Everyone has had to deal with skin problems at least once in their life (even if its just during puberty). Growing up, our parents threatened us, by scolding, “Don’t eat too many french fries. Stay away from that chocolate! You’re going to breakout!”
As it out turns out, they weren’t all empty threats. Yet it’s a bit more complicated than our wise elders made it to seem. It’s less about certain foods causing skin irritations; instead, it’s more about how your body (more specifically, your gut) reacts to those foods…and bacteria.
The Gut and Skin Connection
The gut and skin actually play similar roles for your body. Both protect against outside pathogens, in their own ways. Plus, they both contain nerves that send and receive signals from the brain to other parts of the body. But just how do these two organs connect? And yes, skin is technically an organ, part of the integumentary system.
To begin, let’s check out how some studies connect gut issues with specific skin disorders. For example, one study linked rosacea patients with small intestine bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) in the gut. The study found that treating the SIBO actually improved the rosacea, too.
Another study linked inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) with a higher risk of developing an inflammatory skin condition, such as psoriasis. There’s also a specific subset of Celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, that presents gut issue symptoms, rather than skin symptoms.
Think about allergies. If you have accidentally ingested something you are allergic to, you may have broken into hives. In this case, your skin reaction was connected to your gut.
So, if they are somehow connected…then how exactly does that connection work?
Most Popular Gut-Skin-Connection Theories
While research is ongoing, researches have a general consensus: the gut and skin share similar microbiome pathways. They interact through metabolites in the microbiome, influencing each other on the way. Answers may be sparse, but generally, researchers believe:
- Inflammation may be a key connector between the gut and skin. Your gut microbiome contains flora, made up of bacteria that help protect the gut, immune system and body. When the microbiome encounters pathogens and microbial toxins, it can normally flush them out; however, it’s a different story for a less balanced gut microbiome. The bad bacteria can affect your immune system. During this process, some toxins pass through gaps in gut cells, to the rest of your body. An example of this is an influx of bacteria called cytokines, which can cause inflammation in the stomach, and subsequently skin inflammation. Acne is actually considered a type of skin inflammation and can be caused by the bad bacteria, Corynebacterium.
- A compromised gut may lead to more vulnerable skin. A healthy gut with flourishing, good bacteria is able to absorb nutrients and vitamins more efficiently. A compromised gut, with more bad bacteria than good, won’t be able to absorb nutrients as well and that can lead to skin issues. Plus, the skin might be more vulnerable to UV damage, wrinkles or even dry skin if it’s not able to retain key vitamins.
Interestingly enough, studies have showed that probiotics can sometimes positively affect skin disorders, based on particular strains for particular issues. For example, the probiotic strain lactobacillus rhamnosus SP1 provided helpful benefits for those with acne in one study.
Gut, Skin, and Brain Connection?
The gut’s connection to the brain has also been well-established. So if skin can be connected to the gut and skin, does that mean all three can be connected? Absolutely!
Of course, research is ongoing, but there is a pretty convincing theory. Anxiety and stress can affect your gut and in that fashion, affect your skin, too. They both can affect intestinal permeability (allowing bacteria to pass through the gastrointestinal tract) and gut dysbiosis (a bacteria imbalance). Both of these can lead to gut inflammation, which again contributes to skin inflammation.
Daily Gut-Skin Care?
Everyone’s always looking for the next big skin care routine. So, how do these connections factor in? Well, any good skin routine should also factor in gut health and what you eat!
In addition to our Bio Skincare Set, we also offer a number of superfoods formulas to optimize your skin AND gut health.
Here are just a few:
Get deep, restorative beauty sleep with the Sleep Pack.
Studies and Support