How your gut and skin are connected & why it matters
Many of us realise in our teenage years that our gut & our skin are connected. What we eat or drink affects the vitality, health & appearance of our skin. That much we can all agree with, and most of us learn for ourselves at any early age.
What most of us didn’t know as teenagers, is that it’s not only the foods going in that matter, it’s the microbiome of your gut.
Our gut microbiomes have been the subject of countless books and research papers in the last decade, and yet when you read them, you get the feeling we’re just scratching the surface. Recent research has done a lot to highlight:
- How little we deeply understand about how our bodies work
- How interconnected our gut & gut health is with everything else, including skin health, mental health, immunity, energy levels, hormonal balance etc.
- How improving gut health can have big consequences, even in what seems like unconnected issues.
“A healthy gut is absolutely fundamental to the health of the entire body, but it has particular relevance to the skin. Epidemiological evidence shows a clear association between guy problems and skin disorders. As a student of nutritional therapy I learnt to consider the intestinal lining as an extension of the skin, if that is inflamed and ‘out of balance’, then it was invariably reflected in the skin. A healthy gut flora dampens down inflammation throughout the body, including the skin.”
A skin or gut microbiome that is out of balance, might manifest as different conditions in different parts of the body, such as eczema, IBS or joint pain. Addressing gut health and microbiome diversity can improve a variety of conditions, which from the traditional medical view are unrelated.
It’s not just that our gut microbiome affects our skin health. Our skin has its own specific biome. Healthy skin needs this biome to be balanced & diverse. This is one of the reasons why
Figures on skin permeability vary widely, but most agree that only synthetic chemicals and essential oils have small enough molecules to allow them to permeate the skin and get into the bloodstream.
Whilst not everything we put on our skin ends up in our blood stream, it does have an effect on our skin biome. This is why antibacterials should be used with some caution. We don’t want to remove all bacteria as this leaves an empty space that may be colonised by the most virulent bacteria rather than a healthy, balanced, diverse assortment of bacteria.
It’s strange to think that beautiful, healthy skin relies on having the right kinds of microscopic organisms, internally and externally, but it also helps us look at our skin and health in general, from a new perspective. It’sa good reminder that we’ll get the best results by keeping our health as the focus, instead of our appearance.
“See your body’s messages as the gifts that they are, opening you to a new way of living, learning and deeply appreciating who you are and your life.”
Dr Libby Weaver
In the next article in this series I’ll look more deeply at Skin Biome and how you can look after yours.
Resources for learning more about skin health and skin biome:
- Perfect Skin by Alexandra Soveral
- The Beauty Guide by Dr Libby Weaver
- The Good Skin Solution by Shann Nix Jones