In our last post in this Gut-to-Skin Connection series, The Basics of Gut Health, we looked at the basics of gut health – what our gut flora is, what happens when it’s out of balance and what a “leaky gut” actually means. In this article, we’re going to explore a few ways (in no particular order) that the gut and skin are connected to better understand the role of our gut health in keeping our skin beautiful, radiant and youthful.
1. Skin Regeneration and Our Gut
Our skin is the largest organ of our body, it protects us, regulates our body temperature and retains moisture. Our skin is always being regenerated – old cells die and new ones take their place.
When skin renewal happens in the right way, our skin moisture is preserved. The gut impacts the so called “signaling pathways” in our body that influence skin regeneration. When our gut wall breaks down and we suffer from a leaky gut (you can read more about a leaky gut here), unwanted bacteria and particles enter the bloodstream, accumulate in our skin and disrupt our skin’s delicate balance, leading to unwanted inflammation in the skin. Our gut flora has also been shown to support our skin following UV exposure which is a primary contributor to skin ageing.
2. Skin Disorders and Our Gut
Acne, rosacea, psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema are all skin conditions that have been linked to gut health. Numerous studies have shown that in people suffering from these skin conditions, growth of bad bacteria in the gut was more prevalent than those in healthy controls (in many cases, up to 10 times as prevalent). What this shows is that the health and beauty of our skin is very much linked to what’s going on in our gut. In fact, another study showed that 54% of acne patients have major alternations to their gut flora, which is no surprise since our gut flora influences sebum production, which is a key contributor to acne.
3. Skin Conditions and Probiotics
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that we can take in a supplement form to repopulate and support the diversity of our gut flora. Research has shown that we can improve our skin conditions through probiotic supplementation which will help to improve the gut lining and reduce inflammation.
4. Leaky Skin and a Leaky Gut
You’ve read this right, “leaky skin” is a thing. Our skin functions as a physical, chemical and antimicrobial defense system. Studies have shown that both stress and gut inflammation can negatively impact the integrity and protective function of the skin which leads to an increase in inflammation in the skin.
Beautiful Skin from a Beautiful Gut: Summarized
The volume of research now available on the gut-to-skin connection is utterly astounding and we’ve covered the smallest tidbit here, but to summarize - the gut and skin are connected in many ways. If you heal your gut, you will heal your skin. You’ll improve skin disorders like acne and eczema, you’ll limit ageing, reduce inflammation and see that your skin feels more youthful and radiant.
Now we'd love to hear from you! Do you find your skin is affected by the foods you eat? Have you taken a probiotic supplement and seen the results in your skin? Let us know in the comments!
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Slominski, A. (2007). A nervous breakdown in the skin: stress and the epidermal barrier. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 117(11). 3166-3169. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2045620/