The Juice Glow: A Beginner's Guide to Juicing for Skincare

We all know fresh juices can benefit your body, but did you know their high doses of nutrients can work wonders on your skin, too?

Art by Tanya Leigh Washington

Today's juices aren't like the cute boxed cartons of your childhood. In the past, sugar-coated apples and grapes might have dominated lunchtime everywhere, but today kale, parsley, and beets are the juice world's new stars.

Consuming fresh or cold-pressed juices has become a phenomenon that's gained the adoration of fitness buffs, health nuts, dieters, celebs, and grab-and-go snackers alike. Most often those choosing to consume these juices are looking for a quick and efficient way to add some greens to their diet. (How else can you get kale, spinach, and parsley in one on-the-go, liquid serving?) Although many are turning to juices for a quick boost, others rely on them for cleansing purposes, whether it be for weight loss, fitness, or health reasons. 

But those of us who aren't interested in the weight loss side of juicing—or who simply can't go more than three hours without eating solid foods—can still reap the benefits of fresh juices. In fact, juicing mavens often say one of the main side effects of daily juicing is often radiant and improved skin. Known as the "juice glow," consuming increased amounts of veggies and fruits in liquid form has been said to help improve blemishes, wrinkles, and skin's overall appearance. 

The Juice Glow: A Beginner's Guide to Juicing for Skincare
The Juice Generation

So how does it work?

Juicing by nature is a quick delivery of nutrients from a plant that's been condensed to it's liquid form. According to The Juice Generation, a recipe book from Eric Helms, founder of the popular juice chain of the same name, the ingredients in juices are either pressed or blended, and are in a sense "pre-digested." This means they can "save your body some of the energy needed for breaking down solid foods." What does this mean for your skin? All the good stuff such as enzymes, nutrients, and vitamins from a juice's ingredients are readily available for your skin to use ASAP.

Lori Kenyon Farley and Marra St. Clair, founders of the Ritual Juice Cleanse program explain further. "Veggie and fruit juices are the best source of enzymes, which are the catalysts for all of your body's anti-aging processes. Proper enzyme balance results is strong nails, shiny hair and glowing skin. Additionally, veggie and fruit juices deliver a potent dose of antioxidants to fight free radical damage." In addition, veggies are great skincare fighters due to their alkalizing effect, which can balance out acidity that causes acne, rosacea, and more.

What are the skin benefits of juicing? What ingredients do I look for?

When it comes to juicing, think about it like this: what you put in your body is what you're going to get out of it. "Diet is the one thing that directly affects everybody's skin," says Joanna Vargas, a celebrity facialist and juice lover.

If you're eating stuff that doesn't digest properly, the first thing the body does is try to push it out through the skin.

–Joanna Vargas

"If you're eating stuff that doesn't digest properly, the first thing the body does is try to push it out through the skin. That's why some people get cysts, bumps, and unpleasant pimples." She suggests veggie-rich juices to combat these concerns.

Depending on the ingredients in the juices you consume, the benefits can vary. But overall skin clarity and brightness is a common thread between most juice recipes. More specifically, greens tend to be vitamin rich and can affect skin's complexion. Kale is vitamin K heavy and can reduce dark circles, where as spinach is full of vitamin A, which encourages skin repair. For more specific treatments such as rosacea or skin irritations, vitamin C–rich ingredients such as cucumbers are top picks. And for those concerned with wrinkles or collagen-production, antioxidant-rich berries including gogi or acai are smart choices. Even carrots contain an antioxidant in the form of beta carotene and can help with elasticity.

Take a peek at our Pinterest-friendly cheat sheet on some of the most common ingredients used in juices and their associated skin benefits.

The Juice Glow: A Beginner's Guide to Juicing for Skincare
Information provided by Joanna Vargas, Eric Helms, Lori Kenyon Farley and Marra St. Clair; Art by Tanya Leigh Washington

What ingredients should I avoid?

As like most things in life, everything in moderation—even with juices. Although the fruit-filled juices taste sweeter and provide nutrients, they do contain higher amounts of sugar. As Helms explains in The Juice Generation, sweet fruits and sweet root veggies are denser sources of polysaccaharide carbs, meaning when they're broken down (i.e. juiced), they turn into glucose and other simple sugars. Although this usually isn't a big deal when you consume the whole plant, when the plant is in juice form, the sugar is delivered to the body faster. This can cause a sugar rush and an insulin spike. "The sugars, if not used up right away in vigorous activity, get stored as fat," writes Helms. Vargas also points out that sugars are often harder to digest and "causes you to lose elasticity in skin over time."

How often should I juice for my skin?

"I always say, if you add in one green juice a day, you'll be amazed at the results," says Vargas. The recommended daily doses of fruits and veggies is about five servings, so supplementing a normal healthy diet with at least one green juice a day should deliver your body and skin the proper amount of nutrients to keep that "juice glow."

So whether you're pressing your own juices at home or heading to the bar—the juice bar that is—keep in mind that juices don't solely have to be associated with the words "cleanse," "detox," or even "diet." Think of them as little armies delivering hefty doses of powerful skin-clearing ingredients directly to your body. So the next time you go to pop that pimple, perhaps reach for a green juice instead and treat the issue from the inside out.

The Juice Glow: A Beginner's Guide to Juicing for Skincare
The Juice Generation

Former Senior Associate Beauty Editor at StyleBistro. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @CaitlinSMiller Follow me: Google