Big City Skin Survival: Top 10 Detox Ideas

This article was featured in the October 2014 edition of Cosmopolitan Magazine for Hong Kong.
In the article, Sally Tse asks me questions about urban life and how it affects our skin as well as detox.
Keep scrolling down to read the article in Chinese.

Q: What are the most popular toxins we encountered in urban life?

A: The city environment offers unique cocktail of toxins, and the biggest problem is you can’t see them, but they’re definitely there! Outdoor smog combined with old and unclean air ventilation systems means there is no escape for people with asthma and respiratory problems. In the water, you might have heavy metals from old pipes in your building and even too much calcium that can be hard on the skin. And, with any large population of people living in one place, you’ve always got a bacterial and viral risk of infection.

Q: How do these toxins affect our skin and body?

A: Toxins create a lot of free radical damage. Think of it as “rust” building up inside your body the same way it does on the engine parts in a car. If you don’t do anything to stop the rust, your “engine” or your body will start to age faster. On the inside, you can feel tired and run down all the time, and start craving too much sugar and caffeine. Outside, you’re going to see yourself ageing faster with more wrinkles, dark circles under the eyes, puffiness in the face, brittle hair, weight gain and even problems with hormones and fertility.

Q: How do we prevent and eliminate these toxins? In terms of diet and lifestyle?

A: Get an air purifying machine with negative ion generator for your bedroom and turn it on every night. That way, you’re getting clean, pure, fresh air for hopefully 8-9 hours every day. Put a water filter on the water coming into your house or apartment that has a double charcoal filter (at the very least). That’s going to filter out a lot of the excess “gunk.” Use bottled drinking water and occasionally buy some distilled water to drink, especially if you have any calcified deposits building up under your skin. Buy organic food whenever you can. Finally, wash your hands every time you enter your home, before you do anything else!

Q: Would you recommend some detox diet?

A: Although it can be really hard to find the time to do a detox, it’s definitely worth it. Taking a break from the constant barrage of toxins gives your body a chance to catch up on its “internal housework.” Moving forward, you look younger, more vibrant and have more energy too. Remember, you service your car every year to keep it running better. So why not do the same for yourself too? In my new book, Green Smoothies for Dummies (Wiley Publisher), I offer an at home 3-day Green Smoothie Detox that cleans on your liver, your skin, your kidneys and your colon. You can easily do it while working or going to school too!

Q: Could you name the top-5 toxic food and top-5 detox food?

A: Top 5 toxic foods: Fried food, instant noodle soup with flavor packets, flavored potato chips, canned tuna, and both regular and diet soda drinks.

Top 5 detox foods: Organic turmeric, ginger and lemon help to detoxify the liver, balance blood sugars, reduce inflammation and maintain a healthy alkaline pH. Fresh coriander helps the body to naturally detoxify from heavy metal contamination. And the best food for the skin – fresh watercress greens – they help stop collagen from breaking down and reduce brown spots, wrinkles and ageing of the skin. You can add watercress to a salad, juice or green smoothie!

Q: What toxic ingredients should we avoid in skincare formula?

A: My basic rule of thumb goes like this – if you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t be putting it on your skin. Why? Because all the chemicals, bleaches and preservatives in your skin care products seep directly into your bloodstream through your skin. A woman who wears make-up every day will ingest 4 pounds of chemicals into her body every year, and that’s just from the make-up on her face! (Keep in mind that those cheap fake brands of make-up sold on the street are the worst because they’re not tested or regulated at all.) Many lipsticks have been found to contain high levels of heavy metals. The most important ingredients to avoid are any form of the word “propyl” and “benzene.” Look for chemical-free make-up like the ones from Even changing one product that you use every day can make a difference!

Q: Are there any skincare ingredients which can perform detoxification in our skin? If yes,what are they and how?

A: You can make a great detox mud mask for your face using bentonite clay. Cool the clay in the refrigerator and then apply for 20-30 minutes and rinse. The clay will absorb toxins and debris, leaving your skin feeling smoother and younger. You can also dab bentonite clay on pimples and leave overnight to “pull” the pimple to the surface of the skin. For a natural body moisturizer, choose organic coconut oil or sesame oil. Apply after showering and at night before bed. If you have puffiness around your eyes or face, make a natural face wrap using organic iceberg lettuce leaves. Apply the raw lettuce leaves for 15-20 minutes to literally pull the “heat” from your skin and reduce inflammation, naturally. For eczema or psoriasis, use calendula or marigold flowers to reduce itchiness. Use black salve to remove moles naturally, but only use this herb under the guidance of an herbalist, health coach or naturopath because it’s extremely potent!

Foods that are excellent for keeping your skin young and beautiful include aloe vera, manuka honey, raw apple cider vinegar, bee pollen and dark leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard or morning glory. Any food high in anti-oxidants is also great for flawless skin, such as blueberries, raspberries, mangosteen, rambutan, goji berries, lemons and red grapes.

Cosmopolitan Hong Kong October 2014 edition

Cosmopolitan Hong Kong October 2014 edition

Cosmopolitan Hong Kong October 2014 edition

Cosmopolitan Hong Kong October 2014 edition

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