Using 8 herbal detox remedies to clarify, purify, and detoxify stressed skin
The word detox is thrown around the wellness community left and right, but it isn’t always clear what’s really meant by it, or how it works. Detox diets are said to eliminate toxins from your body, in order to enhance and fortify your body’s own defense and filtering mechanisms. A digital detox means logging off of social media for a month, and replacing screen time with interpersonal or outdoor time.
Sounds pretty nice, right? Well, what if we told you the same principles could be applied to your skin care routine?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s discuss the link between this detox and that detox – and the many detoxes in between. A detox is the elimination of one set of behaviors, in tandem with the incorporation of a new, healthier set of behaviors. When you go back to your old habits, it’s with a bit more mindfulness, and a rejuvenated baseline resting state. Ok, so what about that natural, herbal skin detox?
A skin detox means cutting out some of the more harmful ingredients we pummel onto our skin (and subsequently, into our bloodstream) on a day to day basis. This toxic onslaught can include things like petroleum, mineral oil, silicone, synthetic fragrance, formaldehyde, chemical sunscreen agents, talc powder, aluminum, and even invisible toxins in the air or our direct environments. There’s a long (and terrifying) list of potentially carcinogenic, toxic, and pore-clogging ingredients that, if anything, are PRO-toxifyng instead of DE-toxifyng.
The solution is to replace your daily toxic ingredients with herbal, plant-based substitutes. The cleaner the ingredient list, the closer your skin will be to detox nirvana – clarified, free to breathe easy, and unburdened by toxins.
Start your skin detox by having a look through your bathroom vanity and makeup bag, and quarantine toxic offenders as you go. For the duration of your herbal detox, these harmful drugstore formulas should be off limits. For a quick refresher on the most toxic skin care ingredients, check out EWG’s Toxic Twenty Chemicals and Contaminants in Cosmetics (they cover skin care, too).
For your herbal skin detox, the idea is to replace these harmful ingredients with herbal-infused, potent natural remedies and treatments which can help to re-balance your skin. The lipid barrier, its pH balance, ability to hold moisture, and skin cell regeneration abilities are all crucial to support in your skin care, and during your detox.
Herbal remedies and treatments are ideal to get your skin back on track, because herbs are nature's most concentrated plant matter (hence their strong fragrances and often intense flavors). By definition, herbs are the usable portion of an herbaceous plant, which is a plant that lacks a woody stem. They are chock full of polyphenols, a category of chemicals (of which there are more than 500 unique variations).
Within these variations, polyphenols can be divided into flavonoids, phenolic acids, stilbenes, and lignangs, and each category contains a unique concentration of powerful antioxidants known to battle cell damage, strengthen genes, and combat internal inflammation. Polyphenols are super antimicrobial, so it’s thanks to them that herbs can be used to literally cleanse your system of bacterial and microbial invaders. Herbs have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal properties, concentrated into pastes, teas, and tinctures, and to add vitamin and flavor boosts to healing foods.
Another herbal tidbit? When it comes to pure, pressed, and undiluted herbs, a little goes a long way. Many herbs you might keep stocked in your kitchen are full of antioxidants and vitamins, and boast incredibly clarifying, antimicrobial, and antibacterial benefits. Applied to your skin, herbal infusions generally work as mildly purifying astringents that can prevent free radical damage and clear congestion in the pores. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites below!
Burdock is a mildly pungent root that’s been used for thousands of years for hair and skin remedies. It contains fiber, tannins, and essential fatty acids. It’s a powerful herbal botanical that works to fight acne and eczema, thanks to its intense antibacterial action. Burdock features in our Tea tree and Willow Clarifying Cleanser, a super antibacterial concentration that balances oil and zaps blemishes.
Neem is a supremely effective skin toner, working to clarify and strengthen the epidermal layer thanks to its high concentration of fatty acids, vitamin E, and calcium. It stimulates collagen production, treats acne and warts, and even promotes wound healing. It amps up our Tea Tree and Willow Clarifying Astringent, which deeply hydrates and calms inflammation while working to prevent future breakouts.
Calendula is a floral antiseptic that’s derived from the cheerful marigold flower. It promotes skin tightness and tone, effectively reducing day-to-day damage by revving up your skin’s defense mechanisms against external toxins and bacterial invaders. It’s also a skin conditioner that supports collagen production, so it’s great for tightening and toning skin on your body. With that in mind we’ve incorporated it into our skin-softening and deeply cleansing French Lavender Shower Gel.
Originating in Australia, the eucalyptus leaf is an active, potent anti-inflammatory which works to clear away dead skin cells and boost skin cell turnover. It’s a stimulating and aromatic botanical that increases blood flow – meaning better circulation and a flushed, healthy glow. It works hard along alongside soothing and antibacterial, emollient honey in our Eucalyptus Shower Gel, which is perfect for washing away environmental toxins after a long day amongst smog, pollution, and car exhaust.
Lavender is a famously therapeutic plant with soothing aromatherapy properties plus potent antibacterial action that makes it useful for clarifying dirty, oily, and pollution-packed pores. It’s also a potent source of antioxidants, meaning that it’s an essential herb for aging skin. It features in our cult favorite Hydra Drench Cream, a fast absorbing formula that combines lavender with super hydrating hyaluronic acid. Lavender is also a major player in both our deeply relaxing and detoxifying Lavender Sea Therapy Bath.
Calming chamomile is favored for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory abilities, making it a super choice for acneic skin in need of a detox. Also rich in flavonoids and antioxidants, it’s a great choice for sensitive skin of all ages. It amps up the formula in our Does it All Sheet Mask, a multi-tasking treatment with an organic aloe leaf juice base.
Witch hazel is an absolute MVP for skin that’s struggling with acne and lipid overproduction, and is a must-have addition to your herbal detox. The gallic acid and tannins naturally present in its plant chemistry have potent anti-inflammatory properties, which reduce redness and soothe skin irritation. It acts as an astringent, causing pores to naturally shrink and seal out bacterial invasions. Its powerful antioxidant properties also help it to protect against skin damage from sun exposure. It works hard in our Restorative Sea Culture Toner alongside humectant algae and super nourishing chia seed water.
This detoxifying herb is a favorite for those dealing with an oily skin texture, roughness, and dullness. Tea tree treats swelling and inflammation, while simultaneously cutting through lipids and removing a buildup of dead skin cells. It’s super effective when it comes to purifying congested pores, and can also clear up symptoms of itching and irritation for those dealing with dermatitis and psoriasis. It’s a central ingredient in our Tea Tree and Willow Clarifying Cleanser, which is ultra clarifying but gentle enough to use daily.
So there’s the roundup of our top formulas to use in an herbal skin detox! Mix and match ingredients, and make sure you’re also nixing the bad stuff. Part of the deal is that you have to cut back on some of your less than healthy chemicals, in order to give the herbal botanicals a chance to work to their full potential.