June 19, 2022 ۰ 5 min read
Yoga, Food & My Skin:
Does detoxing really give you healthy skin?
“Detoxing” has been a hot health topic for a long time. For people who have skin health issues, finding a way to “detox” the skin seems to be helpful. But can skin really be detoxified? Moreover, when people talk about how doing yoga and eating the right food helps detox our body and skin, is that true? Is there a skin care product truly designed for detoxing?
In this article, I would like to talk about these “myths” about detox, and hopefully this will help you find out the right solution if you are trying to find a way to keep your skin healthy.
Let’s talk about yoga first!
I am a yoga lover. Having practiced yoga for more than 10 years, I am constantly asked by people,
“Does hot yoga really help detox my body and skin?”
“There’s a class called detoxing yoga in my yoga studio, does it really work?”
I was confused by this “detox with yoga” idea for quite a long time so I did some research and I did ask one of my Indian yoga teachers about it. The truth is, no, none of this is actually helping you “detox” your body or skin, however doing yoga regularly does improve your health, not only physically but mentally. Eventually, this would reflect on your overall body and skin condition.
The idea of hot yoga helps you “detox” your skin, in my opinion, is just marketing propaganda. Hot yoga does make you sweat a lot. Doing yoga in a 90 degree environment makes your body lose a tremendous amount of water. Some people claim that skin is detoxified in this condition because all the toxins accumulated in the body are “brought out” by the sweat. This is really a false statement. Toxins can’t exit the body via the skin. Instead, it’s the aforementioned organs — primarily the kidneys and liver — that hold that responsibility.1
However yoga does help in some way– there are several yoga asanas, yoga twisting and yoga breathing for example, which help you strengthen your inner organ muscles if you do it correctly and regularly. Instead of saying yoga helps “detox” your body and skin, I would prefer to say that yoga improves your health overall, therefore your body will work on detoxifying itself more effectively.
The same idea goes to the food. I am a firm believer in “you are what you eat,” but does eating certain food really help detox the body? I am skeptical about this. However there is no doubt that some food like refined sugar, processed meat, or saturated fat do have a negative impact on our body. Food does have a close relationship with our health.
For my personal health, I have tried to cut down my refined sugar intake and eat less processed products in the past few years. I am never a meat lover so eating more vegetables and fruits is actually very easy for me, especially after I moved to Thailand, a fruit paradise, I literally eat at least 2 different kinds of fruits in each meal. I can tell you that my eczema has never come back to me after I changed my diet and exercise habits. While I have been searching if there is a food which really helps detox my skin and body, I noticed that there is no strong scientific evidence in proving the relationship between “food and detox” in most of the information I found. However, one thing in common among all the articles and research I have read is that, all the so-called “detoxing foods” are – vegetables!” – from green veggies like broccoli, spinach, to root veggies like ginger and beets – it seems that I’ll probably never go wrong by just eating more vegetables.2
But again, that’s for health, not for “detoxing” anything. Good food provides good nutrition to our body but it does not help “wash away” what’s already in our body. Then why are some foods marketed as detox food? One theory is that vegetables are easier for the body to digest and consume, and less work for the kidneys and liver so these important organs can work on something else more effectively, which is detoxing our body.
In summary, I believe that with a regular yoga practice (or any form of exercise) and a healthy eating habit – including more vegetables in the meal – are the best ways to improve our overall health. When we are healthy, our skin can defend more potential threats from the outside world too. That sets a good foundation for healthy skin.
But…. What if I really want to know how to detoxify my skin?
Keep in mind that toxins can not exit via skin. The so-called “detoxing skin care products” in the market may just give your skin a deep cleaning and that is all.
I have seen some exfoliating products claiming that they do a great job in removing all the unwanted toxins from the skin. Exfoliating products remove or “polish” the top layer of skin and should be avoided by those with dry skin because the top layer of skin is already compromised. Charcoal-based products being marketed claim that the skin would look smooth, clean and remove toxins after just one use. It is true that activated charcoal can absorb impurities from the skin, but I would highly recommend that before trying out any product, check out the scIQ app to be sure it is compatible with your skin type and to search for what other people think about the products. Some “detoxing” products may clean your skin more thoroughly than others, but they may also irritate your skin quickly.
For example, I tried exfoliating my face more frequently during the summer time because I thought my skin might “absorb” too much of the chemicals from all the sunscreen lotions I put on. I ended up having a rash on my face because my skin became so dry after washing so much.
It is never wrong to give your skin a deep cleaning regularly. Just remember to check out the scIQ app before you try out deep cleaning products to see if they are compatible with your skin type. Finally, developing healthy habits like eating healthy food and exercising regularly will definitely help your skin in the long run.
- Sharkey, L. “8 Things You Need to Know About ‘Skin Detoxing‘” Healthline, October 2019.
- “Detox Foods : Detoxification is an essential part of optimal health” Narayana Health, October 2019.
Vita Danapong is Director of Marketing, and writer-contributor to Skin Care IQ.