What is skin detoxification?
The skin is the body’s largest organ and a natural defence mechanism against toxins and the body has an inbuilt method for detoxification, but even it needs help sometimes.
Basically, detoxification means, the process of removing toxic substances. This is done by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body naturally eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin improving circulation of the blood and skin. However, when these systems are compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered and the body is adversely affected.
By removing and eliminating toxins and then feeding your body with healthy nutrients, detoxifying can help protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain optimum health. Giving your skin a helping hand by cutting out toxins and cutting down on the natural formation of free radicals could also assist skin detoxification.
How does the body’s natural detoxification system work?
We tend to forget that the body is equipped with a detoxification system of its own, which includes the following:
The main function of the body’s largest organ is to provide a barrier against harmful substances, from bacteria and viruses to heavy metals and chemical toxins. The skin is a one-way defence system; toxins are not eliminated in perspiration.
The respiratory system
Fine hairs inside the nose trap dirt and other large particles that may be inhaled. Smaller particles that make it to the lungs are expelled from the airways in mucus.
The immune system
This exquisitely orchestrated network of cells and molecules is designed to recognize foreign substances and eliminate them from the body. Components of the immune system are at work in blood plasma, in lymph, and even in the small spaces between cells.
Acting as the body’s principal filter, the liver produces a family of proteins called metallothionein, which is also found in the kidneys. Metallothionein not only metabolize dietary nutrients like copper and zinc but also neutralize harmful metals like lead, cadmium, and mercury to prepare for their elimination from the body. Liver cells also produce groups of enzymes that regulate the metabolism of drugs and are an important part of the body’s defence against harmful chemicals and other toxins.
Peyer’s patches — lymph nodes in the small intestine — screen out parasites and other foreign substances before nutrients are absorbed into the blood from the colon.
The fact that urine tests are used to screen for drugs and toxins is a testament to the kidneys’ remarkable efficiency in filtering out waste substances and moving them out of the body.
How do you know if you need to detoxify?
Some people advocate a detox at least once a year but here are some signs to look out for as ‘hints’ from your body that you may need to take action:
- Unexplained fatigue
- Sluggish elimination
- Irritated skin
- Low-grade infection
- Puffy eyes or bags under the eyes
- Menstrual problems
If you experience fatigue, pallor, unexplained weight gain or loss, changes in bowel function, or breathing difficulties that persist for days or weeks, visit your doctor instead of a detox centre.
As we have mentioned before, the body and the skin have their own detox processes and any programmes available for ‘detox’ in the market place are not medical and should be approved by your general practitioner or consultant before you start.
Helping your body to rid itself of toxins to enable your skin to breathe freely and to rejuvenate does make lots of sense. A detox program can help the body’s natural cleansing process by:
- Resting the organs through fasting;
- Stimulating the liver to drive toxins from the body;
- Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys, and skin;
- Improving circulation of the blood; and
- Refuelling the body with healthy nutrients.
Detoxification works because it addresses the needs of individual cells, the smallest units of human life.
Which detox is right for you?
There are many detoxification options out there and a DIY approach is easy, depending on your individual needs. Many programs follow a seven-day schedule because it may take the body time to naturally clean the blood
First, lighten up your toxin load to eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugars, and saturated fats, all of which act as toxins in the body and are obstacles to your healing process. Also, minimize the use of chemical-based household cleaners and personal health care products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants, and toothpaste), and substitute natural alternatives.
Another hindrance to good health is stress, which triggers your body to release stress hormones into your system. While these hormones can provide the “adrenaline rush” to win a race or meet a deadline, in large amounts they create toxins and slow down detoxification enzymes in the liver. Yoga and meditation are simple and effective ways to relieve stress by resetting your physical and mental reactions to the inevitable stress life will bring.
The human body can defend itself very well against most environmental insults and the effects of the occasional indulgence. If you’re generally healthy, concentrate on giving your body what it needs to maintain its robust self-cleaning system — a healthful diet, adequate fluid intake, regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and all recommended medical check-ups.
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