The Connection Between Gut and Skin Health
The Impact of Diet on Your Microbiome
The Gut-Brain-Skin Axis
Recommendations for Improving Gut and Skin Health
Do you struggle with acne or other skin issues like eczema or rosacea?
Do you strive to eat healthily and maintain a good skin care regime, yet for some unknown reason you just can't get rid of your acne?
Approximately 85% of adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12 and 25 are affected by acne, making it the eighth most common medical disorder in the world.
Because acne is especially common in Western countries, many believe that it's primarily caused by the average Western diet and its impact on the gut microbiome and overall health. Indeed, ongoing research increasingly suggests a connection between poor gut health and poor skin health that many of us do not consider.
The Gut Microbiome
Your gut microbiome is made up of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes. A well-balanced gut microbiome is crucial to aiding digestion and supporting the immune system, and is a vital component of your overall health, including mental health. Thus an unbalanced microbiome can lead to many health issues including chronic constipation, hormonal imbalances, mood disorders, reduced immunity to viruses, and much more.
▶︎ How the Health of Your Microbiome Supports Your Overall Health
The Skin Microbiome
Your skin also has a microbiome, made up of bacteria and other microorganisms, and this microbiome is an extremely important part of skin health. It reduces inflammation, retains moisture, and acts as a barrier against infections and environmental toxins and pollutants.
Just like the gut, it's important for your skin's microbiome to remain balanced and include a good amount of healthy bacteria, or else it is not able to maintain healthy and clear skin. Using cleansers, toners, antibiotics, or other skin care products that are too harsh and kill off all bacteria in the skin, including those that are beneficial, will harm your skin microbiome.
The Impact of Diet on Your Gut and Skin Microbiomes
Your gut and skin microbiomes are interconnected, and the health and balance of both is instrumental to having clear, healthy skin.
Following a diet that supports the health of your gut microbiome can have a direct impact on both your gut and skin health. One such diet is the Ten Days to Optimal Health diet, which includes consuming good amounts of probiotic-rich foods and healthy fruits, proteins, and fats and avoiding processed foods and refined sugars.
Consuming foods that increase inflammation in the gut, such as alcohol, sugar, and artificial or processed foods, can cause systemic inflammation in your body, including in the skin. A recent study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that changing your diet to reduce these types of foods can actually change the microbes in your skin's microbiome and improve its health.
Taking probiotic supplements or doing therapeutic enemas to cleanse the colon can likely have a similar impact on skin health through supporting the health of the gut microbiome.
▶︎ Browse Probiotic Supplements
▶︎ How To Take a Home Enema Series
The Gut-Brain-Skin Axis
Not only are your gut health and skin health interconnected, but your emotional and mental health are also interconnected to your gut and skin health. In the early 1900s dermatologists John H. Stokes and Donald M. Pilsbury proposed a concept now known as the gut-brain-skin axis — the idea that one's mental health and gut health can impact one another, and that both can in turn impact your skin health.
Stokes and Pilsbury hypothesized that negative emotional states such as depression or stress may alter your gut microbiome, increasing intestinal inflammation and intestinal permeability and contributing to whole-body inflammation, including in the skin.
They recommended using the bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus to improve both gut and skin health. This idea didn't receive much attention for most of the 20th century, but in recent years additional research has been published that validates their hypothesis and focuses on investigating these relationships.
▶︎ Understanding The Brain-Gut Connection: Learn More
Skin Health and Your Gut Microbiome
Kristina Amelong, CCT, CNC discusses how your gut health is related to the health of your skin. She also discusses her recommendations on how to improve the health of both your skin microbiome and your gut microbiome, including dietary changes, probiotics, essential oils, and more.
Recommendations for Improving Gut and Skin Health
So what are some ways in which you can improve both your gut microbiome and your complexion?
- Increase the amount and variety of healthy bacteria in the microbiome. You can do this by taking oral probiotics, eating more probiotic-rich foods (such as kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, or kvass), and doing therapeutic enemas such as the 3-step enema series protocol.
- Eliminate foods in your diet that may increase inflammation in your body. The common culprits include sugar, gluten, alcohol, and processed foods.
- Use essential oils to improve skin health. There are some essential oils that are very beneficial for skin health and will not harm the skin's microbiome. Helichrysum, frankincense, and tea tree essential oils are all known to be soothing to the skin and can help reduce irritation and inflammation. Helichrysum is one I've especially seen great results with among my clients and would recommend. To use these oils, mix 1-2 drops with liquid coconut oil (or your preferred carrier oil) and apply topically. Do not apply undiluted essential oils directly to the skin.
- Try to reduce your stress levels and make sure that you are sleeping enough. This may be easier said than done, but making lifestyle changes that improve your mental and emotional health will likely have a direct impact on your gut and skin health as well.
A healthy, balanced microbiome is an essential component of full body health. When your microbiome becomes unbalanced, or you experience a gastrointestinal disorder such as leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), this will often be reflected in your skin.
Because of this connection, taking steps to improve colon health, such as with dietary changes, probiotic supplementation, or colon cleansing, is likely to improve skin health as well, and is a more effective treatment method for most people than antibiotics or harsh facial products.
▶︎ How To Cleanse the Colon at Home
▶︎ Recommended Probiotic Supplement
▶︎ Learn More about the Ten Days to Optimal Health program
DISCLAIMER: This material is presented for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or prescribing from a licensed healthcare professional. We make no claim or guarantee for cure or relief of any specific symptom, medical condition, or disease when using any of the products or protocols referenced here. Consult with a licensed healthcare professional before altering or discontinuing any current medications, treatment, or care, or starting any diet, exercise, cleansing, or supplementation program, or if you have or suspect you might have a health condition that requires medical attention.
By Kristina Amelong, CCT, CNC
I-ACT-Certified Colon Hydrotherapist
Certified Nutritional Consultant