Throughout the day, your skin takes center stage all the time. You see your skin every time you look in the mirror. Your skin makes up such a large part of your outer beauty and serves as a proxy for your inner health as well. And your skin — your body’s largest organ — is your body’s biological shield against the outside world.

But here’s something you may not know: One of the things that we women have to protect against may just be ourselves. Women put an average of 515 chemicals on our skin every day. Wow. That’s truly incredible. Those chemicals come from all the perfumes, lotions, skin-care products, and makeup that we use daily.

To help keep your skin firm, brighter, and more youthful, you have to escape this toxic trap that can age your skin prematurely. Here are five things I do to detox my skin — habits that can help skin maintain its youthful glow.

BRUSH

Dry Brushing - Naomi WhittelThink about all of the things you take a brush, to — your hair, your teeth, a bedroom wall that needs a new coat of paint. In all of those cases, you’re improving the health and appearance of that thing when you brush it. The same is true for your skin as well. I love to dry brush, as it works to unclog your pores, removing the excess layer of dry skin that can age your skin. This is important because your skin cells don’t turn over as quickly as they did when you were younger, and this process helps improve that turnover rate to give your skin a more youthful appearance.

I also like it because the movement helps open the lymphatic system and stimulate blood flow. As you probably know, your lymphatic system plays a role in moving toxins out of your body. To use the dry brush, I move the entire dry brush toward my heart. I even do it up on my neck, as well as on the side of my ribs.

BREATHE

Deep breaths are good for so many things: Relaxation, stress relief, improved lung function, settling down before a big performance. Another thing that deep breathing helps you with is improved circulation, which can have an effect on your skin. When you breathe deeply, you’re telling your nervous system to rest and relax (putting your body in more of a parasympathetic state).

When you breathe in, your organs are literally given like a little massage. When you’re in more of an anxious state (the sympathetic state), you are more likely to hold on to toxins. That means you’re less likely to detox your body than when you’re in a state of rest and relaxation. Try to take time out to do deep breaths — from your diaphragm—three to five times a day. And the best part of all is that it’s literally one of the easiest things you can do — just adjusting your normal, automatic breathing into a purposeful few minutes of really concentrating on getting deep breathes. You can even visualize your body releasing those toxins as you breathe out.

STRETCH

Your overall health relies a lot on your lymphatic system, as it’s responsible for really moving toxins out of your body. This web of lymph — consisting of lymph nodes and lymph fluid — is your primary engine of detox. And to work, it really needs to be flowing freely (you want a running faucet, not a trickling one). But a lot of times, lymphatic flow can be slowed or stalled.

To help improve that lymphatic movement, there are a number of things that can really help — like stretching, massage, or light movement like walking. I get lymphatic massages which help to drain the toxins out of your body. There’s so much power in our lymphatic system, and we’re just starting to learn more and more about it. But even just start with purposefully stretching for 10 to 15 minutes a day. Not only will you enjoy the relaxation benefits that can be beneficial to your health and detox, but you will also be stimulating your powerful lymphatic system.

DRINK

AutophaTea in Earl Grey TeaTo help keep your cells youthful, it’s important to activate autophagy — a sort of cellular repair process that keeps your cells young. This is especially important for your skin, which is constantly under attack (from age, as well as outside influences). While there are many ways to activate autophagy, one of the easiest ways is to drink a tea that can do it.

I created a recipe — I call it AutophaTea — because it includes ingredients that have been shown to do so. This tea combines green tea with the citrus bergamot that can be found in Earl Grey tea. You want to make sure that the tea is all-natural so that you’re getting the polyphenols that are so powerful for anti-aging. I remember when I was in Calabria, Italy, I learned all about the citrus bergamot fruit and how it literally activates the youth inside of our cells. So, don’t forget what autophagy means: auto (self) phagy (to eat). This is self-cannibalization but it’s self-cannibalization of the toxins that build up within ourselves.

SWEAT

One of the ways to improve your skin is to let your skin do the work — by letting sweat remove toxins via your skin. Of course, there are many ways to work up a sweat. If you have access to a sauna, that is a great way. So is a steam shower (and you can create the same effect with letting a hot shower run and then standing in your bathroom). Or just go outside if you live in a hot climate.

And there’s the old, reliable way, too — rigorous exercise. When you exercise with some intensity to work up a sweat, you’re also stimulating your sweat glands to eliminate the toxins that you may have in your body. Remember, this is your body’s most natural way of removing the toxins, so that’s why it’s important to find a way to sweat every day.

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