Is your skin ready for 2021? The experts are divided on what the concept of detoxing actually means in relation to your skin because your skin is adept at protecting itself from external irritants via the skin barrier, and most will agree that all seasonally sluggish skin can benefit from a reset.
It’s a balance between looking at what you use on your skin in terms of active ingredients and cosmetics with the aim to calm and hydrate your skin plus looking at your general health and reducing known stresses on the skin such as lack of sleep, too much alcohol, unbalanced diet, smoking and pollution.
Here’s a guide to how to detox your skin for the New Year.
Activate a Double Cleanse Routine.
It’s a skincare cliché for a reason but double cleansing (the process of cleansing twice both morning and evening) is a really effective way to remove all traces of make-up, impurities and pollutants from the skin, not to mention the 30,000 – 40,000 cells that skin sheds every day.
Not only can inadequate cleansing contribute to congestion, breakouts and dullness, but not getting all that deep-set dirt out of your pores will render much of what you apply afterwards virtually useless. Balms and cleansing oils that dissolve grime and penetrate deep into the skin are good first cleanse options, while creams, gels and micellar waters make for appropriate second cleanses.
Rethink Your Beauty Routine
Skin that has to contend with an onslaught of a poor diet, lack of sleep and extra stress needs no extra complication in the form of fussy routines, which many of us found ourselves implementing during lockdown. “Using excessive amounts of acids and actives [results] in sensitivity, irritation and compromising your skin’s barrier function. 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.
Switch up your regime right back to a gentle cleanser and moisturizer which won’t irritate or disrupt already compromised skin. Adding a brightening antioxidant such as vitamin C into your daily routine will help stimulate collagen, offer a brightening wakeup call and counteract oxidization caused by inflammatory free radicals; they have been proven to stimulate collagen synthesis, even out skin tone and reduce inflammation.
Improve On Your Gut Health.
Easier said than done, but banishing chocolate, salt-laden canapés and fatty foods from your daily diet are vital if you want skin that sings instead of groans. A healthy diet is important for the gut-skin axis and skin homeostasis; in other words, keeping your skin healthy means keeping your gut and its delicate microbiome healthy.
It’s not just food that contributes to poor gut health either; alcohol causes an inflammatory response in the gut which can result in digestive discomfort including abdominal pain and bloating. Alcohol also inhibits the production of digestive enzymes which can make it more difficult for your body to breakdown, digest and absorb nutrients from your food.
If you can, aim to remove booze altogether from your diet, but if you absolutely can’t, make it a glass of red; according to a recent study, red wine drinkers are more likely to have a healthy mix of bacteria in their gut than those who consume other forms of alcohol.
Excess sugar, alcohol and elevated stress levels impact the skin in various ways but one problem they all contribute to is chronic dehydration, a condition which leaves skin looking uneven, dull and dry. You may also experience fine lines and can even be hit with itchiness and flakiness. If that’s you, take a two-pronged approach to rehydration by addressing the issue inside and out.
Don’t forget to drink lots of water to keep all your organs well hydrated. For the largest organ of our body; the skin, increased water intake ensures skin cells are well hydrated, reducing dryness and increased skin elasticity. Drinking water also helps to get rid of toxins which can cause inflammation.
Take Your Beauty Sleep More Seriously
Neglecting a regular sleep routine is bad news for your skin. When we sleep our skin goes into regeneration mode, replacing damaged or dead cells with fresh, new ones and repairing any environmental damage. Good sleep also increases blood flow to the skin and contributes to its essential structural work such as rebuilding vital collagen and elastin.
Skipping those precious hours (at least eight, more if you can) prevents all of this vital maintenance work from happening and instead increases levels of inflammation, slows down healing and repair systems and aggravates conditions including acne, eczema, psoriasis and allergies.
“Sleep is nature’s best medicine and the same applies when it comes to looking after our skin. Eight hours sleep is another thing to try to get regularly, if not daily, to allow your body to rest and restore itself for the next day,” – Veraitch.