What Does Skin Detox Look Like?

Skin Detox

You’ve decided to take the plunge. After reading frightening articles and hearing first hand accounts of toxic chemicals in skin care, you’ve decided to purge your cabinet of all things synthetic. Congratulations! Your face is about to be one happy place!

It’s scary, the unknown. Aloe? Okay, that’s cool. Herbs? Sure. Oils? On my face? We know, it can sound like a prank.

But why put organic, whole foods on your plate and then neglect your skin? Your pores eagerly absorb everything you slather on, so you've got to really think about what’s on the menu!

When you switch your skin care products, your complexion can get a little wonky. This is especially true for those with acne prone or sensitive skin. And yes, reactions can happen in general when you use new products, but side effects can be even greater if your skin has become addicted to harsh ingredients in conventional products.

Why Make the Switch?

We could write a whole article about why you should stop using unnatural skin care products. There are countless toxic chemicals in conventional skin care that aren’t doing your health or your skin any favors. Some show you quick results, but degrade your skin over time. Others are simply fillers or fragrance that are used because they are cheap or convenient. They provide no real benefits to your complexion, and can take an insidious toll on your health.

Another reason we advocate switching to organic skin care products is because they make your skin beautiful. The longer you use them, the more you will glow and love your complexion. Some people have a block to using natural products. They think they are less effective or not effective at all. Some ditch their cleanser and toner first, but cling to anti-aging serums or creams that they consider their (lab made) fountain of youth. Not all natural skin care is created equal, however. Simply omitting chemicals does not an effective natural skin care line make.

Synergistically blending herbs and incorporating them into oils and aloe without excessive heat or processing allows the ingredients to really shine. Packaging in miron glass ensures that quality is maintained without having to use harsh preservatives. Choosing an organic skin care line with the right ingredients and method is vital, or else lack of results will send you right back to where you came from.

Now let’s talk about how to ditch the less-than-natural stuff you’ve got in your cabinet.

Skin Addictions

When your skin gets used to using chemical ingredients, it can be hard to wean yourself off of them. Benzoyl peroxide is a great example.

Usually prescribed for acne, benzoyl peroxide clears up skin by killing bacteria and reducing oil production. In the long term, it is extremely drying to most all skin types (our skin produces oil for a reason…). It is essentially a bleach. Many people find that when they use the ingredient regularly, their towels and garments actually change color!

This drying ingredient is damaging your skin’s acid mantle, which acts as a protective barrier. The pH of your skin should be between 4.5-5.5, but those who use benzoyl peroxide will develop a more alkaline mantle. Then you stop using the ingredient and your skin, in it’s own way, has a panic attack as it tries to get back to its natural pH.

Benzoyl peroxide is not the only ingredient that can throw off your acid mantle. Most conventional skin care products are not pH balanced.

Your skin can become dependent on other ingredients, too, such as retinol, or even salicylic acid. If your skin is hooked on a healthy ingredient, nothing wrong there. But weaning yourself off of toxic ingredients is a necessary step in overall health, and can sometimes be a little tricky.


The rebalancing of your skin’s acid mantle can manifest itself as breakouts, especially if you are breakout prone to begin with. As your skin works towards a pH that it likes, you might also see skin that is dry or redder than normal.

If you are going off of an acne-suppressing ingredient, it makes sense that those symptoms would resurface. This is because the ingredient was simply suppressing, not healing your skin.

If you normally experience breakouts, pay attention to the size and location on your face. Maybe you normally get zits hormonally (which generally show up on your chin) or notice acne most often on your forehead (indicative of intestinal stress), but now it’s showing up in different areas of your face, or all over. That’s a sign that the breakouts are detox related. They might be a different size than you normally experience, also, so watch out of that.

The detox process should last a couple weeks, but if you continue to be breaking out beyond then, you should look into addressing the internal causes of acne.

Not everyone breaks out while their skin detoxes. Some people will see redness or dryness when switching to a new skin care line. Most natural ingredients are less harsh than chemical ones, but that doesn’t mean your skin doesn’t need to adjust to them first.

Tips for Skin Detox

  • If you’ve been using benzoyl peroxide, retinol, or another harsh skin care ingredient, it’s a good idea to wean yourself off slowly. Over a two week period, decrease the amount of frequency with which you use products containing that ingredient. That will help your skin’s acid mantle adjust gradually.
  • Don’t swap all of your products at once. If you’re switching to organic skin care, start with your cleanser, toner, and perhaps moisturizer. You can even go one by one if your skin is very sensitive. That way, you don’t shock your skin too much at one time.
  • Help your body cleanse. Engage in vigorous exercise if you can, or visit a sauna to sweat it out. Make sure to shower afterwards and use a natural body wash to rinse everything off.
  • Drink a lot of water, which is oh-so-necessary to help your body flush things out. You can add some lemon for extra detox power.
  • It might not seem like an attractive option, but consider going makeup free while your skin adjusts to the new skin care routine.
  • Use a mud mask to encourage impurities to leave your skin.
  • Consider oil pulling, using activated charcoal tablets, or supplementing with neem to aid the detoxifying process. Heck, maybe it’s time to go on a juice clease. May as well do it all at once!

The feeling of getting clean with your skin care is peaceful, hopeful, exciting… and maybe a little bit scary. Tune in and spend some time with your skin, observing the changes as you go along. In the end, you'll find that natural ingredients really feed your skin and give it youthful radiance.

What have been your experiences with switching to organic skin care? Share in the comments below!

by Hope Freije, with help from the lovely esthetician Abby Stoecker

comments (26 and counting)


Reader Interactions


  1. Heather says

    Hi! I have recently made the switch to natural and organic skin care products. I’m using anow active charcoal as a cleanser and I’m experiencing sporadic acne. It’s much different than my normal once in a while hormonal breakout. I didn’t realize I needed to wean my skin off the harsh products I was using and now am about 3 weeks into using the natural organic products. Is there anything I can do to help my skin adjust? Or should I just continue using it as I have ever been?

    Any advice would be much appreciated ♡

    • Annmarie Skin Care says


      Absolutely! I’m not sure what your diet looks like but I would suggest increasing the greens in your diet. Adding lemon to your water is also a great help and making sure that you’re drinking at least a 1/2 gallon of water daily! I hope your clogged pores subside soon 🙂

  2. Julie says

    Hello, I just tried a sample kit of yours. I liked the products, but ran out of them rather quickly. I have acne (some regular and some cystic), but I am also 33, so not sure if I should be using the acne line or the anti-aging line or a bit of both? My skin went a bit nuts so I will try and decipher whether that was from detoxing or my skin not agreeing with everything. My skin overall is combination but leaning towards a little dry this time of year. Do you have any recommendations? I am thinking maybe the citrus mint cleanser and the herbal facial oil for acne prone skin? Thanks so much!

    • admin says

      Hi Julie! I agree with your product choices, and I’d add the Anti-Aging Serum. This serum works great for people who are breakout prone, because it soothes and heals with aloe and rose distillate. It also provides wonderful anti-aging benefits. 🙂

  3. Quintesah Syas says

    I will be 33 soon and I’m struggling with acne skin. My acne started at 21, in college, and I’ve been trying to figure out the solution ever since. My acne is on my cheeks. I suffer most from blackheads and whiteheads. However, I occasionally get cystic acne that’s very painful (either on checks or near chin).
    Like most acne sufferers, I feel like I’ve tried every product out there. I’ve also been to several dermatologist who all use the same routine (oral antibiotics, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin, clindamycin, hydroquinone, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, etc.). My primary care physician believes I have polycystic ovarian syndrome so I’ve been on spiromolactone for a year (started at 25mg now I’m on 100mg). I also use skinceuticals products right now and they’re good but I’m still suffering with acne so I feel it must be something else causing the acne.
    I’m interested in trying your products, but I’m not sure if I’ll get results. Any recommendations?

    • admin says

      Hi Quintesah! I’m sorry you’ve been struggling with acne, I know that can be really frustrating when you just want to the find the solution.

      We do have an article on , which talks about where on your face the acne appears and what it means. For acne on your cheeks, be sure to be diligent about wiping your cell phone and keeping your pillow cases clean. These simple things can contribute to acne! Another thing the article suggests is that environmental toxins or allergies that affect the respiratory system can be to blame here. Or, too much sugar in the diet.

      I would definitely recommend switching to natural products that will help heal your skin instead of putting harsh chemicals on it. Our Citrus Mint cleanser is the best for taming acne. It’s gentle but also cleans thoroughly. Follow with the Rosemary Toning Mist, which is antibacterial but also keeps the skin soft. The Anti-Aging Serum is very calming, with aloe and rose distillate, so we recommend this product to people with acne and sensitive skin in addition to those looking for anti-aging benefits. For your facial oil, that depends on how oily your skin is. If it is oily, you should use the Herbal Facial Oil for Oily and Acne Prone Skin. If it’s drier, the Herbal Facial Oil For Normal and Combination Skin should work best. This oil has a grape seed oil base (same as the formula for oily skin), but is less astringent than the oily skin formula.

      Looking at your diet is really important in fixing acne. You may have developed a food allergy, or perhaps you changed your diet around the age 21? That might be causing your skin some problems.

      I will email you as well. Thank you for commenting on the blog!

      • Julie says

        I just wrote a comment as well and then after I submitted it, I read yours above and it is EXACTLY what I am struggling with as well. Down to the PCOS and being 33. Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. shawna says

    Hi! I need some advice on switching to your products. First I have been through the detox thing many times in healing my body and skin from acne over the last ten years. I’ve always been patient in trying products, but I have a bad reaction to the Acne prone cleanser/Citrus mint cleanser every time I try it. I eat a wholes foods diet with about 80% organic. I live a holistic lifestyle so there are many factors I’ve changed that can affect your skin, from naturally balancing hormones, not eating hormones foods, or toxic foods in the first place to being emotionally healthy. I was using Neutrogena natural scrub which is the only off the shelf product that continues to work for me. It claims to be all natural, not organic though, With everything else being organic in my life I wanted to switch to all organic face wash as well. I already use all other natural products for hygiene, makeup, no chemicals etc what so ever. I want to be able to get off acne creams from my dermatologist fully. I use the oil cleansing method and the Neutrogena scrub with organic Argon oil. I’ve research Argon as a good acne fighter and hoped to pair it with a organic cleanser. The Neutrogena scrub has willow bark that fights acne and may be the thing my skin is detoxing while using the organic cleanser? I can understand my skin detoxing if I had a different lifestyle, but I don’t see why my skin seems to hate this cleanser so much as if I have tons of toxins tramped in my body. Should I ditch the Neutrogena and only use the organic cleanser with the oil cleanser method for a while? I’m just frustrated because I’ve had months of clear skin until I tried this product, but I’m holistic and rather use natural products. Also my skin is very sensitive from my Irish background. Will I get a refund for the cleanser after I do another trail run? Should I switch to the sensitive face cleanser you offer instead? Thank you!

    • admin says

      Hi Shawna! Thanks for your comment. You will be able to get a refund if you don’t like the cleanser. If your skin is oily, I recommend you stick with the Citrus Mint Cleanser. If after a month or so, you’re still seeing breakouts, it may be that that cleanser just isn’t right for you.

      If you have non oily or dry skin (which some people with acne do!), you could try our Aloe Herb Cleanser. It is a moisturizing cleanser, with coconut oil in it, so it’s almost like the oil cleansing method!

  5. gaylejoanne says

    Have just reordered more of your excellent products.
    I am using an anti-wrinkle and moisture cream billed as an amino acid based product. It seems very heavy compared to your anti-aging serum (which I ran out of) and contains cetyl alcohol and emullum delta and other ingredients. My face is currently splotchy and breaking out. I look forward to receiving my order from you – needless to say!!

  6. Tracy Lubratt says

    I had just read about that last night. A picture I found of perioral dermatitis looks like what I’m dealing with. Any suggestions?

  7. Tracy Lubratt says

    Just to give a little back story…
    I had switched over to using your products for my face… mostly the aloe herb facial cleanser, herbal facial oil and neroli toning mist. LOVE them! I don’t remember when I switched over… you probably have that in your records.
    In mid July, I started a rash between my left cheek, lip and nose. I have treated it as a microbial issue, though not sure what kind of microbe. It has stayed pretty much in check, but eventually started up by my left eye, then faded from my cheek area. I’m just wondering if it could be a detox type of situation like you had mentioned??? (Or if not, I will continue “fighting it”.)

    • admin says

      Hi Tracy!

      I’m not sure if that sounds like a detox situation. If I were you, I would tone down your skin care routine so you can figure out if there’s a product causing the reaction, and also to give your skin a little break. Consider seeing a health professional who can tell you more about what your rash might be stemming from.

      Best of luck!!

  8. Lauren says

    Well into my 30’s, I’ve developed really painfully cystic acne that I’ve seen a dermatologist for. He has me using Cetaphil facial cleanser and moisturizer but I just don’t feel like it’s keeping my skin clean (they also have me on a oral medication) — I tried your product and did really like them however ran out and went back to just using the Cetaphil — welcome back the cysts and I’m looking to come back to your products. Can you recommend something to help keep this blemishes at bay?? I appreciate your assistance!

    • admin says

      Hi Lauren! We don’t recommend products like Cetaphil. Cystic acne is a tricky one, and probably has roots beyond what you’re putting on your skin. Skin care can definitely help, though. I recommend you use our Citrus Mint Cleanser, which has ingredients like neem and rosemary help tame bacteria, but this cleanser is still gentle. The Anti-Aging Serum is very calming and healing, with aloe and rose distillate to soothe your skin, plus anti-aging ingredients like plantain. You can also try our Herbal Facial Oil for Oily and Acne Prone skin, depending on whether your skin is dry or not. If your skin is dry, I would not recommend this product to you as it is more on the astringent side.

      A weekly Purifying Mud Mask will help draw toxins out of your body. Try to pinpoint what might be upsetting your body. You can try an elimination diet to figure out if there’s a good that you may have developed an intolerance to. Make an extra effort to destress, as stress exacerbates acne. If yoga and meditation aren’t your jams, take a long walk or hike in nature. Consider cutting back on caffeine and alcohol.

      I really hope this helps!!

  9. Tracy Lubratt says

    I have had a funny rash that started near my mouth and nose and has been lingering for about 2 1/2 to 3 months now. It has faded, and is now mostly gone, but has moved to just to the outside of my eye on one side. It is itchy, but nothing anti-bacterial, anti-fungal or anti-viral has made it go away completely. Could this possibly be my skin detoxing?

  10. Meg Kennedy says

    I wanted to switch to your products and started with the Anti-Aging Oil. My skin became so dry, I contacted your customer service and you sent the Herbal Oil which had the same effect. I definitely need a moisturizer I think. Can you tell me your recommendation? Thank you!

    • admin says

      Hi Meg! If your skin is very dry, I recommend using a serum in addition to your oil. The Anti-Aging Serum has aloe to soothe inflamed skin, as well as grapeseed oil to moisturize and lots of yummy herbs to heal your skin.

      The Coconut Honey Mask is a deep moisturizer that’s great to use once or twice a week.

      I hope one of these suggestions works!

  11. Kasey says

    I have been having breakouts for about 5 months now. I use mostly natural products (oil cleanse followed by foaming cleanser, tone, moisturize at night, during the day I cleanse then I use a mineral sunscreen mineral makeup [alima pure]). I have never struggled with acne and all of a sudden, I have it terribly! It is mostly along my jaw and chin, and around my mouth. Sadly the change seems to correspond with switching to “mineral based” natural products. I don’t want to switch to using chemical products and sunscreens on my face, but it just seems to be getting worse and worse. Dermatologists only want to prescribe me Retin-A. Your thoughts?

    • admin says

      Hi Kasey! I know the oil cleansing method doesn’t work for everyone. It also sounds like you switched a lot of products in your routine all at once. This can definitely cause reactions and make it hard to pinpoint exactly which ingredient is giving you trouble. I recommend cutting back on the steps in your routine, and being very regular about it, so you can give you skin some time to adjust and also get a better idea of which product might be causing the reaction.

      Acne around your chin is often related to your hormones. If you are able to, getting your hormones tested could help you figure out the root of the problem.

      I hope this helps!

  12. Mary Lopez says


    I just started trying your skin care products and I love them and my skin feels great! I am trying to buy them a little at the time because they are a tad on the expensive side, but as you said a little bit goes a long way and I like that they are made with all natural ingredients and the smell awesome!

    Lately though, I bought the Herbal Facial Oil for oily and acne prone skin for the T-zone on my face. I noticed it getting a bit oilier that usual. I have a problem with enlarged pores on my nose and I have always had problems with acne especially on my forehead, nose and chin.

    I am 55 now so I bought the samples of Anti-aging products for the rest of my face and I like how my skin feels. When I look up close in the mirror that is a different matter. I have noticed a little improvement. How long can it take to see noticeable results? I especially like the Anti-aging oil and the serum. They smell so good as do the rest of your products. I hope you will continue to make them for a long time to come. Thank you!

  13. Maureen Neumann says

    Would like to know your feelings on the clarisonic skin cleansing tool.
    Most dermatologist recommend them but what product would you recommend to use with it. I was breaking out in little bumps that were surface bumps. She said it was from oil. Which I was using coconut oil on my face along with your oil product. I also use an olive oil cleanser I bought from DHC. I stopped using by clarisonic for a while. She recommends I use this with the clarisonic cleansing lotion that has the salysic acid in it for breakouts.

    Thank you,

    • admin says

      Hi Maureen! For some people, the clarisonic is a great tool for keeping break outs at bay.

      For your skin, I’d recommend using the Citrus Mint Cleanser, which is slightly astringent, but not drying, and has ingredients like neem that work really well for controlling breakouts. Follow this with Our Rosemary Toning Mist to soften your skin and also help keep your skin clear. Next, the Anti-Aging Serum will moisturize your skin and keep it looking youthful, but is also very gentle for sensitive skin. 🙂 If you want to follow this with an oil (if you need more moisture), I think you should use the Herbal Facial Oil for Normal and Combination Skin. This helps control break outs but it also really moisturizing.

      I hope these recommendations help!

  14. Linda Bolin says

    Your email today was perfect timing. I have loved and used your products for quite a while, but about 3 weeks ago decided to try proactive plus to try to get rid of stubborn blackheads on my nose. Well, instead it caused my face to breakout (a couple on my chin, a couple below my cheeks, around my nose and on my forehead). I have switched back to your products and hopefully this allergic reaction or detox or whatever it may be will clear soon. I would just love to get rid of blackheads and shrink my pores more. I am too old for acne(lol). Thanks again for your wonderful products and informative emails

    • admin says

      Hi Linda! I’m glad you’re switching back to our products! For those blackheads, be diligent about using your Dead Sea Scrub and Purifying Mud Mask. You can put the Dead Sea Scrub on like a mask, for about 15-20 minutes, then scrub it off. Do this 1-2 x week, or alternate with the Purifying Mud Mask (so you could do both once a week).

      Blackheads are tricky and they can stay on your face for way too long! Cutting out dairy can help with this, as dairy is mucous forming and your skin can try to expel this through the skin. If you have access to a sauna, use this to open your pores and sweat some of your toxins out.

      Looking at your order history, I think you’re choosing mostly the right products for your skin. You might want to use the Citrus Mint Cleanser instead of (or alternate it with) the Aloe Herb Cleanser, though. The Citrus Mint Cleanser has ingredients like neem that really help to reduce breakouts. You could also consider the Herbal Facial Oil for Normal/Combination Skin , which has grape seed oil to help reduce break outs while still being very moisturizing. You can continue to use your other anti-aging products – the serum and the eye cream. 🙂

      I hope this helps!

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