Gut health plays a crucial role in your skin's health. Influencing conditions ranging from common skin irritations to potentially affecting skin cancer treatments. A balanced diet, rich in prebiotics and probiotics, alongside a healthy lifestyle, can promote a healthy gut microbiome, leading to improved skin health and overall well-being.
Before we begin let’s define 3 crucial keywords used throughout this guide.
- Microbiota: describes the living micro-organisms found in a defined environment (e.g. your gut)
- Prebiotics: are compounds in food that foster growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. Found in hole grains, bananas, greens, onions, garlic, soybeans and artichokes.
- Probiotics: are live micro-organisms that provide health benefits when consumed, generally by improving or restoring the gut microbiota. Can be found in yogurt, miso and sauerkraut.
Your Microbiome and Inflammation Highway
The immune system is home to a diverse community of microbes collectively known as the gut microbiome. This ecosystem plays a pivotal role in regulating inflammation throughout the body, when this microbiome is out of balance it can lead to increased inflammation. This irritation often manifests on the skin in various forms (e.g. acne, eczema, psoriasis)
Inflammatory reactions triggered in the gut can send signals to the skin leading to flare-ups and other skin disturbances. A well-balanced gut microbiome can improve skin health and ease antagonising skin conditions.
The Nutrient Absorption-Skin Radiance Link
The gut is the primary site for nutrient absorption, a process that is vital for overall health, including the health of our skin. Essential nutrients and vitamins (A, B, C and E) play a vital role in skin health. They contribute to collagen production, skin repair, and protection against oxidative damage.
However, when gut health is compromised the absorption of these key nutrients can be severely impacted. This deficit can lead to various skin issues, including dullness, dryness, and a weak skin barrier. Alternatively, a healthy gut ensures our skin receives all the essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy and vibrant.
The Gut-Skin Stress Axis
The symbiotic relationship between stress and gut health seriously impacts skin health. Stress can weaken our intestinal walls allowing bacteria and toxins into the bloodstream, causing skin inflammation, acne or rosacea.
Our gut produces and regulates several neurotransmitters and hormones, like serotonin and cortisol, which are involved in stress response. An imbalance in these chemicals due to poor gut health can intensify stress, thereby creating a vicious cycle that affects skin health.