Master Cleanse Diet & Itchy Skin

by Milo Dakota ; Updated August 14, 2017

Freshly squeezed lemon juice helps detoxify your body on the Master Cleanse

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If you’ve consider trying the Master Cleanse detoxification diet, you might have been warned about is laxative effects. Turns out, there’s another reason to stay home while following this extreme regimen: it may cause your skin to itch, turn red or erupt in pimples and boils. But, if you can stand the temporary discomfort and unsightliness, you may end up with an improved complexion.


The Master Cleanse and other detox diets may give you bad breath, diarrhea, nausea, lethargy, itchy skin and acne, according to the Daily Record. These are supposed to be healthy signs, indicators that toxins are leaving your body. And, when your skin clears, it should stay clear. You may still want to use skincare supplements, including lotions, collagen and essential oils. Anti-aging and skin-clearing products will work more effectively when your inner body is cleared of toxins, according to the "New Straits Times."


The Master Cleanse, popular as both a detox and rapid weight loss program, is a three to 28-day fast created in the 1940s by self-proclaimed health guru, Stanley Burroughs. He first proposed the fast as way to treat ulcers and other stomach ailments and later as a way of removing food additives and pesticides from your body. The idea is to give your digestion system a fresh start by shunning food that further clogs it, while adding liquids to flush it out.

Liquid Diet

The Master Cleanse is an all-liquid diet. You begin each day by drinking salt water – 1 tsp. of sea salt dissolved in 25 to 35 oz. of warm, purified water. For the rest of the morning and on through the evening, you drink lots of water and at least 6 cups of spicy lemonade. At bedtime, you drink a cup of herbal laxative tea. The combination of fluids is designed to release toxins from your stomach, kidney, liver and colon.


Each serving of the lemonade concoction you drink while following the Master Cleanse includes 2 tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 tbsp. of maple syrup, 1/10 tsp. cayenne pepper and 10 oz. water. You may also make up a full day’s supply at a time – 1 cup each of lemon juice and maple syrup with 80 oz. of water and ¾ tsp. of cayenne pepper. If you don’t like the taste of the cayenne pepper, you can take it in capsule form.


Experts disagree about the value and wisdom of following the Master Cleanse or any other colon cleansing program. Linda Bates, a director of Australia’s National Herbalists Association, says people are less likely to become unwell if they clean out the “rubbish” from their digestive tracts. But Dr. Michael Picco, a gastroenterologist with the Mayo Clinic, says no evidence exists that colon cleanses are necessary. And the lack of nutrition in the Master Cleanse may adversely affect your health if you remain on it for longer than three days, according to "The New York Times".


  • “Daily Record”; Fat-Free, Flavour-Free, Food-Free Diet has Fat Chance of Working; Jill Main; Oct. 24, 2001
  • “New Straits Times”; Look Good by Getting Rid of ‘Ugly Inside’; (NO BYLINE) Feb. 29 2008
  • “The New York Times”; I Heard It Through the Diet Grapevine; Lola Ogunnaike; Dec. 10 2006
  • The Master Cleanse: What Is the Master Cleanse?
  • Master Cleanse Recipe
  • “Sydney Morning Herald”; Straight Flush; Bronwyn McNulty; Feb. 12 2009

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images

About the Author

Since 2005, Milo Dakota has ghostwritten articles and book manuscripts for doctors, lawyers, psychologists, nutritionists, diet experts, fitness instructors, acupuncturists, chiropractors and others in the medical and health profession. Her work for others has appeared in the "Journal of the American Medical Society" and earned accolades in "The New York Times." She holds a Master of Art in journalism from the University of Michigan.