Most of us will experience some minor skin problems at some point in our lives, like spots, pimples, and rashes. However, if your skin is becoming irritated or breaking out more often than not, your gut could be the culprit. It turns out that the collection of bacteria that are in our intestines and digestive system, known as the gut microbiome, play a huge part in the condition and health of our skin. The microbes that live on your skin are key to its health. In fact, a 2014 study found that good microbes can help wounds heal faster. The imbalanced gut microbiome can manifest itself on your skin in various different ways, which could include:
Breaking out in acne may be a way that your gut health shows up on your skin. Some people who suffer from acne also show symptoms of a disordered gut or intestinal dysbiosis. And, it can become even more complicated by the fact that acne is often treated with antibiotics, which can completely eradicate entire colonies of bacteria in the gut. Some studies have shown that certain people with acne can benefit from taking probiotics or adding more healthy bacteria to their diets, such as probiotic yoghurts. Acne can also be worsened by inflammation, so if you do end up adding a probiotic to your diet, opting for one that blocks histamine can help.
Rosacea is characterized by chronic redness of the skin, and it’s still quite a mysterious condition, which scientists are not yet completely clear on how or why it occurs, although it does appear to be partly genetic. However, recent studies have suggested that the gut might play a part in this reddening of the skin. One small study found that people with rosacea tend to have more bacteria overgrowth in the small intestine, and skin symptoms were reduced when this was treated. Some people with rosacea have benefitted from taking probiotics along with medication.
Skin allergies can be irritating at best and painful at worse, and they could be caused by an imbalance of bacteria in your gut. If you have suddenly developed an allergic reaction to something that’s shown up on your skin after experiencing a gut change like a different diet or taking antibiotics, there’s a chance that the microbes in your gut could be to blame. In fact, a 2018 study found that the typical Western diet can influence the gut microbiome, which in turn has a negative effect on the immune system. When the microbes in the gut change, they stop producing anti-inflammatories to help regulate the immune system, which can lead to a surge in inflammation in the body and an overreaction to threats by the immune system. This can then lead to an increased risk of allergies, both on the skin and elsewhere.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that is characterized by a massive over-production of skin cells which lead to scabbing and flaky skin. While psoriasis can occur for many reasons, some patients suffer from it as a result of their gut health. Studies have found that people suffering from psoriasis often have dysbiosis. There tend to be very low levels of healthy bacteria in their gut, and a higher level of unhealthy bacteria. One study found that people with psoriasis had low levels of two bacteria species compared to patients with other chronic health conditions, suggesting that this imbalance might lead to immune system problems, which manifest themselves as chronic skin conditions.
Your gut health isn’t just essential for good digestion; it can also have a huge effect on the health and condition of your skin. If you have started suffering from any of the above, your gut could be the culprit.