Holistic beauty dares have somewhat become my middle name, as I’ve tried insane new age beauty hacks that probably would make most people’s head spin. But while I’ve investigated DIY probiotic skin care, fell in love with fossilized algae face washes, and happily used mushroom coffee face masks, never have I really taken the time to perfect my skin from the inside. OK, there was this one time I tried (and failed) a candida cleanse in hopes that it would clear up my problematic breakouts, but since then, I’ve been pretty lax when it comes to cleansing fads. Tea detoxes and three-day juice fasts just don’t do anything for me, or my temperamental skin. However, parasite cleansing does seem to make some sort of sense, especially since intestinal blood-sucking parasites supposedly wreak havoc on our insides. These same parasitic terrors also are said to have an effect on our skin, as holistic experts believe that parasites can be a cause a multitude of skin problems (acne, blemishes) that actively form on our complexion.
“Many people have bacterial, parasitic, or yeast imbalances in the gut without even realizing it,” says Annie Lawless, holistic health coach and beauty expert at Blawnde via email. “These can manifest in inflammation of many different kinds, including skin issues like rosacea, acne, eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis.”
Now, I'm the usually first person to give my gadgets necessary virus protection, but never have I ever tried a parasite cleanse to help pump up the health my skin. To put this theory to test, I tested out a liquid parasite-busting supplement for seven whole days. Here’s exactly how my skin responded to the whole experience.
Why A Parasite Cleanse?
Parasite cleansing for clearer skin may seem like a strange concept, but holistic professionals state that skin issues usually tend to be one of the many warning signs of a parasitic infection. But while most parasitic infections are usually found in the intestinal area, experts say a compromised and inflamed gut can cause a slew of skin issues.
“The intestinal linings job is to absorb the things from our foods that we need, and keep things out things that are harmful,” says naturopathic doctor Nicole Weigl via email. “When the gut barrier is compromised from inflammation, it can cause a whole lot of skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, and acne.”
To eliminate any intruders lurking your gut, Weigl recommends finding cleanses filled with naturally antiparasitic ingredients like Wormwood and black walnut. These herbs and more can be purchased in the form of capsules or liquid drops online, and are usually consumed for at least two weeks, alongside a healthy diet.
After web surfing for the perfect cleansing option, I stumbled upon a fairly affordable liquid supplement, which featured the right parasite-killing ingredients Weigl had recommended. However, before I actually started my cleanse, I definitely wanted to up my water and probiotic intake. Regularly consuming such items allows the good bacteria to flourish in your gut, making your anti-parasite defenses even stronger.
“Probiotics keep your digestive track healthy,” explains Omaha dermatologist and RealSelf contributor, Dr. Joel Schlessinger via email. “Eating more fiber and drinking plenty of water can also help flush out your system as well.”
The instructions on the back of the bottle recommended taking two half teaspoons full of the liquid, so I was sure to take it twice a day before meals. Yes, the dark syrupy liquid tasted like a strange kind of molasses, but it wasn’t necessarily terrible either.
While I didn't experience any immediate (or dramatic) changes on my skin on the first day, I had hopes that the increased water and probiotic intake would have a positive effect on my skin going forward. Lord knows I definitely needed the skin boost, as my complexion usually tends to look dull and lifeless.
Taking my drops wasn't a big problem on day two, but I was a bit bloated from the night before. This could have been the result of eating a huge salad, but I still clung on to the hope that my wormwood and black walnut drops were starting to have a positive effect on my gut. To help boost the results of my cleanse even more, I also become very cautious of what I ate. Parasites tend to thrive on sugar, so I was sure to lay low on the processed and sugary foods for the time being.
On the second day, my cleanse still didn't produce any positive effects on my skin. However, I did notice that the increased water intake started to have an immediate effect on my body. Yes, that meant having to pee every half hour, but I secretly hoped the results were worth a very overactive bladder.
Unfortunately, daily cleansing didn't stop bowel movements from hitting me like a brick. OK, so that meant a lot more time spent in the bathroom, but I couldn't help but think that this was one of the many ‘pleasant’ side effects of my daily drops. Alongside my probiotics and huge water bottles, I also added apple cider vinegar into the mix to help pump up my gut. Yes, the taste is definitely an acquired one first thing in the morning, but it's a great (and inexpensive) way to detox your body.
But, that didn't stop the breakouts from starting to form. Whether this was an actual sign of parasite die-off was something I couldn't exactly determine. However, I was sure to be extra cautious during remaining days of the experiment, just in case any new zits or blemishes decided to join the party.
Modifying my diet was a bit challenging, as selecting low sugar breakfast and dessert items definitely was a big struggle. I never really realized how much sugar is present in our everyday foods, so monitoring how much sugar I consumed a day was definitely an eye-opener.
A few more zits formed on my skin, but that didn't stop me from using my cleanse. I still took my drops twice a day, and while it had an interesting effect on my bowel movements, it really didn't change my skin so much. I began to wonder if breakouts were being caused by the probiotic or increased water intake. Whatever the case, I was praying that the gnarly acne flare ups would slow down soon. It's been nearly ten years since I broke out this bad.
By day five, my breakouts still came on full swing. I began to suspect that my probiotic had something to do with it, as it had been awhile since I have actually taken one.
Whatever the case, I was glad that my gut was purging all the bad stuff out. I'll admit to not always eating the best.
Eating healthy was definitely a priority for me, so I tried to pump up my veggie intake, and lay low on dairy and caffeine. Yes, going without cheese and lattes was completely agonizing, but discovering yummy alternative foods like coconut yogurt and herbal tea was totally a huge plus.
While no new acne formed on my skin, I was sure to up my pimple defenses just in cause any zits decided to come back. This meant taking more preventative measures like washing my face twice a day, and cleaning the pillowcase I sleep on every night.
As my experiment came to a close, I felt that my overall experience was an interesting one. By the seventh day, I had actually grown quite fond of the taste of my cleansing supplement, and introducing probiotics back into my routine was a positive change I hoped to continue in the future.
While I still didn't see any dramatic effects from the cleanse, maintaining better eating habits, and reducing my sugar intake totally was an eye-opening experience for me. Trust me, now I know why my chocolate binges usually lead to angry zits on my complexion the next day. Will I continue to cleanse in the future? Perhaps! However, I really can’t say it had a huge impact on my complexion just yet.
Should You Try Parasite Cleansing For Skin Care?
While I didn’t see any dramatic effects from the cleanse, I still believe that cleansing a bit longer could have produced more noticeable results. Parasites can be a sneaky cause of a bunch of health issues, so it really can’t hurt to add some natural cleansing options to your everyday routine. But before you cleanse, it’s always best to consult the help of your primary physician. A good doctor can provide professional testing options to determine if you are actually dealing with unwanted guests in your gut.
“I typically recommend professional testing for before moving forward with a parasite cleanse,” says Weigl. “The reason for this being, it might actually not be a parasite causing your symptoms, and you then just wasted your time and money treating the wrong thing.”