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Healthy Living

Skin Detox
Dr Sachin Varma
We mostly tend to associate detox with strict diets, often forgetting the detoxification by the largest organ of our body - the skin. Approximately 10 percent of body elimination occurs through the skin, working in conjunction with other organs of elimination such as the colon, kidneys, and lungs. So how do we detox our skin?

Regular cleansing of your skin from the accumulated toxins on the surface is a must. One must use natural products and milder soaps for cleansing the skin. Using steam or sauna to excrete the accumulated toxins in the pores, done at regular intervals - weekly or fortnightly - can help eliminate toxins from the skin.

Skin massage helps increases circulation and thus helps elimination of the metabolic waste accumulated in the body. It also stimulates lymphatic drainage - no wonder our skin feels quite pampered after a massage.

Skin Brushing
This helps excretion of the accumulated toxins in the lymph system and enhances the body’s natural detox processes. Brushing a wet skin might make the brush glide on the surface, but on a dry skin, it actually brushes the skin. Dry skin brushing is very easy - all you need is a natural, long bristled brush with soft brushing surface. You can also use a loofah. Brushing should be done from downwards to upwards - in the legs and arms. On the abdomen, you need round circular movements. Take care to avoid the face, sensitive areas and raw surfaces though.

Shed dead skin cells and help generation of new skin cells through what is called exfoliation. This improves the texture and glow of your skin. Use scrubs available in markets or use natural products like besan (gram flour) to exfoliate your face and body.

Beauty treatments
Beauticians use a combination of principles from simple cream massages to steam to exfoliation to heat, to cause elimination of toxins and increasing skin circulation. This is what causes the instant skin glowing effect after a visit to the beautician.

Medical and cosmetic treatments
Treatments like microdermabrasions or skin polishing uses inert Aluminum oxide crystals to exfoliate the surface toxins and dead cells. Chemical peels, meanwhile, do it at microscopic level to help exfoliate damaged cells and yield a bright vibrant look. Lasers do the regeneration of damaged fibres by using light. These and other procedures have widely changed the scope and role of dermatologists across the globe. Other methods of detoxification using enema & bowel cleaning, hydrotherapy and aromatherapy are also being practiced but their role is not well established.

Secrets to a Glowing Skin
  1. Keep your environment pollution free and use environment friendly products - each one of us have a stake in the pie. We must also keep our vehicle emissions under control to decrease environmental pollution.
  2. Use good sunscreens at all times to prevent the damage caused by ultraviolet rays in sunlight. It also helps reduce generation of free oxygen radicals and resultant toxin generation.
  3. Drinking plenty of water help regular clearing of waste products, and thereby prevents toxin accumulation in the body. Also, a regular bowel habit helps reduce toxin elimination in our system.
  4. Take appropriate multivitamin and antioxidant supplements - they have a role in prevention of toxin accumulation. The role of vitamin A, C, E, and minerals like zinc, copper and selenium are well documented in reducing free oxygen radicals which help toxin generation.
  5. And most importantly, eat healthy. Avoid processed foods, carbonated drinks and caffeine. Smoking and excess alcohol are a no-no too. Give these simple detox measures a try. Give your body a new vigor and your skin a new glow. Let people turn around to look at the new you
Dr.Sachin Varma is Consultant Dermatologist, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata.
  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
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