What’s The Connection Between Gut Health And Skin Health?

As research into the gut and the microbiome unfolds, we continue to see more interesting findings that can help us improve our health. 

Like, for example, did you know that the health of your gut can affect the health of your skin?

Well, you do now!

Researchers have discovered a clear link between the gut and the skin. As it turns out, the health of the gut can have an impact on inflammation in the skin, along with the many skin conditions which may arise from it. [1]

In today’s article, I’ll go over everything you need to know to understand this connection, as well as how you can help keep your skin clear of rashes, acne, and other inflammatory outbreaks. 

What’s the microbiome?

If you need a refresher, don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. 

The microbiome is the universe of microorganisms that call our bodies home. Every area of the body has a unique culture of (mostly good) viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

Even your skin has an important microbiome, responsible for regulating inflammation and serving as a barrier between pathogens that are attempting to infiltrate your body on a daily basis. Some of these microorganisms can even help kill certain types of pathogens.

But not all microorganisms that want to live on your skin are good. Some can actively work to eliminate the good bacteria on your skin. When this happens, an imbalance can occur, and this can trigger skin conditions like acne or eczema. 

We can help manage this by being easy on our skin so as to not kill off our good bacteria. Another way is through the introduction of probiotics. 

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria that support the good bacteria in your body and help eliminate the bad bacteria.

Research is showing more and more that the introduction of probiotics to one’s diet can help keep the skin healthy. [2]

Exposure to UV rays from the sun – known as photoaging – is a well-known major contributor to aging skin. Certain probiotics have been shown to protect against this damage. For example, L. rhamnosus – one of the most well-studied probiotic strains – was shown to delay skin damage when exposed to UV rays in mice, as well as increase the amount of immune cells important to skin health. [3]

Research is also showing that probiotics can help slow the aging of the skin in other ways. [4]

For example, a higher skin pH can cause the skin to dry out and create an environment in which bad bacteria can easily grow. Research suggests that probiotics can feed healthy bacteria, balancing the skin’s pH levels. [3]

But still, this all may have you wondering…

How is the skin connected to the gut?

As we learned above, the microbiome includes the microorganisms all throughout your body, working in tandem.

What we didn’t learn above is that:

  • The body contains tens of trillions of these microorganisms and…
  • These microorganisms make up approximately 70% of your immune system.

Your microbiome is a key regulator of the immune system. Its goal is to maintain homeostasis. This occurs by having your organs and tissue all communicate back and forth with each other. When the bacteria in your gut – where most of your body’s microorganisms live – becomes unbalanced with more bad bacteria than good bacteria, it alters the immune response. This allows for skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis, acne, dandruff, and more to take place. [5]

What’s more is that an imbalance of the gut microbiome can pose other consequences such as digestive disorders, weight gain, poor immunity, and mental health disorders. [6, 7]

L. rhamnosus

As mentioned above, L.rhamnosus is one of the most studied strains of probiotics out there, with hundreds of studies supporting its health benefits. 

Regarding the skin, research has shown that L.rhamnosus can support the function of the skin barrier. This is the layer of the skin which keeps the skin hydrated and blocks against unwanted invaders attempting to penetrate the skin. [8]

It’s also been shown to protect skin cells from disease-causing bacteria. [9]

Additionally, one study from 2016 found that it helped reduce acne in adults. [10]

If you’re thinking of adding probiotics to your regimen, L. rhamnosus is the perfect place to start! 

Click here to learn why it stands out from other strains of probiotic (and why you should take it on its own).

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