It is not possible to detox the skin since toxins cannot leave the body through the skin. However, adopting a skin care routine can help prevent skin damage and remove dead skin cells to promote healthier skin.

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The body does eliminate toxins through the kidneys, liver, and immune system.

This article looks at the idea behind a skin detox, including whether it is possible, substances that damage skin, how the body detoxes these substances, and ways to maintain healthy skin.

It is not possible to detox the skin because toxins cannot exit the body through the skin. While sweating does eliminate water, it does not remove impurities or harmful substances.

A full-body detox, or cleanse, may help people to eliminate toxins from the body through other organs in the body, such as the kidneys and liver, and through the immune system.

Skin damage

When experts talk about a skin detox, they mean getting rid of harmful substances that can affect or damage the skin.

The skin is the largest organ in the body. Several things can damage it, including:

  • Chemicals: Exposure to certain chemicals may contribute to inflammation. This may adversely affect the skin temporarily or permanently.
  • UV rays: Excessive sun exposure and sunlight are one of the biggest causes of aging skin. It also may make scars, age spots, and fine lines more noticeable.
  • Sugar: Processed foods may promote inflammation in the body, which may increase the risk of skin sensitivity and reactions.

Avoiding pollutants, toxins, and harmful substances can help keep the skin clean and healthy.

Read more about the skin here.

While the skin does not remove toxins, the body has built-in systems to remove these substances. The body recognizes the ones it does not need and eliminates them.

The body’s detox systems include the following:

  • The kidneys help remove waste from the body. They remove acid that cells produce. This removal allows the correct balance of minerals, salts, and fluids in the body, such as:
  • The liver also helps in the detoxification process. Drugs and medications travel through the liver. The liver removes harmful substances and converts nutrients so that the body can use, store, and supply them when needed.
  • The immune system recognizes when pathogens enter the body and determines how to handle them. Pathogens include:

Skin care can help protect the skin from its environment. It can help get rid of dead skin cells and minimize signs of skin aging.

Although a skin detox is not going to remove harmful substances from the body, several skin care tips can help promote healthier skin. These include the following:

Cleanse daily

Cleansing the skin daily helps remove oil, dirt, and other impurities that may clog pores. Washing also helps remove bacteria from the surface of the skin.

Read more about skin care routines.


Exfoliating the skin helps remove dead skin cells.

However, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) cautions that it is essential to exfoliate safely. People can try different exfoliation methods, including mechanical exfoliation with scrub tools or brushes, or using chemicals such as alpha-hydroxy acid.

Individuals should choose a product suited to their skin type. It is important to exfoliate gently and to stop if irritation occurs.

Learn about exfoliating at home.


Applying a moisturizer helps reduce dryness and may decrease the look of lines and wrinkles. A person should look for products with ingredients such as squalene and hyaluronic acid, as these hydrate the skin.

Find out what are the best moisturizers.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated may also help the skin. This study found that drinking an extra 2 liters of water daily improved skin hydration and positively impacted the skin.

Read about the benefits of staying hydrated.


Exercise is good for the muscles and bones, and it may also improve skin health. Research from 2015 compared the skin function of sedentary older adults with those who were active. The study found that exercise reduced the effects of aging on the skin.

Read more about exercise.

Manage stress

Stress affects many systems in the body, including the skin. Stress may lead to flare-ups of existing skin problems, such as:

A person may wish to try stress management techniques such as deep breathing and yoga.

Find out more about remedies for stress.

Use sunscreen

According to the AAD, using sunscreen is the most important thing a person can do for their skin. A person should use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on all skin not covered with clothes.

Read more about the benefits of SPF and sunscreen.

Avoid smoking

According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, over time, the possible effects of smoking include:

  • deeper facial wrinkles
  • uneven skin pigmentation
  • dry skin

Learn why smoking is bad for health.

Get enough sleep

Sleep deprivation can adversely affect the skin.

A small study involving 24 females looked at the impact of sleep restriction on facial skin. The study found that even 2 consecutive nights of restricted sleep altered the skin, decreasing its brightness and hydration.

Find out how much sleep a person needs.

Contact a dermatologist if needed

A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in treating the skin. They diagnose and treat all types of skin conditions, infections, and skin problems. When someone is unsure about how to treat their skin, contacting a dermatologist is a good step.

Read more about dermatology in our dedicated hub.

Several substances can play a role in skin aging and damage. Removing or avoiding these substances as much as possible can help maintain skin health.

Although it is not possible to detox the skin, the body still removes harmful substances through other organs, such as the liver and kidneys, and through the immune system.

There are many things a person can do to promote healthy skin, such as cleansing the skin, staying hydrated, and adopting lifestyle changes such as exercise and avoiding smoking.