If you’ve ever looked at January Jones’ Instagram account, you know the actress loves a good bath. Now, she’s been named beauty website Violet Grey’s “bath critic,” writing a regular column on bathing.
In this month’s column, Jones reveals that she loves a DIY bath she calls a “kitchen detox.” To do it, she mixes one pound of sea salt and one pound of baking soda to a warm bath and soaks in it for at least 20 minutes. “I learned about this a few years ago from Dr. Linda Lancaster in Santa Fe, and I do it once or twice a week,” Jones says. “She recommends various baths to rid the body of toxins and metals from flying.”
Jones says she also loves another bath “where you sweat during the bath and for another 20 to 30 minutes after the bath. Your body rids itself of toxic elements, so it’s important to drink a glass of water afterward to replenish and rehydrate.”
Detoxing has been a buzzword for years, but can you actually detox your skin? New York City dermatologist Doris Day, M.D., author the upcoming book Skinfluence, tells SELF that your body has the job handled—but this type of bath isn’t without its skincare benefits.
“You’re actually detoxing through your skin all the time, 24 hours a day,” she says. “One of the major functions of your skin is detoxing.” Your skin secretes oils and water in the form of sweat all the time, and a lot of that comes from what’s in your body, she explains. “If your skin isn’t healthy and functional, you die,” she says. “Part of it is that detox and water balance it maintains.”
However, outside ingredients, like Jones’ baking soda and sea salt mix, probably don’t help with the process much. “It doesn’t change a whole lot about how your inner body works, but it may help you feel better by soothing the skin itself,” Day says.
The term “detox” is often used loosely when it comes to skin. “People use the term to mean that they improve their skin quality by using a variety of treatments, including baths, moisturizers, and laser or microneedling therapies,” Gary Goldenberg, M.D., medical director of the Dermatology Faculty Practice at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF. “These treatments help to nurture the skin and remove the very superficial layer of dead skin, which may contain damaged cells.”
Your skin tends to function well on its own, but Day says you can help its natural “detoxing” process by eating healthy and staying hydrated. “What you put in your body will help your skin and how your skin works,” she says.
That’s not to say Jones’ bath isn’t a good idea—it can be, especially the baking soda aspect. “Baking soda is a really great ingredient,” Day says. “It may have benefits to the skin itself for soothing and balancing it out.” In this way, Day says Jones’ bath can indirectly help your skin do its job by pampering it, thereby allowing it to function even better. Goldenberg agrees, noting that Jones’ bath “can’t hurt most [people]” unless you happen to be allergic to the ingredients. To max out the impact of the bath, you can rub the sea salt along your limbs as an exfoliator. After the bath is done, Goldenberg recommends using a body moisturizer.
Jones is right in that your kitchen is a great resource for pampering baths. Day recommends adding skin-soothing ingredients to your baths, like whole milk, ground-up oatmeal, aloe, and honey. (Research has found that honey has antibacterial properties for skin and can be healing.) “All of these have soothing, anti-inflammatory properties,” Day says. “The skin works better when it’s healthy and has a better balance.”
She suggests adding a cup of each ingredient to a warm bath and soaking whenever you feel your skin needs a boost. (Just rinse off in the shower afterward to avoid sticky residue.) Coconut oil and olive oil can also soothe your skin, she says, but you need to be cautious about slipperiness when getting in and out of the tub. If you’d rather keep the beautifying action to your face, check out these DIY face masks.
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