Women's magazines are guilty of pushing all kinds of detox claims, from fighting colds with those detox baths to using foot pads to draw the toxins out of your body. Unfortunately, they're all bogus, and they draw on a pretty ancient belief that toxins build up in the body and make us sick. That goes back to ancient Egypt, and even though we've debunked the idea that toxins are behind what's making us feel ill, magazines still push detoxing as a quick cure-all.
"Let's be clear," Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University told The Guardian, "There are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn't." The former is the process the body needs to purge itself of poisons or drugs, it's done under the supervision of medical professionals, and it's used to treat individuals with substance abuse problems. "The other," he continues, "is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks, and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you're supposed to have accumulated."
Harsh words, and he backs them up. If you're healthy, the body's already doing exactly what these products claim to make it do. Your liver, kidneys, and even your skin — they're all detoxing your body 24/7, and there's no need to go on any kind of special diet or take a special bath to make it do that. He's not the only one that thinks it's complete baloney, either, and in 2009 a UK charity called Sense about Science gathered up 15 products from pharmacies across the country, and did their investigation. No products actually named the toxins they were getting rid of. They were all gimmicks, like those detoxing foot pads. The charity confirmed that the brown color isn't from toxins, it's from the chemically treated pad interacting with sweat.
Detoxing? Ernst says, "It's a scandal, the criminal exploitation of the gullible man on the street, and it sort of keys into something that we would all love to have — a simple remedy that frees us of our sins, so to speak."