One of our editors tried a skin cleanse and here's what happened...

One of my favorite types of posts to write here on are Detox Diary posts: a self-conducted experiment where I try a new trend in the health world and see how it works for myself. I’ve blogged about my experience with doing a juice cleanse, trying oil pulling, and detoxing from the inside out, too. And today, I’m here to tell you all about the “skin cleanse” I’ve been on for the last two weeks.

With my New Year’s resolutions still going strong, I felt like this was the perfect time to start my detox. So, I enlisted the help of Team LC’s friend and nutritionist Kelly LeVeque, who gave me a detailed set of guidelines and rules to follow during this skin cleanse. I can proudly say that I just completed this two-week experiment, and the results are pretty fascinating. Mind you, I take my health pretty seriously, eating as healthy as I can and going to the gym regularly. But even for someone who’s already healthy, this cleanse still yields some impressive results.

So, take a peek below to see Kelly’s cleanse rules and read all about my experience. Then prepare to feel inspired to get your own glow going, starting from the inside-out…

The Before & After

A skin cleanse before and after by

The Rules

  • Cut out all refined sugar. Kelly explained that refined sugar spikes your insulin levels, causing a burst of inflammation in the body (and on your skin). In case you didn’t know, inflammation is responsible for breaking down collagen and elastin, which keep your skin tight and wrinkle-free. In short, cut out all candy, sweets and sodas.
  • Add leafy greens to each meal. There’s no denying that the vitamins and minerals in leafy greens like kale, spinach, parsley and cilantro are essential during any kind of detox. Kelly recommended boosting my smoothies and salads with extra kale because the beta-carotene delivers a youthful glow and neutralizes free radicals. Load up on spinach too. It’s a good source of omega-3s, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins B, C, and E.

We love this skin cleanse

  • Drink a glass of lemon water each morning. This boosts your metabolism right when you wake up, and gets your body detoxing first thing in the morning. It’s also alkaline, so it helps balance the pH levels in your body, reducing skin inflammation and flare-ups. Rich in vitamin C, this citrus fruit will help your body purge excess water weight and balance the sodium and potassium levels in your cells. Add a slice of lemon to a mug of warm water in the morning to encourage digestion or squeeze onto your salad when dining out.
  • Make your midday snack a healthy one. This means no more popcorn or granola between lunch and dinner… Kelly recommended having sliced cucumbers, carrots and celery on hand to eat with healthy dips like hummus and almond butter. Cucumbers are especially good for your skin: they contain hydrating, nourishing and astringent properties that are very good for skin both from the inside and topically. The enzymes in them help digest damaged skin cells, removing dead skin cells safely and adding a fresh glow.
  • Amp up your parsley and cilantro.
    • Parsley, known for supporting liver and kidney functions, acts as a metabolism booster while removing toxins. Kelly told me to add it to my daily green juice or sprinkle the milder flat-leaf version on a salad to keep those toxins from showing up on my skin.
    • Cilantro is rich in antioxidants that prevent damage from free radicals and it helps the body purge “heavy metals” consumed in non-organic foods. Grow your own easily at home and add to rice, salads, salsas and dips.

The skin cleanse that our editors swear by

  • Stay off soy. Soy is full of phytoestrogens that can make your face breakout, explained Kelly. These hormonal blemishes occur around the mouth and jaw line.
  • Cut the coffee. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means too much of it will leave you feeling dehydrated (and probably with a headache and under eye circles, too). Try switching to green tea if you really need a little boost in the morning—it only has a fraction of the caffeine found in coffee, and it has wrinkle-fighting antioxidants.
  • Use only natural, chemical-free skin products. If you’re not going to eat toxins, why would you lather them on your face or body? So, Kelly advised me to switch from my favorite scented drugstore body lotion to good old coconut oil. It’s antibacterialand antifungal, which is beneficial for maintaining clear skin. Luckily, I already used most natural skincare products on my face, so this one wasn’t too much of an adjustment. (Click here for a list of Team LC’s favorite eco-friendly beauty products.)
  • Use a face oil three times a week. Kelly says that “oiling” is her best-kept secret for clearing up her clients’ skin. My go to is calendula oil by Eminence, but you could easily use an organic coconut oil too. Oiling a few nights a week keeps my skin dewy and hydrated. This is not the thick night crème you are used to but a thin veil of simple oils to calm, hydrate and help heal the skin. Contrary to popular belief, bacteria doesn’t grow in these oils.
  • Drink half your body weight in water per day. Water increases your metabolism so much that if you’re chronically dehydrated, it can mean up to an 8-pound weight gain or more per year. No wonder weight creeps on! Your challenge is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day.For example, someone who weights 150 pounds should be drinking 75 ounces of water a day. This doesn’t mean all at once, it means throughout the whole day.
  • Don’t skimp on your healthy fats. Avocados will be your best friends on this diet. Avocados, full of moisturizing monounsaturated fats, are a great source of antioxidant carotenoids like alpha-carotene, beta carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein that provide significant protection for your skin from the environmental damage that leads to fine lines and wrinkles. Kelly suggests putting them in your smoothies and adding them to your salads.

The best cleanse for all skin types

My Experience

  • Cutting out refined sugar was tough, but after a few days it became easy. Going off candy and sweets was something I had been wanting to do for a while to keep my energy levels more stable throughout the day, so this was a good excuse to start. Once I got over the hump, I satisfied my sweet tooth with a ginger Health-Aid Kombucha or a piece of fruit. And after a few days, I felt that I had more energy at work (no more mid-day slump), and my pores started to look clear and actually smaller.
  • Eating more greens made a huge difference in the way my skin started to glow. It might be subtle to someone else, but to me it was quite noticeable. Plus, I felt amazing inside and out, eating greens at every meal. It’s something I plan on continuing to do.
  • Kelly had warned me that cutting out soy would be the biggest blockbuster in terms of results, and she was right. I was amazed at how much my skin cleared up simply by saying no to edamame and soy sauce at sushi restaurants. Sushi is my all-time favorite food, so I thought this one would be tough. But I replaced my edamame with a seaweed salad and used coconut aminos in place of soy sauce (Yep, I sure did sneak a bottle into the restaurant in my purse. Guilty!).
  • Switching from my body lotion to coconut oil was tough because it was a product I’d been using forever. The texture of coconut oil felt a little greasy on my skin at first, but it does eventually soak in. And my skin feels amazing—soft and hydrated. While the results are pretty good from this change, I think I’ll find a middle ground and look for a natural, organic body lotion that absorbs into my skin a little more quickly than coconut oil.
  • Cutting out coffee wasn’t too hard—I’ve done it before, so I knew I could do it again. And now I actually prefer my cup of iced green tea instead of my usual latte. For coffee addicts, I recommend doing this one slowly, weaning yourself off cup by cup. I did notice that my energy levels were much more stable throughout the day and I felt more hydrated because I was drinking more water each day. I also slept better, which made my eyes look rested and reduced my under eye circles.

Our editor did a skin cleanse and this is what happened...

The Results

I did have one hormonal breakout at the beginning of the two weeks, but I noticed I was sleeping better from this cleaner diet and regimen, so those hormonal blemishes cleared up much faster than they normally would have. Overall, my skin feels dewy and glowy… It looks like I’m eating healthy fats and getting the vitamins and nutrients my body craves. The best part (in my opinion) is that I made some good habits that I’m going to stick with even after this cleanse has ended.

One thing to note…

In this post, I use the word “cleanse” to describe how I eliminated some of the toxins from my diet… Not all of them. We are in no way suggesting that you obsessively monitor everything you put in your body or only eat the foods on this list. These are simply guidelines and results from a fun experiment! The most important thing to remember is these three words: Everything in moderation.

And there you have it! This post was a lengthy one, but I couldn’t leave out a single detail. Be sure to write to me in the comments if you have any questions or want to give it a try yourself. And a huge thank you to Kelly LeVeque, who helped me get my glow.

Will you give this healthy skin cleanse a try?

Leave your two cents below.

Team LC

Photos: Kelly LeVeque, Jessi Burrone Photography
  • Lemon water is actually alkaline once the body digests it 🙂

    • Maria

      I’ve explained in the comments above that it is NOT alkalising. Your
      blood pH simply cannot be influenced by drink a glass of lemon water, it
      would in fact be a very bad thing! However, you do have to excrete all
      the acid you drink, so yes it will end up in your urine and no that does
      not mean your pH was influenced. Sodium bicarbonate works as a buffer
      in the blood and prevents it from becoming alkaline.

  • Maria

    I think there lies the difference between the US and where I live (the Netherlands), we have prevention programs in place at the GP’s office.When someone comes in with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, they go to a specialized nurse who helps with diabetes regulation, lifestyle advice etc. On the other hand you can’t prevent everything with food and exercise. I’ve seen patients in the cardiac ICU with myocardial infarcts, who live perfectly healthy but are genetically affected.

    But yes I agree with you that med students can learn more about nutrition (and many doctors don’t live that healthy either!). I still struggle with it because there’s so much information out there and it’s hard to make informed decisions, however I think pseudo-scientific justification for eating certain foods doesn’t help in the confusion. Most of the advice above is good, and doesn’t need strange claims to justify eating it. Parsley is healthy because it contains vitamins and minerals, not because it cleanses the liver.

    • Vanessa

      Thank you for being a voice of reason!

  • Vanessa

    Where in that article does it say that sugar causes inflammation?

  • Mary

    Yes, lemon is acidic but turns alkali in the system and does boost the metabolism. As far as everything else in this plan…I have done it for years and it works! There are really no big surprises here folks. The day processed sugar is omitted and more greens are frequented in the diet is the day the skin starts looking better, the energy level increases, and the sleep is better.

  • Mary


  • Robinka

    you forgot about the lip gloss in the after picture 🙂

  • Heather

    Magnesium defeciency can cause panic attacks which could explain the palpitations!

  • Lindsey Mae

    Excellent suggestions! I’m going to try some of these and see what happens. My only comment is that coconut oil can be comedeogenic for some people, so it is best to patch test to see if it will clog your pores (advice from my dermatologist).

  • Melia

    Have you tried the 21 Day Sugar Detox? It removes refined sugar, and it has the full 21 days of recipes for your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I didnt necessarily follow the meals right on week after week, but I kept to the Yes/No/in moderation list, which left me room for my own creativity. Check it out if you havent. “The 21 Day Sugar Detox” Diane Sanfilippo

  • You have make up and better lighting on in the second picture. I’m not convinced

  • Nicole

    I can’t believe that everyone actually spends so much time on this post complaining. Love the tips – if ANYTHING, its inspirational and motivational to make healthy choices!

  • RU

    has anybody drank lemon water, an tested the ph of their urine, to find out, if it goes alkaline at the end of the shoot. 🙂 you all need to meet an have a pow wow, over this, now that would be awesome, instead of behind indivudual curtains…:) does anyone have a ph tester, that could try this an let us know the results. not the strips but the actual ph tester with the probes…..?…

    • RU

      how did i get here……the turtles brought me here……?…how did they birng me here…..they flat out picked me up as i was standing on the beach…..i couldnt resist…there was a mad rush of them… knocked me over….an i landed on top of them…… rode the rest of the way, above a million clammering little turtle feet….in a hurry to get somewhere…..i have no idea where they were going… they made a quick sharp left hand turn an i rolled off, into this chat room?…..stuck now in this square chat box…..waiting for a stampede of grasshoppers to take me back to my happy spot on the beach i was standing on, before all this happened?…what a day, let me tell you……

  • Vava

    This year I have gone through the biggest skin roller coaster of my life and I have tried EVERYTHING. I have incorporated LOTS of water intake in my diet daily (that’s pretty much all I drink). I have tried eating more fruits to substitute the sweets I used to eat. I have started using moisturizers with SPF for the dark spots. Soaping with aloe Vera soap etc etc etc && nothing seems to work. I’ve had clear skin ALL my life up until this year. Now it’s a dark spot war zone. I brought the pimple popping tool so that I can properly extract pimples without leaving a mark and marks still get left. I am now moving on to a skin detox which is how I ended up here. I like what I’ve read && will try it out but at this point I’m super discouraged. 🙁 I feel ugly lol.. Btw I am African American with “combination skin” I believe. Thank you for reading guys and advice or knowledge is welcomed.

    • Vava

      Oh yeah && I’m 24 years of age. I know for sure it’s not puberty.

  • Elena

    Do you have any suggestions of meals that you enjoyed while doing this cleanse besides salads?

  • Jayla Jayla

    this is awesome… would follow the diet tips for sure…when it comes to the natural products, what do you think of raw shea butter? someone recently asked me to try the raw shea butter facial mask by sheamoisture… u think thats any good?

  • Maria, you have no idea what you are talking about. You come across very rude and uninformed!

  • Haille, thank you! I’m so glad you posted this. Perfect response to all this nonsense. I agree 100%…limit refined sugar and eat clean, whole foods.

  • Gingertee

    I based my comment on my experience and the advise of my MD. My teeth are fine as is my health. No one ever mentioned drinking citrus water or vinegar water all day. Those of us who mentioned these things working were talking about a method of dealing with reflux when it attacks. My teeth are fine and my reflux has not been active since 2007 but if I have a heartburn problem, I know that a few small sips of ACV and water makes it go away. I guess I should inform my MD that he should not use terms like getting into your bloodstream.

  • Gingertee

    What i find even more terrifying is the need of people to comment and make ignorant assumptions. Why would the average person have basic medical knowledge? I was advised of the method I chose by my cardiologist and I haven’t had a reflux issue since 2007. My teeth are beatiful, my own dentist tells me this so I’m just fine.

  • Karen

    So sorry but you literally look the same in both pics…its just that ur wearing makeup in the after photo. I mean good job for eating healthy but you literally just put on some foundation and lipstick.

  • rachel

    the font of this blog is annoying.

  • Diva Chloe

    It’s so obvious from the photos that you are wearing darker makeup or have been to a tanning booth. People are not that stupid.