Do you want to eliminate acne, and have younger looking, glowing, and more vibrant skin? Read on to find out the surprising reason why your skin health may be suffering.
Many people are now aware of the effect your gut health can have on your mental health (referred to as the gut-brain connection). However, gut health can also affect skin health. In what is sometimes referred to as the gut-brain-skin axis, multiple body systems are interconnected with and affected by your gut health. Because the skin is actually the largest organ in the body, it can easily be affected by your overall health.
Researchers have discovered that people with skin issues, namely acne, are more likely to have Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and/or leaky gut syndrome (increased intestinal permeability) than those without acne. So why is this the case? Disorders of the digestive system and poor gut health, particularly increased intestinal permeability, often result in increased inflammation throughout the entire body. Furthermore, inflammation in the gut, not to mention high levels of stress, can decrease the skin’s ability to function optimally as a barrier between the internal and external environment. This can cause an increase in skin inflammation, which can result in poor skin health, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, etc.
So how can you optimize your skin and gut health? Through nutrition, of course! While we covered some of these recommendations in our previous blog post (“The Gut-Brain Connection”), we have expanded our tips for optimal health of your gut-brain-skin axis. Here are the top things to include and avoid if you want to have clear, glowing skin!
- Bone broth – Healing the skin and the gut is sped up by including bone broth in your diet, due to the collagen it contains. Start incorporating bone broth into your diet for optimal health and healing. (Psst! Bone broth is included in the cleanses we offer!)
- Fermented foods – Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, which help your gut to heal. And when your gut is healthy, your skin will thrive!
- Kefir – Kefir is also an abundant source of probiotics! Whether the kefir is made from fermenting dairy or coconut, try to include some kefir in your diet to increase your probiotic consumption!
- Coconut Oil – Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, which makes it great to use directly on the skin! Additionally, the healthy fats in coconut oil (medium chain triglycerides) help heal the gut and decrease intestinal permeability, which will decrease the inflammation in the entire body, including the skin! Go coco-nuts!
- Processed food – Processed food increases inflammation throughout the entire body, which can put your skin at risk. For optimal gut and skin health, ditch processed foods (particularly refined sugar and carbohydrates) in favor of whole foods.
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs – While NSAIDS relieve pain by decreasing inflammation in the body, they effectively INCREASE inflammation in the intestines. Therefore, when these drugs are used chronically, they can increase the risk of gut damage, specifically increased intestinal permeability. Your best bet is to avoid these drugs if you want to optimize your skin and gut health.
- Antibiotics – Having good bacteria present in your gut is crucial to ensuring optimal gut and skin health. However, when antibiotics are used, ALL bacteria in the gut is killed (the bad along with the good). Therefore, we recommend steering clear of antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. Additionally, if you do have to use antibiotics due to an infection, be sure to take probiotics to repopulate your gut with good bacteria.
- Stress – Stress negatively affects both the gut and the skin, which clearly demonstrates the principal of the gut-brain-skin axis. Stress can increase inflammation throughout the body, putting both your skin health at risk. We recommend becoming more aware of your stress levels and taking time to de-stress throughout and at the end of each day.
- Alcohol – Alcohol consumption can put you at risk of increasing your intestinal permeability, which can lead to systemic inflammation and decreased skin health. Cut back on or eliminate alcohol consumption to improve the health of your skin.
To sum up, poor skin health (including anything from acne, dry skin, or autoimmune-related skin disorders like psoriasis) could be a direct reflection of something deeper going wrong inside your body, such as poor gut health. We have briefly reviewed the intricate connection of the gut and the skin, and have provided ways you can improve the health of your skin through addressing the root cause of your skin issues. Give some (or all) of these suggestions a try to see more vibrant, glowing skin!