Your skin is a mirror of your gut. It is an instant and informative reflection of your inner health. Nagging skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis are typically symptoms of a deeper issue going on in your body.
If you are struggling with skin issues (accompanied with insecurity), trying countless types of soaps, lotions, creams and even antibiotics to help with no success, you are probably not getting to the root of the problem. In fact, you may be making things worse.
The gut-skin connection can be traced back to over 70 years ago when dermatologists John H. Stokes and Donald M. Pillsbury first proposed a relationship between depression, anxiety and skin conditions such as acne. Modern research has now confirmed the significance of this relationship.
Scientific studies show more than half of all acne sufferers have impaired gut flora (bacteria imbalance). In addition, societies that eat a gut-friendly diet with little or no processed sugars have nearly no acne. Is acne really a disease of Western civilization?
Beneficial bacteria, especially Lactobacillus acidophilus found in fermented foods, can help heal intestinal permeability (or leaky gut). We have known this since the 1930s. Therefore, foods rich in probiotics, like fermented foods, are a crucial ingredient in maintaining clear skin. Probiotics treat the root cause of skin conditions and not just the symptoms popping up on the surface.
You have 2-3 lbs of bacteria living in our body. When the wrong bacteria and yeast dominate your gut microbiome, they start secreting toxins as they digest food. Your body quickly becomes a sewer of toxic waste. With your skin being the largest channel of elimination, blemishes and other skin conditions can be a good indication your detoxification pathways are clogged and your gut is inflamed.
With 70-80% of immunity situated in the gut, overall inflammation is likely to be much lower in those without gut issues. Although it’s possible to have skin issues and not have gut issues, it is rare. I have yet to see this with my clients.
Nonetheless, I see remarkable improvements in my client’s skin once they focus on their gut issues and healing from the inside out. Here are some of the ways that helped me, as well as my clients achieve healthier skin:
- Feed Your Gut Probiotics and Prebiotics
By consuming fermented foods (and avoiding ones that feed yeasts like Candida, as well as being cautious of consumption if you have a histamine intolerance), you begin to repopulate the gut properly, feed good bacteria, strengthen digestion, support healthy stress responses and detoxify. If you choose to supplement with probiotics, pick one that contains Lactobacillus, L. acidophilus and B. bifudum strains. In addition, eat plenty of indigestible plant fiber (or prebiotics) to feed the probiotics.
- Avoid Foods That Damage Your Gut-Skin Axis
It may be no surprise that poor diet is a major factor in the cause of acne and other skin issues. Processed foods, refined carbohydrates and sugars increase inflammation in your body, wreaking havoc on your gut bacteria and simultaneously triggering skin issues. Enabling the beneficial bacteria in your gut to flourish by eating real, whole foods (foods without labels) you will positively influence your skin. Just think, what will damage your gut will damage your skin.
- Detox Your Body & Mind.
I recommend detoxing at least twice a year. This includes everything from cleaning up your diet to clear toxins in your body, to de-stressing and de-cluttering your life. By understanding what works with you and what does not, you are able to establish new habits, routines and mindset shifts. These allow you to make health effortless, eat the foods that both detoxify your body and mind, and build an internal ecosystem that allows probiotics to thrive.
So look at yourself in the mirror, as if you are looking through some else’s eyes. Ask yourself what is your skin telling you? What is your gut telling you? What are the things you know you can do to support healthy skin, but you fear doing?
Experiment, be patient, listen and learn your body’s unique language. Becoming a detective in your body will help you discover the root cause to your skin concerns. This will grant you the results you have been waiting for, both in your skin and overall gorgeous gut health.