The skin is the largest organ in the human body. Like any other organ, it can have its own sets of issues. Acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea are some examples of common skin conditions. Although these problems may seem limited to the surface, they may indicate an underlying issue in the gut.
Our usual approach is to use topical remedies like creams and lotions to address skin conditions. But what if the outward is only a reflection of an internal problem?
Understanding The Skin-Gut Connection
The gut and the skin have a lot in common. Their connections are both complex and fascinating. Below are further explanations of how they are connected.
They Interact With The Outside World
The combined surface of a person’s skin, sweat glands, and sebaceous glands are around 85 feet, or the distance between two baseball bases. It acts as the primary defense against the external environment while constantly interacting with it.
On the other hand, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a major connection between the host and its environment, spanning approximately 90 feet. Throughout a lifetime, the digestive system processes an estimated 60 tons of food, all of which have a profound impact on the human body.
The skin and the gut lining interact with the immune system about the external environment, letting it know what’s harmful and helpful, and protecting the body in different ways. They both prevent some substances from entering the body. The skin and the digestive tract both contain enzymes that are effective against some pathogen.
Both The Gut And Skin Are Full Of Microbes
There are billions of microbes living on the skin and in the digestive tract. Among their many functions, these bacteria help shape the immune system, defend against viruses, break down metabolites, and keep the barrier between the body and the environment strong and functional.
4 Common Skin Conditions Linked To Skin And Gut Microbe Balance
More and more studies are linking the health of one’s skin and gut microbiome to a variety of skin disorders. Acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea are the skin conditions that will be discussed below.
Below, you will learn that the most modern methods of treating chronic diseases no longer include applying lotions to the skin but rather focusing on the digestive system.
Acne is frequently linked to bacterial infections. It may be a very difficult skin disease to manage since it can be triggered by intestinal issues, hormonal changes, or both. Typically, it is treated with oral antibiotics and a topical cream.
Digestive acne has been linked to gastrointestinal conditions, including digestive problems and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Persons who suffer from acne are ten times more likely to have SIBO.
The leaky gut syndrome may also contribute to the local skin inflammation that is observed in people who suffer from acne. A microbial imbalance or leaky gut can lead to inflammation and malabsorption disorders, which in turn deprive the skin of the nutrients it needs, creating a vicious cycle.
Additionally, there have been associations between high fat, high sugar diet and acne. Reducing inflammatory foods and increasing probiotic consumption have been shown to be effective new approaches to treating acne.
Eczema or atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition. It is one of the most difficult skin illnesses to diagnose and explain. Common treatments include anti-inflammatory medications such as moisturizers, topical steroids, and immunosuppressants.
For many, the role of food allergies, intolerances, and leaky gut is a major factors. Furthermore, eczema is linked to diets that are deficient in fruit, vegetable, and omega-3 intake and high in omega-6. Alcoholic beverages and dairy products are also linked to flare-ups.
The most recent findings in this area include the efficacy of a diet change that emphasizes an increase in plant-based foods, omega-3 fats, and probiotics. Avoiding potential trigger foods like gluten, dairy, corn, and soy can help keep symptoms under control.
Thus, people with eczema should go for a well-balanced microbiome since research has linked microbial diversity to enhanced immune function and decreased skin irritation. Inflammation in the digestive tract is a common trigger for eczema outbreaks; thus, treating the inflammation should also alleviate the skin condition.
Psoriasis is a condition of the immune system. Patients with this condition are frequently treated with antibodies, which are biologics that suppress the immune system.
Again, people with psoriasis show signs of an unbalanced microbiome. Because of its complexity, psoriasis is considered a systemic illness rather than merely a skin condition. Toxic substances that get past the intestinal wall trigger a reaction by the body that results in inflammation and skin symptoms.
Many people with psoriasis also suffer from gastrointestinal issues such as Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Ulcerative Colitis (UC), celiac, and lactose intolerance, which are all linked to the condition.
Smoking and drinking increase psoriasis, but losing weight is associated with a better quality of life and lessening the severity of the condition. Probiotics have been shown to minimize flare-ups and prevent relapses. This skin problem is another example of how diet and the microbiome are intertwined.
Rosacea is a long-term, inflammatory skin disorder that is most commonly found on the face. As with acne, people suffering from SIBO are 13 times more likely to develop this skin condition. The condition has also been linked to Helicobacter pylori infection (HPI) in the stomach.
Again, microbial diversity has a role in preventing symptoms. Rosacea therapy begins with dietary restriction and microbial cleanup in the gut.
Thus, eating a wide variety of fiber plant meals will keep the symptoms under control. Also, avoid foods like coffee, alcohol, and spicy foods, which have been shown to worsen rosacea.
Keeping Microbiome Health In Check
Recent research suggests that the Standard American Diet has an effect on the skin. Acne and other skin problems can worsen by a typical Western diet that is high in processed foods, sugar, and dairy, which raises insulin levels and increases inflammation.
So, how do we keep the microbiome in check? Here are a few suggestions you may want to consider.
There is more to lactose intolerance than just lactose sensitivity. Other proteins, such as casein, can also cause a reaction in the body. This is particularly true for those with a leaky gut.
Many studies have found a connection between dairy consumption and skin conditions, including acne and eczema. Your body’s immune system will react to it, resulting in inflammation.
Dairy products have certain benefits. However, you have nothing to lose by eliminating dairy from your diet for a few months and seeing the results.
Sugar is inflammatory for everyone. Hence it worsens inflammatory skin disorders. Overeating sugar boosts insulin levels, which in turn causes fatty liver and inflammation. As a result, your body produces more cytokines, which are inflammation-causing proteins.
High sugar and starch intake also boost the creation of fat cells called adipocytes in the abdominal area, resulting in inflammatory skin diseases such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis. One of the ways inflammation may affect your condition is to either cause it to flare up or exasperate your current symptoms.
Additionally, high blood sugar levels lead your body to produce more sebum (oil), which is another factor in contributing to acne outbreaks, as well as inflammation.
And if that isn’t enough to convince you, it also accelerates aging. One of the most detrimental impacts of sugar is that it causes the skin to age prematurely. Collagen and elastin, the skin-firming proteins, are broken down by sugar. As a result, your skin may begin to sag, wrinkle, dry out, or seem dull.
Avoid Gut-Affecting Medications
A person’s gut health is adversely affected by antibiotics, NSAIDs (such as aspirin), and antacids. To be clear, I’m not suggesting not taking them at all. Just be sure you truly need them.
Drink More Water
An appropriate fluid intake for men is around 13 cups of water, while for women, it is about 9 cups. It can vary according to how much you sweat and how often you consume dehydrating beverages daily.
To begin with, water removes toxins and germs from the skin, allowing the skin to function properly. Moreover, moisturizing the skin enables it to sustain healthy skin cell renewal and collagen formation. Also, drinking more water helps lower blood sugar levels.
Furthermore, it minimizes wrinkles. Thus, hydrating and refreshing the body and helping retain your skin’s elasticity.
Vitamin E Supplement (400 IU daily)
This fat-soluble vitamin is an antioxidant that prevents the generation of free radicals. Vitamin E is important in immunological activity, which influences skin health.
Vitamin E can be found in sunflower seeds and certain nuts. However, it is quickly depleted by UV rays. Therefore it is best to take a vitamin E supplement.
Vitamin C Supplement (1,000 milligrams daily)
Vitamin C, which is commonly found in citrus foods, does more than increase immunity. As a cofactor in enzymatic activity, it aids collagen formation and enhances skin health and functions.
Because this vitamin is quickly lost through urine, it is recommended to consume vitamin-C-rich meals throughout the day, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, while also taking a vitamin C supplement. Red peppers, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, and oranges are just a few foods high in vitamin C.
Vitamin D Supplement (1,000 IU daily)
Vitamin D is really a hormone, not a vitamin, and is created in the skin due to exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet light for a brief period of time. It has a wide range of benefits; every part of the body needs it. Hence there are receptors for the vitamin in every part of the body.
It has anti-inflammatory properties, which are also good for your skin’s health. Another important thing is that Vitamin D regulates gut health, which is how it accomplishes many of its functions.
Calcium Supplement (500 milligrams daily)
In addition to supporting strong bones and teeth, calcium is essential to the health of every organ in the body, including the skin. It has a part in controlling the numerous functions of the skin.
Having a lack of calcium can cause your skin to seem thin, fragile, and dry. The formation of new skin and the shedding of dead skin cells are both hampered when the skin is deficient in calcium. In other words, skin renewal stops abruptly.
Collagen is the most prevailing protein in the body. Aside from making your skin and muscles, it is also responsible for repairing cells once they have been damaged. This rejuvenation process can be aided by ingesting collagen regularly.
Skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, eczema, and psoriasis are more than just skin problems. They are often connected to bacterial overgrowth, inflammation, and an impaired immune response.
The gut microbiome is now known to have a significant role in developing many skin problems. Thus, healing the skin requires a healthy microbiome in the gut.
Not consuming the usual American diet, avoiding dairy, consuming more water, avoiding some medications, and taking supplements are good ways to keep our skin healthy. To get the healthy radiance that we all desire, it is critical that we take steps to heal our skin.
If you’re looking for more tips and help on how to take care of your gut and skin, contact our team of experts today! Book an appointment with us here.