When it comes to taking care of our skin the first thing that usually jumps to mind is the various cleansers and serums that we use topically. These products are vital for thoroughly cleaning the skin and delivering crucial ingredients for happy glowing skin. However, this is only half the battle. So much of our outer beauty is regulated by our inner health, in particular our gut health.
When I talk about gut health, I am referring to all stages of digestion and function. From the hydrochloric acid in your stomach to the diversity of bacteria in your bowel, it all needs to be strong and balanced to function at its best.
Over recent years there has been an increased interest in the gut/skin axis (or the gut/skin connection) which is changing the way we view skin health and improve clinical outcomes. The human body is fascinating! The way it works to keep itself in balance and carry out its functions tirelessly every day – never stopping for a break, is truly a wonder to behold. It is therefore important to treat it with respect and appreciate when we may need to give a little helping hand when things get tough.
how is leaky gut related?
Have you ever noticed how after a night of heavy drinking or fast food you wake up to an unwanted breakout or tired dehydrated skin? This is because poor dietary and lifestyle choices can lead to intestinal permeability (commonly called leaky gut) which can cause a whole host of problems.
When the protective barrier that lines our digestive tract becomes damaged an increased passage of antigens can enter into the body. Over time this can lead to a vicious cycle of inflammation and tissue damage. If we also have a degree of dysbiosis (overgrowth of bad bacteria), which are releasing endotoxins, further inflammation and loss of barrier function will occur.
This cycle results in the nervous system releasing substance P in the gut and skin which increases sebum production (the oil in your skin). An overgrowth of the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes further triggers inflammatory pathways leading to blackheads, pimples, lines, and wrinkles.
what else should we consider?
But luckily, we can stop this process. Your skincare routine prescribed by your skin therapist is still crucially important, but investigating and treating the underlying cause is a central step that shouldn’t be overlooked. And it’s not just alcohol and fast food that can cause issues. Hormonal imbalances, deficiencies in certain nutrients (like zinc and omega-3 fatty acids), underlying food sensitivities (like gluten or dairy), poor stress management, poor sleep, and many more factors can detrimentally affect your skin.
Together with your practitioner, it’s important to discover the root cause of skin issues and develop a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. Using products such as practitioner strength, broad-spectrum probiotics, digestive enzymes, and anti-inflammatory ingredients may help to rebalance, strengthen and heal the gut, resulting in a healthy and happy body inside and out!
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