The Top-To-Bottom Skin Cleanse

From Adina Grigore, Author of Skin Cleanse, Just the Essentials, and Founder of S.W. Basics

At this point in the game, most of us have tried some sort of food cleanse. Perhaps you’ve attempted the Master Cleanse, maybe you’ve juice cleansed, or maybe you prefer to fast for a day every now and then. Even if you haven’t experimented with any of this before, you know the gist: gain more control of your health, rid your body of toxins, and feel better afterwards. The idea behind a Skin Cleanse is similar: figure out what’s causing your skin issues, eliminate them from your routine, and get that healthy glow you really want.

It’s truly not as hard to do as you might think, and I promise that you’ll feel less stressed and totally empowered afterwards. Here’s a step-by-step guide to doing it on your own:

First things first, your diet affects your skin.

You already know that your diet is strongly tied to the state of your health, and therefore the state of your skin. When stressing about breakouts, it’s easy to ignore lifestyle and diet and focus instead on searching for that perfect product, even though what we eat and how we live have way more of an impact on skin health than any cream ever could. So, the first step in getting to know your skin better is to figure out what foods make you feel and look healthy and what foods are doing the opposite. Remember though: it’s generally different for everyone.

Step 1: Start a food journal.

A food journal is exactly what it sounds like: a personal diary in which you log absolutely everything you ingest (meals, drinks, supplements, snacks), along with your physical and emotional symptoms after you consume them. Keep a food journal for a minimum of three days, but a week is ideal. Pay close attention to beverages, especially water intake. Check in with yourself a few times a day and record how you feel and how your skin looks. If you’re truly honest with your journaling, it will help you identify the foods that could be triggering skin problems.

Step 2: Do an elimination diet.
Because it’s in your food journal, you’ll already have a sense of what foods may not be your skin’s best friend. Start by eliminating them all for three days, and then add them back into your diet one at a time. After you reintroduce the first food, wait another three or four days before bringing back the second one. If you don’t experience any symptoms, you should be able to eat these foods again without any flare-ups. If the problem comes back, then you’ve found one of your culprit foods.

Step 3: Keep a product journal.

A product journal is exactly like a food journal, but instead of recording what you eat, you write down what you put on your skin. For three to seven days, record what products you use and when. Pay close attention to the state of your skin at various times a day, especially after you apply a product. The journal is mostly meant to show you how many beauty products you’re actually using. Quickly, though, you’ll also start to notice irritated skin right after you use a problem product, and you can then eliminate it from your routine.

Step 4: Check yourself into beauty rehab.

The overall idea of beauty rehab is to show you that if you put less junk on your skin, it will get better. Break your addiction to products by eliminating them all at once, just as you would break your addiction to sugar by not eating it for an entire week. There are three levels: you can start at Level 1 and work your way up to Level 3, or you can go straight to the level that best matches your routine and your goals for your skin.

  • Level 1: Lasts for three days. In this level, you don’t have to stop using your products. Simply add in some natural ingredients, like olive oil or apple cider vinegar, to your routine and work in a couple of DIY beauty recipes. Since the ingredients are completely natural, they’ll provide much-needed nutrients for your skin.
  •  Level 2: Lasts for one day. Go sans makeup, sans face products for one full day. One day! It’s nothing. You will not use mascara, eye shadow or concealer. Nothing. You will not use your face wash or toner or serum or moisturizer. None of it. You will replace those with DIY recipes, and you’ll splash your face with warm water in the morning and at night!
  • Level 3: Lasts three days to two weeks. Take break from all of your products (makeup, soap, and shampoo included) for at least three days (longer if you can). You’re allowing your skin some space to regulate itself again; something that, because of all the products you’ve been using, it hasn’t had to do in a long time. Each time you wash with only water, your skin should feel a little better. Even the dryness will start to ease over the course of the first three days.

Step 6: Create a new routine catered JUST for you.

When you are done with your skin cleanse, it will be similar to your coming off an elimination diet, especially if you went all the way to Level 3. But even if you stopped at Level 1, you should be able to make a few subtle discoveries. You will immediately notice that products you thought were helping or that you regarded as everyday staples suddenly cause flare-ups. You’ll be able to see which products, ingredients, or steps in your skincare routine to abandon and which to re-incorporate!

Step 7: You did it!

Feel good knowing that you know yourself better. Seriously, it can be tough to discover that it’s time to toss the concealer that you’ve been using for the past three years. Or that your “pizza only on weekends” rule is more like a “pizza all the time because I’m tired” addiction. But cleaning up your products and your diet is also incredibly freeing (and healing). Everyone’s body is different, and you are the only one that can get to know yourself on a micro-level, which is the ultimate trick to clear, calm, and happy skin.

Want more guidance? Need some help DIY-ing? Check out Skin Cleanse for the total rundown.

Want more from Adina? Read her guide to using essential oils in your home and then check out how to use essential oils to feel better, fast