Betrayed by the Cleanse
Raise your hand if you‘ve been fooled by a detox
Our obsession with flawless skin is nothing new. A clear, glowing complexion has been in demand for millennia. Even the Roman poet Ovid weighed in on products: Libyan barley, raw eggs, and stag antlers are some of his more bearable suggestions. This preoccupation has reached a fever pitch with the influx of K-beauty products now available in the Western market, which has us all searching for the perfect cream or serum that will eradicate our acne once and for all, while simultaneously making us so dewy that if the sun hits us just right, we could start a fire.
However, most of us are victims of our toxic environment: living in heavily-polluted cities, or spending too many late nights out with one drink too many can leave us with dull, congested skin. Or the worst offender: terrible popular advice that many of us hold as gospel. I’m sure you’ve all heard about coconut oil being the end all for perfect skin, and if it works for you, great. But for many, coconut oil does nothing more than sit on top of the skin and clog pores. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for popular, but imprecise, skincare advice.
It comes as no surprise that one of the most popular concerns in skincare is the “detox.” That one miracle tea, mask, or juice cleanse that will magically rid our bodies of all toxins, revealing preternaturally beautiful skin. I know, because I was trying them all. At 24, my skin, which had been blemish-free even during high school, began to break out horribly. I was developing the kind of acne that you might expect to see on a teen in the midst of puberty.
Desperate to retain my favorite physical feature, I went to a spa that charged an entire income tax return. There the esthetician looked at my skin under an illuminated magnifying glass and told me that my skin was congested, dehydrated, and other cringe-worthy adjectives. She informed me that I was over-stripping my skin with harsh cleansers, flooding my skin with too much oil, and completely throwing off its pH balance. She was amazed that I hadn’t broken out sooner. I told her about the skin detox teas I was trying and all the water I was guzzling on the daily. She flatly informed me that I was wasting my time.
My esthetician put me on a new (ridiculously priced) routine, and I’m happy to announce that I’m seeing improvements in leaps and bounds. I only wish I would’ve known all of this sooner, as it would have saved me from so many expensive treatments. So, I’m taking it upon myself to de-mystify the detox and clear up some common misconceptions, and most importantly, find out what does work, so you can get the kind of skin that Ovid would have killed a stag for.