin detoxing and if it's legitimate.

The truth about skin detoxing

Detoxing is trendy. People want to detox anything from actual toxins to toxic people in their lives, but when it comes to skin, what you're hearing might not be entirely accurate. In fact, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Fayne Frey told Healthline, "There's no such thing as skin detox from a medical perspective." Skin doesn't filter toxins from itself as our livers and kidneys do for our body. 

"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," Dr. Ross Perry, medical director of Cosmedics Skin Clinics U.K., explained to Healthline. You can, however, protect your skin from "potential environmental toxins such as pollution and UV rays" by strengthening your skin barrier and applying sunscreen. One example of a skin detox is a condition called tachyphylaxis, which is when your skin might build immunity to a product like a steroid cream and won't work, so doctors might recommend giving your skin a break.

Furthermore, WebMD shared that "your skin itself is a defense against toxins," but it doesn't help eliminate toxins from your body. Your skin gets rid of sweat, but that's not toxic. If your skin needs "detoxing," it might be wiser to focus on eating better and taking care of your skin externally. While the whole detoxing trend might be all the rage, WebMD notes that there's "little scientific evidence" that skin detoxing actually works.