Gut-Skin Connection: How Your Gut Health Affects Your Skin

by Dr. Nick Zyrowski March 28, 2022

Call it a gut feeling, but in recent years people have begun to realize that it might not be our brains that are in control of our bodies. Studies are beginning to prove that our gut health has a strong influence on our overall health. A thriving gut translates to a healthy immune system and strong brain. Does our gut also have control over the largest organ and first line of defense against the outside world? We will further discuss the gut skin-axis, some skin conditions that correlate with poor gut health, prebiotics vs probiotics, and postbiotics, plus additional ways to heal your gut naturally.

What is the Gut Skin-Axis?

The “gut-skin axis” refers to all the connections between the skin and digestive system. The skin and digestive tract both interact with our internal and external environment. Majority of this communication is done through our body’s microbiome, which includes trillions of bacteria, fungi, and other living organisms. These organisms, also known as microbes, live in and on our body, mainly in our gut and on the surface of the skin. These microbes play such an important role in our health, that when they become imbalanced, you can suffer from different symptoms.. An imbalance, also called a dysbiosis, in either the skin or gut microbes often will affect the other. Let’s take a look at some of the symptoms a microbiome imbalance can cause.

Poor Gut Health Skin Symptoms

Microbiome imbalances can surface in a number of ways:

Eczema

Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is an inflammatory skin condition. Eczema is a term used for several different types of skin swelling. Most types cause dry, itchy skin and rashes on the face, inside the elbows and behind the knees, and on the hands and feet. Eczema is known for being a skin barrier dysfunction, but it has been suggested that there is compromise of the intestinal permeability barrier as well.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes itchy or sore patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales. You usually get the patches on your elbows, knees, scalp, back, face, palms and feet, but they can show up on other parts of your body. Typically, a problem with the immune system is caused by a process called cell turnover, which happens when skin cells that grow deep in your skin rise to the surface. For a healthy individual, this takes a month. In psoriasis, it happens in just days because your cells rise too fast. Gut bacterial imbalance is associated with chronic inflammatory disorders of the skin, such as psoriasis. Healing your microbiome can be considered an effective therapeutic tactic for treating this disorder.

Acne

Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. It causes whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages. Besides an increase in bad bacteria within the gut, leaky gut can trigger an immune reaction that produces acne. Also, leaky gut allows bacteria from the gut to travel directly to the skin, disrupting the natural skin equilibrium and leading to an increased presence of acne.

Rosacea

Rosacea is a common skin condition that causes blushing or flushing and visible blood vessels in your face. It may also produce small, pus-filled bumps. These signs and symptoms may flare up for weeks to months and then go away for a while. A large clinical study in Denmark found that a high number of adults with rosacea also had gastrointestinal disorders such as celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are made of good living bacteria that naturally exist within your body. You constantly have both good and bad bacteria in your body. When you get an infection, there’s an increase in the amount of bad bacteria, which leaves your system unbalanced.

Good bacteria helps eliminate excess bad bacteria, returning the balance. Probiotic supplements are a great way to add good bacteria to your body. Good bacteria keeps you healthy by supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation. Certain types of good bacteria can also help your body:

  • Digest food
  • Keep bad bacteria from getting out of control and making you sick
  • Create vitamins
  • Help support the cells that line your gut to prevent bad bacteria that you may have consumed (through food or drinks) from entering your blood.

Signs You May Need a Probiotic

Below are some signs you may need to consider using a probiotic:

  • Suffer from allergies and asthma
  • Suffer from one or more mood disorders
  • Have had food poisoning recently
  • Have taken antibiotics
  • Constantly sick
  • Suffer from skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea

Beneficial Probiotic Strains for Skin Health

Reading an ingredient list and having no idea what beneficial bacteria is can feel overwhelming. When selecting pre- and probiotics, keep these beneficial bacteria names in mind:

  • Bifidobacterium reduces skin sensitivity and increases the skin’s ability to retain moisture.
  • Lactobacillus improves the skin’s barrier function to reduce signs of eczema and rosacea.
  • Vitreoscilla reduces water loss within the skin and overall appearance.
  • Staphylococcus hominis & Staphylococcus epidermidis increase free radical scavengers, which decreases cellular damage.
  • Streptococcus thermophilus increases fat content within skin cells to improve the ability to retain moisture.
For a full comprehensive topical and oral probiotic and prebiotic approach, we recommend the Skin Byome Kit.  It includes an oral probiotic, a topical probiotic serum, and topical prebiotic.

    What are Prebiotics and Postbiotics?

    Prebiotics are a component of some foods that the body cannot digest. They serve as food for bacteria and other beneficial organisms in the gut. Prebiotics may support a healthy gut, offering better digestive health, and fewer antibiotic-related health problems. Some research is present that shows prebiotics may benefit the body by:

    • Helping you absorb calcium
    • Change the rate at which foods cause spikes in blood sugar
    • Ferment foods faster, so they spend less time in your digestive system, which helps you not get constipated
    • Keep the cells that line your gut healthy

    Postbiotics refer to the waste left behind after your body digests both prebiotics and probiotics. This includes nutrients such as vitamins B and K, amino acids, and substances called antimicrobial peptides which help to slow down the growth of harmful bacteria. Other postbiotic substances called short-chain fatty acids, such as butyric acid help healthy bacteria flourish. Postbiotics support your immune system, help prevent or treat diarrhea, reduce symptoms associated with irritable bowel diseases, and even reduce the severity of certain allergies.

    Topical Probiotics for Skin

    Bugs and skin — those words alone can cause most individual's skin to crawl. Over the last few years, there’s been an influx of probiotic-infused skin-care products and topical supplements, along with an increase in studies investigating their abilities to improve various complexion concerns. Utilizing a topical probiotic on your skin can:

    • Protect the skin against environmental stressors
    • Improve the level of hydration of your skin through preventing and limiting skin water loss
    • Prevent breakouts, temporarily reduce skin redness, and calm the skin
    • Be utilized by sensitive skinned individuals who have chronic skin issues
    • Reduce the appearance of aging, fine lines, and wrinkles

    Additional Ways to Improve Gut and Skin Health

    Probiotics are a good way to start treating poor gut health, but there are additional key factors to consider when improving your gut and skin health. It’s important to be mindful of:

    • Food and beverage intake
    • Supplement intake
    • Medication use
    • Current stress levels
    • Current quantity and quality of sleep
    • Any undiagnosed food allergies

    Gut health can be a very complicated and complex issue that may require the assistance of a Holistic practitioner in order to acquire a more in depth understanding of your health concerns. This article is not used to diagnose or treat any specific health concern.

    References : https://medlineplus.gov/eczema.html#:~:text=Eczema%20is%20a%20term%20for,swell%20and%20itch%20even%20more.

    https://www.healthline.com/health/eczema/how-does-the-gut-skin-axis-affect-eczema#:~:text=As%20we%20learn%20more%20about,our%20skin%20and%20digestive%20system.

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rosacea/symptoms-causes/syc-20353815#:~:text=Rosacea%20(roe%2DZAY%2Dshe,go%20away%20for%20a%20while.

    https://www.healthline.com/health/rosacea-diet#treatments

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6881942/

    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/14598-probiotics

    https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/prebiotics-overview

    https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323490#benefits-and-side-effects-of-prebiotics

    https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/what-are-postbiotics

    https://nationaleczema.org/leaky-gut/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916842/

    https://www.healthline.com/health/probiotics-skin-care#The-what

    Dr. Nick Zyrowski
    Dr. Nick Zyrowski



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