Do you know that there is a connection between your gut and your skin? The state of your gut can affect your skin health and give rise to all manners of skin problems like acne, eczema, skin sensitivity, and rosacea.
But things don’t always go the way we want it right? Well, there is hope. You don’t have to suffer from persistent skin problems anymore because you will learn how to take care of your gut, and indirectly, take care of your skin.
More About Your Skin
Your skin is the largest organ in your body and your first immune system and defense against the outside world. It is living and depends heavily on water, nutrients, sunlight (especially if you are dark-skinned), and even oxygen.
The skin gets it nourishment from within and also from without and it is directly connected to your whole body health. But most people focus on the outward aspect and totally ignore the inward aspect.
Many people are suffering from a lot of skin problems and this has affected their self-esteem in many ways. Some dread leaving home because of blemishes and flakiness or other problems.
The common notion is that these problems are caused by infrequent washings, oily skin or dry skin, or not using a particular cream. Well, this might contribute to the skin problem but they are not the root cause.
If you handle all these from within, your skin will be unblemished, smooth, and fresh.
If your gut is healthy, you are well protected and your skin also will be safe from skin problems. But if your gut is not healthy, the skin will be affected.
What makes up a healthy gut is the presence of beneficial bacteria called probiotics. There are more than the cells in your body and when their population is affected or reduced, your skin and your whole body suffer it.
The Gut-Skin Connection
Your gut and skin are similar in many ways. They defend your body against pathogens and they are both covered in billions of beneficial bacteria and in this state, you are healthy.
There are over 500 species of microbes in your gut and the more diverse they are, the better. If the population and diversity of these microbes are affected, your whole body will be affected.
This can even lead to autoimmune diseases but the first sign of an unhealthy gut is skin problems. The first organ that lets you know that something is wrong with your gut is your skin.
Your gut and skin communicate. The absorption of nutrients in your gut has a direct impact on your skin health just as hormonal changes have an impact on your skin.
A vivid example of the gut skin connection is that your skin can be tainted orange if you drink excess carrot juice. This is because the carotenoids in the carrot juice are carried to your skin where they accumulate there.
So also, taking excess refined carbohydrates can increase your risks of acne. This happens because high levels of insulin can stimulate the oil gland to produce excess oil.
Due to this gut-skin connection, a healthy gut leads to beautiful skin. A healthy gut synthesizes more nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals that are of great benefit to your skin.
A deficiency in zinc leads to a type of dermatitis and a deficiency in vitamin C leads to breakouts in the skin. These are the reasons why the state of your gut reflects on your skin.
Even burns and wounds can affect the mixture of bacteria in your gut by allowing the overgrowth of gram-negative aerobic bacteria like salmonella and E-coli thereby leading to infections.
How The Gut Cause Skin Problems
Psoriasis: Almost everyone with chronic skin problems have an underlying condition of candida overgrowth. In this condition, the yeast in your gut overgrows and gets out of control.
The overgrowth of these microbes breaks down the walls of the intestines and they also get into the bloodstream. These microbes release toxic products into the body thereby causing a lot of skin problems.
People with psoriasis have colonies of candida in their bodies. The toxins and “superantigens” from these species of candida worsen the symptoms of psoriasis.
The presence of candida in the body also causes eczema, nail fungus, tinea versicolor, ringworm, dandruff, jock itch, and other fungal infections.
All these conditions mentioned have an underlying overgrowth of yeast in the gut.
Rosacea: Rosacea is also caused by SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth).
You know that most of your gut bacteria are meant to be in your large intestine and colon right? So, when they are in the small intestine, they are in the wrong place.
These bacteria are needed in the large intestine and colon to break down food, eliminate wastes, and produce vitamins. But when these bacteria get into the small intestine, it leads to SIBO, and this causes rosacea and other skin problems.
SIBO can also be caused by the overgrowth of normal bacteria in the small intestines. Many patients reverse their rosacea after treating SIBO.
SIBO causes skin problems by damaging the lining of the intestine. This leads to a condition called leaky gut, and this, in turn, leads to the discharge of pro-inflammatory cytokines which causes skin inflammation.
- Acne: People with acne have altered intestinal microflora. When you increase the population of your god microbes and reduce that of the bad ones, the acne automatically goes away.
- Hives: This is a symptom of food allergies. This originates in the gut when the populations of good microbes are drastically reduced.
- Atopic dermatitis: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) increases your risks of having atopic dermatitis (eczema) and also rosacea and psoriasis. Other digestive problems like Crohn’s disease and colitis cause inflammatory skin conditions.
- Dermatitis Herpetiformis: Celiac disease also causes skin problems and one of them is dermatitis herpetiformis.
- Constipation: People who experience regular constipation have skin problems the wastes products are not always excreted when due and they remain in the intestines for a long time.
This leads to the re-absorption of toxins into the bloodstream thereby stimulating more inflammation. It also affects your liver and puts it under more pressure.
The liver is the most important organ for your skin, if it is too stressed, your skin will start having problems and toxins will be excreted through your skin instead of the liver.
This can lead to itchiness, inflammation, and irritations.
How To Repair The Gut for Radiant and Beautiful Skin
I will give you an easy formula to help you repair your gut and solve all your skin problems. I call this “the 5 R’s”. Note that in the process of carrying out these 5R’s, you will get to a situation we call problematic microbe triggering inflammation.
This situation is not yet well understood because it is quite new and a developing area of study. It is also complex but we handle this by adding herbal treatment to your nutrition plan. In rare cases, we make use of prescription drugs.
This is the first step in repairing your gut. You have to get rid of things that create inflammation in your gut and body and it involves trying an elimination diet.
This involves getting rid of inflammatory foods like dairy and dairy products, processed foods, eggs, fried foods, soy, gluten, FODMAPS, high histamine foods, etc.
A way to go about this is to eliminate the foods you suspect of causing your allergy or inflammation for three to six weeks. During this period, you won’t reintroduce any new food until you are sure that the food you are introducing won’t cause you any symptoms again.
In doing this, you have to work with a nutritionist or naturopath for guidance. He/she will create the right elimination food plan for you and also guide you on how and when to re-introduce foods.
Your nutritionist will also make sure that you are still getting your essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients while you are on the elimination food plan.
While re-introducing foods, there are some foods I don’t advise my patients to go back to, no matter what because the symptoms will return when you start taking those foods again.
The next stage after removing is to replace. This process helps in optimizing your digestion by adding essential nutrients like micronutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are missing in your body due to nutritional issues.
Also, if you removed dairy and dairy products from your diet, you have to replace them with non-dairy options like plant beverages. It is not advisable to use goat milk as a replacement for cow milk because a lot of people who are sensitive to cow milk react to goat milk.
Replace gluten products with non-gluten products but this should be done with care. Avoid processed products or foods because they trigger inflammation. Go for non-GMO whole plant foods.
You will need supplements like betaine and digestive enzymes to break down your foods. Fiber should also be added to your nutrition plan to help food travel fast through the gut.
Fiber also aids in the elimination of toxins. Remember that you are what you eat, so eat for healthy and radiant skin. You also have to stay hydrated by drinking lots of clean water daily.
This is aids in the elimination of toxins, one of the contributing factors to skin problems. Quality hydration also boosts the functions of the body’s detoxification pathway and it keeps your skin fresh and clean inside out.
This step focuses mainly on the microbiome because the health of your microbiome is a key component in healing. In this stage, your microbiome is repopulated with a healthy microbial balance.
This is done by adding pre-biotic and pro-biotic foods and supplements to your diet. Synbiotic supplements can also be used, they contain both prebiotics and probiotics.
There are also supplements called post-biotics and they are the beneficial bioactive compounds produced by probiotics. The substances released have a positive impact on our immune system.
These post-biotics still remain intact and functions in the body even after their parents (probiotics) are no longer alive. This is still new and evolving research but it gives hope in treating skin and immune problems.
Probiotics are live friendly bacteria, they boost health and prevent diseases. They can be gotten through bio-fermented whole foods and supplements.
Prebiotics are mostly fiber-rich foods and these fibers serve as food for your healthy bacteria. Prebiotics, probiotics, and post-biotics work in synergy to heal the gut and revamp your overall health.
You need the help of a naturopath or nutritionist to guide you through this process. Your re-inoculation plan will be customized because the microbiome is unique to each person just like our fingerprints.
Your naturopath will ask some questions to ascertain your former diet and lifestyle, drugs taken in the pasts, and if possible, your medical records. This will give a clue to your nutritionist or naturopath on the microbe to re-inoculate.
However, we start with a combination of probiotic supplements that contain Lactobacillus, Saccharomyces boulardii, and Bifidobacterium species. Other healthy species of probiotics are Enterococcus, Bacillus, Streptococcus, and Akkermansia.
This is followed by a nutrition plan that is rich in prebiotic and probiotic foods. We use; wide spectrum probiotic supplements.
There is also a topical probiotic for skin problems. This will heal your skin microbiome and improve your inner and outer skin. Your skin is home to more than a million bacteria, applying a topical probiotic will improve your skin health and balance your skin microbiome.
This stage focuses on repairing the lining of the gut and this will reduce inflammation and boosts the absorption of nutrients. This particular stage takes time and you have to be consistent and disciplined.
Your result depends on you sticking to the rules of the program and diet and not re-triggering inflammation and leaky gut with inflammatory foods by cheating on your nutrition plan.
We also make use of supplements at this stage to boost the healing of the gut. The key supplements we make use of are zinc, amino acids such as L-glutamine, vitamin D, aloe vera, omega-3 fatty acids, and other supplements.
All these repair your gut lining.
The last process involves finding time for relaxation and serenity and also bringing balance to your life. I also do emotional detox for my patients at this stage to remove the mental cause of gut dysfunction and skin problems.
All these will calm the gut and reduce the impact of stress and other conditions it triggers like hormonal imbalance. You will also be required to exercise regularly, walk in nature, practice deep breathing and meditation, and sleep long and deep at night.
How Long Will This Take?
If you need help going through all these processes or you are trying to heal your gut or skin problems, feel free and contact me.
However, note that natural approaches are quite slow and you might take a while to start seeing changes but this is the best way to handle your gut and skin problems.
Taking drugs will only worsen the toxicity crises your body already has, it also has adverse side effects, and drugs do not address the root causes neither do they offer a permanent solution. Rubbing things only on your skin won’t offer a lasting solution.
These 5R’s processes can take between 6 to 12 months but you will start noticing improvement after 4 weeks. So, you need to have a truckload of patience, discipline, and consistency. You won’t break the rules neither will you cheat on your diet.
You have to love yourself and be patient with yourself as your body goes through healing and recovery. Every patient is different and each has a different journey and besides, the skin or gut problem you are trying to treat now did not happen overnight.
So don’t expect it to go overnight. It took years to develop and start showing symptoms. You have to come to the fact that it will take many months and maybe years to reverse and unravel.
What About The Gut-Brain-Skin Axis/Connection?
The brain and the gut are also interconnected through the gut-brain axis and it is also connected to the gut-skin axis. Emotions like stress and anxiety which are controlled by the brain lead to dysbiosis and intestinal permeability in the gut.
This, in turn, leads to inflammation which gives rise to skin inflammation. Over 70 years ago, John. H. Stokes and Donald M. Pillsbury were dermatologists who discovered the connection between skin problems and mental health.
From their studies, they concluded that the emotional state of people can alter their gut microbiome and cause intestinal permeability. This, in turn, they said, can cause systemic inflammation.
Now, current studies are confirming this to be true. Stress and anxiety can upset your stomach by turning on your fight-or-flight reflexes.
Even in mild cases of stress, these primordial instincts are triggered and the body will be pushed into prioritizing short-term survival. In this phase, your digestive process slows down, excretion of wastes, and toxins also stop.
If this is your default state (stress and anxiety), overtime, you will regularly experience diarrhea and constipation which is a sign that your gut is no more friendly to the healthy bacteria but to the unfriendly and disease-causing microbes.
It has even been confirmed that chronic stress aids the development of acid reflux, IBS, IBD, and other digestive disorders. Stress also affects eating habits and patterns, it even leads to cravings for junks, sugary foods, and other unhealthy foods that will only feed and increase the population of candida and unfriendly bacteria in your gut.
Your gut (the friendly bacteria) also produces serotonin, the happiness hormone which helps in keeping you happy, motivated, and feeling good.
This is why digestive problems like diarrhea and constipation can negatively affect your mood. Stress can also fuel digestive problems and your skin, unfortunately, becomes a victim of this cycle.
So far, you’ve learned now that to heal the skin, you must first heal the gut. Even if you don’t have a skin problem, you just want a brilliant complexion, healing your gut will do that.
It will do it better than the most expensive creams and cosmetics. Remember that your skin is your immune system’s first line of defense and the best way to heal it is to take an inside-out approach.
And this includes changing your diet, taking good care of your gut, taking probiotics, working on your mental and spiritual health, and increasing your intake of essential nutrients.
So yes, a skin condition like eczema and others can be cured, but you have to get to the root cause. Always remember that the cure is always in the cause.
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