As the father of modern medicine once said,
“All diseases begin in the gut.”
If you’re struggling with skin conditions like acne, dryness, or eczema and don’t have any clue what external factors could be contributing to its appearance, it might be time to look within.
Gut-Skin Axis: What Is It?
Scientists have continuously been studying the relationship between our brains and our gut. What they found was that gut health directly affects brain health and vice versa. In other words, if you have an unhealthy gut, it could very well mean that you also have an unhealthy mind.
Based on this research, John Stokes and Donald Pillsbury — two dermatologists — suggested that there could also be an overlap between gut health and skin conditions.
These two researchers proposed that an altered gut biome could increase intestinal inflammation and permeability, and in turn contribute to inflammation in the whole body. This relationship was later called the “Gut-Skin Axis.”
Gut Health and Skin Conditions
Your gut is essentially what protects the rest of your body from harmful toxins that could escape the intestinal tract. If anything were to irritate your gut, it could cause inflammation and alter this process.
As a response, the body goes into full “war mode,” supercharging the immune system and attacking anything that could potentially be “harmful” to your health. As a result, irritation and inflammation may start to develop on the rest of your body. This includes your skin.
Can You Improve Skin Health Through the Gut?
In a word: Yes.
The best thing you can do for your skin is to fix your gut microbiome. By doing that, you lessen the irritation and inflammation of your gut, which in turn relieves the symptoms that have developed on your skin.
Whether your goal is to get rid of acne or achieve firm skin, the following tips should be able to help you improve your gut health:
1. Add Fiber-Rich Foods to Your Diet
One of the things that can contribute to giving you a healthier gut microbiome is fiber. Fiber feeds the healthy bacteria present in your gut and helps them maintain order inside your stomach. The best sources for dietary fiber are whole grains, seeds, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts.
2. Explore Effective Ways to Manage Stress
Chronic stress can negatively impact the integrity of skin collagen, causing it to lose elasticity and brightness. If your goal is to restore collagen on your skin, one of the best ways to do this is to find ways to effectively manage stress.
Every person has their own unique experience with stress and how you respond to stressful situations can greatly affect your skin health and your gut health. A common reaction to stress is binging on junk food or indulging in alcoholic beverages. Instead of doing that, the next time you feel stressed, why not try doing something else.
For example, you could go for a short walk around the block. Or if you don’t want to take a walk, you may want to consider writing down what you’re feeling on a piece of paper.
Meditating can also be an effective coping mechanism for stress. You can look for guided meditation programs online to get you started. There are free and paid versions all over the internet with varying concentrations and levels. We love the apps Headspace and Calm!
3. Eating Fermented Food
Fermented food and beverages like yogurt and cheese are great sources of probiotics. These good bacteria help the gut maintain a healthy microbiome. Additionally, probiotics help reduce the severity of eczema and some allergic reactions.
Probiotics have also been shown to help improve the body’s immune response. This is on top of helping prevent digestive issues, heart conditions, mental health issues, and so much more. A few great sources of probiotics are kimchi, tempeh, sauerkraut, and kefir.
In addition to dietary changes and exploring new ways to manage stress, incorporating some supplements into your diet can also help promote a healthier gut.* Collagen and probiotics are at the top of our list but we always recommend checking with a doctor first if you are experiencing a specific issue since every person is different. If you’re curious about how supplements may be able to help, you can:
You can read more about collagen and gut health here.
You can read more about the benefits of probiotics here.
Gut health and skin health are directly related. If one is out of sorts, the other will follow suit if the issue is not addressed sooner. Luckily, there are lifestyle changes that people can take to improve their gut health and skin health simultaneously.
Try adding more fiber-rich foods to your diet. Fiber feeds the healthy bacteria living in your gut and improves gut health overall. Getting a healthy fix of probiotics in your diet is also essential to keeping the balance in your gut microbiome.
If you experience chronic stress, finding more effective ways to manage your symptoms is key. Instead of reaching for your favorite treat every time you’re overwhelmed or upset, try healthier coping habits such as meditating, exercising, or journaling.
Finally, adding some supplements to your daily routine can also help promote a healthier gut.*
If you’re interested in learning more, check out our collagen and probiotic supplements here!