The health of your skin is generally a reflection of what is going on deep inside your body. Many people suffer with skin issues such as acne, psoriasis, eczema and rosacea, but what can we do to alleviate these?

In order to determine the root-cause of your skin issues, we need to dive deep within – essentially, all factors of skin health comes down to the gut.

The Gut-Skin Connection

When skin conditions begin to manifest on our face and body, we often overlook the complex connection between two incredible organs: The gut & our skin. Skin inflammation is often pretty clear, presenting as the aggravation of skin conditions (such as eczema, acne and psoriasis), redness, sensitivity and the breakdown of collagen (the main structural protein in our skin).

The fact is, skin inflammation can be a clear indication of gut inflammation as it is becoming clearer that the two have a significant bidirectional relationship. This is because certain gut microbes and metabolites have direct anti-inflammatory roles in the gut, which affect the skins inflammation response (1). Disturbances to intestinal permeability (i.e., the lining of our gut) allow for intestinal bacteria and microbiota metabolites to enter the bloodstream resulting in disruption to skin homeostasis (1).

In addition to this, gut permeability renders us unable to digest, absorb and utilise the vitamins and minerals that are essential for that healthy skin glow that we all desire.

Skin Conditions Linked to Gut Health

1. Eczema

Eczema (commonly known as atopic dermatitis) is often always caused by the presence of gut permeability (2). This is because food allergies cause inflammation to the intestinal barrier – hence causing inflammation to the skin.

Although many questions remain unanswered in regards to diet, it is evident that what you consume as well as your environment plays some role in the symptoms of eczema and the bodies inflammation response.

2. Acne

Have you noticed your flareup worsen following a chocolate binge or fried food night?

If you are a sufferer from acne, I am sure you would know the significant impact that diet has on your skin. However, it is becoming clearer that our gut bacteria may influence the severity of these breakouts (2). Intestinal permeability and SIBO are usually the common culprits for digestive-related skin issues. In addition to this, malabsorption issues following this means that the skin will not be absorbing the appropriate nutrients it needs for healthy skin.

Keep in mind that acne is an incredibly complex skin condition as it involves hormones and the gut – so therefore it is best to see a health professional so they can help you determine the underlying root cause of your acne.

3. Ageing Skin

Skin ageing is an inevitable and natural process that we all go through. Dryness, loss of elasticity and hence the reduction of the plumpness and firmness of our skin contribute to the appearance of ageing skin. This is due to a multitude of factors including the ability of our gut to absorb certain vital nutrients efficiently, lack of Vitamin A, collagen declining and an increase in gut inflammation (3).

Although skin ageing reversal may seem impossible, the fact is that improving our gut health will result in slowing down the ‘skin ageing’ process and may ameliorate some symptoms present.

3. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is another skin condition that flares up in a relapsing immune-mediated inflammatory response (4). It can be triggered by a multitude of factors – both from our environment and internal factors – generally to those who have a genetic predisposition to dermatitis (4).

Therefore, ensuring we are looking at both gut permeability issues as well as external stressors are vital when we are looking at treating psoriasis.

4. Rosacea

Rosacea is another inflammatory skin condition that is characterised by facial redness and flushing. Research has found a strong correlation of rosacea with inflammatory gut conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – hence reiterating the importance of gut health in this skin condition (5).

So, what can we do next?

The next time you lather on topical creams after a flare up – remember that this is simply masking the symptoms. In order to heal our skin, it is important to identify the root cause and nourish our gut from within.

To alleviate your skin issues, you must address your gut health. Find out more about gut health and tips to ensure it thrives by reading my post on Gut Health Tips from a Clinical Nutritionist.

Remember, in order to achieve good skin – it must come from within.

Written by:

Mollie Caughey-Wade,

Clinical Nutritionist (BSc).

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