Everything You Need to Know About Offering Skin Detox in Your Esthetics Practice



The hot term in any esthetician’s office today is detox, so offering a menu of skin detox services will keep your clients happy and your esthetics repertoire trendy.

We hear about detoxifying the body through everything from colon cleanses to smoothie diets. Since the skin is the body’s largest organ and its natural detoxifier, it only makes sense that detoxifying the skin can help fight against free radicals that inhibit our skin’s ability to look its best.

Ridding the Skin of Free Radicals Through Skin Detox

So, what are free radicals? Depending on lifestyle, age, and geographic location, free radicals that affect the skin include air pollution, cigarettes, stress, and product build-up. In an esthetician’s office, detox services may include exfoliation techniques, microdermabrasion, facial steams, masks, chemical peels, and manual lymphatic drainage.

Estheticians offer a number of detox facials and services for clients with different needs, such as acne, clogged pores, dull skin, or fine lines and wrinkles. Detox services using natural ingredients and botanicals are also popular offerings in esthetician’s offices.

Enter Zip:

Detox services offered by estheticians include:


One of the most effective ways to draw impurities from the skin is through the application of clay masks:

  • Kaolin Clay: Helps stimulate circulation and gently exfoliates and cleanses the skin.
  • Rhassoul Clay: Contains higher amounts of silica, magnesium, calcium, and potassium than other clays. Rhassoul clay absorbs impurities from the skin and improves skin texture.
  • Bentonite Clay: Boosts circulation, draws excess oils and debris from the skin, stimulates blood flow, and removes dead skin cells that clog pores
  • Green Clay: Organic clay that contains minerals, iron oxides, and a number of decomposed plant materials like kelp and seaweed. Draws dirt and impurities from the skin, tightens and tones the skin, and exfoliates dead skin cells.

Many of the clay masks are mixed with moisturizing botanical oils like lavender, sweet almond, and safflower to hydrate while detoxifying.

Charcoal masks are also popular offerings, many of which are slightly heated before application.


Microdermabrasion services performed by estheticians involve the removal of the outer layer of skin using a wand that delivers small crystals (usually aluminum oxide) to skin while simultaneously vacuuming them up, along with dead skin cells. Some estheticians also prefer to use diamond-tip microdermabrasion tools to abrade and exfoliate. Detoxing the skin through microdermabrasion allows the esthetician to remove dead skin cells and reveal the fresher layer of skin underneath.

Chemical Peels

Estheticians use chemical peels to detoxify the skin. Chemical peels, also known as chemical exfoliation, are products applied to the skin to dissolve the outermost layer of skin. In an esthetician’s office, most chemical peels are light peels of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Salicylic acid is the most widely used BHA, while some of the AHAs include glycolic acid, citric acid, lactic acid, and malic acid.


Mechanical exfoliation is often part of a detox facial, with the esthetician using a brush or sponge, along with a topical abrasive, to remove the dead skin cells from the face to reveal the fresher skin below. It is often used to prep the skin for other detox treatments, such as masks and facial steaming.

Some of the most widely used products in mechanical exfoliation for detoxing include sea salt and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, pomegranate, and other berry extracts.

Facial Steaming

Facial steamers gently blow warm steam over a client’s face to open pores and draw impurities from the skin. Many facial steamers allow estheticians to add botanicals, herbs, and other essential oils to the water to aid in the detox process. Some facial steamers also add pure oxygen to the face (called oxygen therapy).

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual lymphatic drainage detoxifies the skin and relieves fluid retention. It involves gently stretching the skin using specific movements and pressure. Only those estheticians who have completed a comprehensive training program and are permitted through their state regulatory agency should perform manual lymphatic drainage to ensure correct movements and pressure are achieved.

Advanced Training in Skin Detox Services for Estheticians

Most skin detox services will fall under the scope of a state-issued esthetician license, but in some states certain procedures require a master esthetician license or are outright prohibited.

One of the best ways to ensure you are offering your clients the most current detox skin therapies allowable under your license is to complete courses in advanced facials. Advanced training in detox procedures will prepare you to offer a menu of unique detoxification esthetician services.

Some of the detox facials offered in esthetics practices and spas that are traditionally considered within the scope of an esthetician’s license include:

  • Ultimate Detox Facial: Deep cleanse and exfoliation, followed by a detoxifying mask vitamin C and activate coconut charcoal
  • Teen Detox Facial: Deep cleansing, detoxing facial for teenagers with problematic skin
  • Deep Pore-Baby Cleansing Detox Facial: Facial featuring detoxifying minerals, herbs, and papaya enzymes
  • Purifying Clear Skin Facial: Cool and calm facial with yogurt, tea tree oil, and red currant – organic probiotics that ensure clean pores and glowing skin
  • Ultra-Detox Chemical Peels: Acid-hybrid glycolic and lactic ultra-detox chemical peel
  • Organic Detox: Deep pore cleansing, exfoliation or mild peel, and a soothing and hydrating mask with a cooling facial massage to restore natural balance

Special Considerations for Manual Lymphatic Drainage

While the National Coalition of Estheticians, Manufacturers/Distributors and Associations recommends manual lymphatic drainage only for master estheticians who have completed a program of at least 1,200 hours, other states recognize it as a practice of medicine and therefore prohibit estheticians from performing it. In some states, oncology estheticians or those working under the supervision of a physician in a medical spa or plastic surgery setting can perform manual lymphatic drainage.

For example, manual lymphatic drainage is considered beyond the scope of practice for estheticians in Nevada and is therefore prohibited, while in Virginia, only master estheticians are allowed to perform this procedure.

Back to Top