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Could keeping your digestive system in tip top shape be the key to having flawless skin? The answer is “yes”! There is a strong correlation between the health of your gut and skin health. The gut and the skin talk to each other via metabolites from gut bacteria that make there way to the skin via the blood, and there is also a brain-gut-skin axis in that emotional states like anxiety alter the gut microbiome and increase intestinal permeability contributing to systemic inflammation and chronic skin conditions.

The Gut-Skin axis

There are many similarities between the gut and the skin such as:

  • They both defend defend against against pathogens
  • Each has a microbiome, that helps with this defence
  • Both talk to the brain and the body sending information about the environment via the nervous system

Together they alert the body of potential treats and are constantly monitoring our environment and regulating the immune response.

For example in a study involving 13,000 adolescents it showed that those with acne were more likely to have gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation, halitosis and gastric reflux. Abdominal bloating in particular was 37% more likely to be associated with acne and other seborrheric diseases.

There is also a correlation with Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth(SIBO) and Rosacea, a small study of 113 patients with rosacea who also tested positive for SIBO, showed a sinificant improvement in their condition when treated for the SIBO.

It has been shown that if you have inflammatory bowel disease(IBD) there is a higher risk of developing an inflammatory skin condition such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and rosacea.

Dry skin is related to dysbiosis, phenols created by bacteria in the gut travel to the skin and disrupt keratinocyte differentiation.

Treating the gut for healthy skin

When addresssing any gastrointestinal issues as naturopaths we use the following approach:

  • Remove contributing factors, such as suspect foods that are known to cause inflammation such as sugar and alcohol, as well as foods that may be an issue for the individual such as diary or wheat. Where necessary treat for SIBO, parasites or yeast (candida)
  • Replace, add enzymes or HCL depending on the situation
  • Reinnoculate, with prebiotics and probiotics, introduce high fibre foods
  • Repair, when the gut is functioning better now is the time to add zinc, glutathione, fish oil and other nutrients that will be more readily absorbed and assimulated
  • Rebalance, this is where we look at overall lifestyle factors that may be contributing to dysbiosis and unhealthy digestive function such as stress, sleep and introduce ways to address these factors

If you have a skin issue and feel you are eating all the right foods but it is not helping it is more than likely that your gastrointestinal system is not functioning correctly. Come see us today and see how we can help you.

Your naturopath


Zákostelská, Z., Málková, J., Klimešová, K., Rossmann, P., Hornová, M., Novosádová, I., … Kverka, M. (2016). Intestinal Microbiota Promotes Psoriasis-Like Skin Inflammation by Enhancing Th17 Response. PLoS ONE11(7), e0159539.

Clark, A. K., Haas, K. N., & Sivamani, R. K. (2017). Edible Plants and Their Influence on the Gut Microbiome and Acne. International Journal of Molecular Sciences18(5), 1070.

Miyazaki, K., Masuoka, N., Kano, M., & Iizuka, R.(2013)Bifidobacterium fermented milk and galacto-oligosaccharides lead to improved skin health by decreasing phenols production by gut microbiota. Beneficial Microbes,5 (2), 121 – 128.

Vemuri, R. C., Gundamaraju, R., Sekaran, S. D., & Manikam, R. (2015). Major Pathophysiological Correlations of Rosacea: A Complete Clinical Appraisal. International Journal of Medical Sciences12(5), 387–396.

Bowe, W. P., & Logan, A. C. (2011). Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis – back to the future? Gut Pathogens3, 1.

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