Skin Troubles? It May Be Your Gut
Would you pay more attention to your gut’s microbiome if you knew that it can actually have an effect on your beauty? Digestive balance is one of the first steps toward healthy and radiant skin. Skin clarity is heavily impacted by the immune system, and HELLO, the microbiome is home to more than 80 percent of the body’s immunity!
While we often flush our skin with overwhelming chemicals to eliminate visible problems such as blemishes, we forget to look behind the closed doors (our gut), and find what the root of the problems may be. The gut is where we make nutrients and antioxidants that protect and nourish our skin, metabolize hormones, and neutralize pathogens - all factors that affect our skin - so it only makes sense that a well-balanced gut leads to healthier, more radiant skin.
Here is a breakdown of some of the science behind how your gut affects your skin: Having a healthy variation of bacteria is very important for digestion and health. When levels of good bacteria are low, there is a higher level of pathogens (bad bacteria and fungi), leading to an increase in gut permeability. High levels of pathogens can lead to enlarging the microscopic gaps between gut cells, allowing microbial toxins to pass into your system. Naturally, the immune system kicks in to fight these toxins, overreacts, and causes inflammation. What else is caused by inflammation? Acne. So, while an imbalance in your gut flora may not be the sole solution, it certainly is a big component to the problem.
Are you someone that has seemingly tried it all, and nothing seems to work? Try to switch gears and focus on your immunity, overall wellness, and most of all, your gut. Take control of your microbiome and your skin may reap the benefits.
Here are 5 Things you Need to Know About the Gut-Skin Connection
1. Explore your Gut
It is important that you understand what is actually occurring inside your microbiome in order to understand how it is affecting your daily life. The gut and skin microbiome are more related than you may think. Four main organisms that make up the skin microbiome are consistent with the gut microbiome, including Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria. With the gut-skin axis, an imbalance of the bacteria in the gut can lead to skin irritation as well. An optimized microbiome can therefore lead to more radiant, healthier-looking skin.
2. Fill-up on Antioxidant Rich Foods
Antioxidants are a natural skin regime that have calming beneficiaries, leading to anti-inflammation. Antioxidants can also be naturally repairing and can help alleviate damaged skin and scarring. Try adding antioxidant rich foods such as colorful fruits and veggies, beans, and even dark chocolate (in moderation) to keep your skin glowing!
3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Not only does keeping hydrated aid in digestion and immunity, but it also affects the condition of our skin. Skin cells are SO reliant on water. Dehydrated skin can lead to dryness, which may cause your skin to produce more oils than necessary to counter this, resulting in acne. It is important to drink approximately 8-12 cups of water a day in order to keep your skin fresh and hydrated. Upping your daily water intake can drastically improve the appearance of your skin - trust me, I’ve witnessed it!
4. Don’t Overlook the Power of Enzymes
Digestion dramatically influences your skin - specifically, the nutrients that we digest. Enzymes are naturally anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, detoxifying, and healing to the gut. And as we’ve discussed, the overall wellness of your gut is directly correlated with the overall wellness of your body. It is important to add enzyme-rich foods into our diets as well. Enzymes can be found in all raw foods, but some of my favorite enzyme-rich snacks include mangos, pineapples, papayas, bananas, and avocados – YUM!
5. Stress Affects our Skin
Factors such as stress and fatigue negatively affect our skin as well, leaving us looking drained and aged. High stress causes our bodies to make additional hormones, like cortisol, which tells your skin to make more oil, leaving skin more prone to acne and blemishes. How does this relate to our microbiome? Even stress levels can be influenced by our gut. The beneficial bacteria in your gut communicate with your brain, which affects changes in your mood and stress levels. So while a healthy gut can actually alleviate stress and anxiety, an unbalanced gut can lead to inverse effects, creating unnecessary stress. Your gut’s effect on mental health, and consequently your skin, is another reason why it is so important to add prebiotic- and probiotic-rich foods into your everyday diet in order to stabilize microbiome balance.
While it is no secret that there is an axis between the skin and gut microbiome, it is easy to ignore our gut as a cause of irritated, dull, or acne-infected skin. Your body is an ecosystem and the gut is a main source of overall wellness, which is why an optimized, balanced microbiome is essential for overall optimal health, and even beauty.