There is a strong connection between the gut, the brain, and the skin. Researchers call this the ‘gut–brain–skin axis’.
Unfortunately, most clinicians and the general public are not aware of this relationship. If you have a skin issue, you are normally given topical steroid creams by a dermatologist or GP.
However, our gut health may play a more important role in our skin health than we may think, and optimising our bacteria profile may be one of many ways to help us to achieve radiant, glowing skin.
How Can Gut Health Affect Your Skin?
Disruption in our gut from processed foods, stress, infection, disease, cancer, antibiotics, and environmental factors can lead to poor skin.
We need a healthy microbiome to break down food, absorb nutrients, prevent inflammation, and eliminate toxins. When our gut flora is not healthy, this can lead to dysbiosis or bacterial imbalance.
This can create further issues, such as chronic inflammation, leading to acne, psoriasis, and flaky and dry skin.
The healthier our gut, the more beneficial bacteria we tend to have. This means our body can synthesise vitamins and minerals that benefit skin health, including omega 3s, b vitamins, and vitamin D. Consuming water also improves our gut health and maintains a hydrated skin complexion.
The Skin Microbiome: An Introduction
So, what do we mean by the skin microbiome?
Just like in our GI tract, our skin is made up of friendly bacteria.
The skin microbiome refers to the millions of different organisms – viruses, bacteria, fungi – that live on Human Skin. It is essentially the genetic material of all these microbes.
The skin microbiome plays an essential role in protecting against invading pathogens, protecting our immunity, and the breakdown of natural products.
Unfortunately, it can become susceptible to infection and outbreaks such as skin allergies, eczema, and excess inflammation. Our skin requires a balanced microbiome to maintain a healthy state.
What are the Best Probiotics for Skin Health?
Any quality probiotic supplement will be beneficial for your skin.
Always take probiotics with at least 5 billion (5 x 109 CFU). We recommend Skin Health, which is specifically formulated for good skin. Take one tablet per day, first thing in the morning for best results
Probiotics have been shown to decrease the endotoxin lipopolysaccharide, which can trigger acne and skin problems. Probiotics are excellent at reducing inflammation and improving the intestinal barrier.
Do Probiotics Help Acne?
The link between probiotic supplements and acne improvement is still an area of ongoing research and debate. While some studies have suggested that certain strains of probiotics might have a positive effect on skin health, including acne, the results have been mixed and more research is needed to establish a clear connection.
However, adding a probiotic to your acne treatment is not a bad idea, as taking a probiotic will help calm inflammation and maintain a balanced gut microbiome. And as we know so far, a healthy gut microbiome can have a positive impact on other areas of health, including the skin.
There have also been some exciting studies coming to light in recent years suggesting that topical applications of specific lactobacilli strains may positively alter the skin microbiome and reduce acne lesions in people with mild-to-moderate acne. So, watch this space!
Tips for Healthy Skin and a Healthy Gut
Try omega 3s
Omega 3s are a crucial part of your body’s lipid and fat content and build the cellular barriers of your skin. You can get omega 3s through supplementation or consume them through foods like oily fish, avocados or olive oil. Omega 3s also protect the wall of our intestines and reduce inflammation in the gut.
Exercise - Sweat it out!
Exercise and sweating regularly are not only good for our well-being, but also encourage healthy bacteria to thrive, detoxify the body, and cleanse the skin.
Sweating produces an antimicrobial peptide called dermcidin, which helps destroy harmful skin bacteria. It is an excellent form of detoxification and helps clear our cells of toxins and waste buildup. This minimises the risk of infection, acne breakouts, and skin condition flare-ups.
Consume a Gut-Friendly Diet
A healthy gut-friendly, vitamin-rich diet will give our skin what it needs to thrive, as well as our good gut bacteria. Consume plenty of prebiotics, fruits, veggies, fibre, whole grains, omega-3 fish, and lean protein.
In conclusion, there is clear evidence that optimising our gut microbiome can improve our skin health. If we have good digestion, we tend to have better skin complexion and have more friendly gut bacteria which keeps our immune system thriving.
So, if you are looking for better skin, start with a healthier gut!