Our bodies are a web of complex chemical reactions and interactions; detoxifying or "detox" can rid your body of some of the impurities that may be interfering with the body's functions. Detox can have physical manifestations as your body tries to overcome the lack of a chemical or chemicals it has become used to or even dependent upon. Knowing the symptoms of a cleansing detox is the first step in regaining control over your health and well-being.


Chemicals we ingest such as caffeine can cause vascular constriction (the blood vessels get smaller). Removing a daily intake of such chemicals can cause the blood vessels to expand, resulting in painful headaches. Other chemicals such as alcohol or nicotine can cause headaches as well, though these are not caused by the lack of the toxin but are part of the detoxifying process.

Headaches usually start within a day or two of beginning the detoxification process. The headaches can range from low-level annoying to extreme and debilitating, depending upon various factors such as how long you've been exposed to the toxin and how much your body is dependent upon it.

Skin Reactions

It seems to defy common sense, but sometimes detoxification can lead to a skin rash or at least itchiness. This is usually because there are toxins stored in the cells of the skin (as well as other organs) that are released through the skin surface. Even deep-tissue toxins can be eliminated through the skin. Skin blisters, rashes, and itchiness, while uncomfortable, are transitory and clear up a few days later.


Most people who are detoxifying experience an incredible thirst. This is due to the toxins as well as other waste materials that are released from your cells. Those wastes are processed by the kidneys, which mix wastes with water that is eliminated from the body through urination. More toxins mean more processing, which in turn requires more water intake. It is recommended to drink plenty of water during a detox and not be alarmed at frequent urination.

Body Aches

Much as your skin and head suffer from the release of toxins, so do your joints and muscles. Some people feel like they have the flu, and others feel more tired or run-down than they did before the detox process. This is because your body is working overtime to process the toxins and there are a lot of waste materials floating around in your system, resulting in flu-like symptoms, which will pass in a few days.


Your brain is a chemically based computer that is affected by a wide range of chemicals; caffeine, nicotine, sugar and other chemicals all affect how we feel and think. As a result, there may be a certain level of irritability early on, as well as possible emotional release (crying). Typically in body detox, this is followed by deeper sleep, more vivid dreams and even feelings of euphoria.