The gut and skin interact with one another more than you realize, each one affecting the other through several pathways, especially the microbiome. This interaction allows the gut and skin the ability to influence one another's health, with the gut having a greater impact on skin health. This creates the gut-brain axis. Thus, your health is highly dependent upon the health of your skin and gut.
Another similarity between the two is that the skin has its own microbiome that is just as important to health as that of the gut microbiome. Studies have found it to be one of the most diverse microbiomes in the body. The microbiota protects, acting as a barrier against potential issues. It is essential to have a balance between good and bad bacteria, and dysbiosis has the potential to contribute to skin disorders and diseases, just as in the gut. These similarities also lead to many connections between disorders of the gut and skin.
The Connection Between Gut Disorders and Skin Disorders
Many skin disorders are more common in those with gut issues and specific skin issues. For example, rosacea has an association with SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth).
Some of the first symptoms of SIBO may show up on your skin. They may result in:
- Pustules (Pus-Filled Blisters/Pimples)
- Papules (Non-Pus-Filled Blister/Pimples)
- Erythema (Redness/Blotchiness)
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is also associated with a higher risk of developing an inflammatory skin condition, such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and rosacea. IBD can affect up to 60 million people each year. Typically, IBD springs up in two forms:
- Crohn's Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
There is also a strong association between gut health and acne, with several studies linking dysbiosis to the development of acne. If you are what you eat, and if you consume high levels of sugar, fat and empty carbohydrates, you may see the effects on your skin. The typical Standard American Diet (SAD) has found many with elevated insulin levels confirm that these dietary choices set off a litany of pro-inflammatory symptoms in the skin.
These are just a few examples of ways in which the health of the gut and the skin are closely related.
Probiotics for Gut & Skin Health
Because of the high association between gut disorders, especially dysbiosis, and skin problems, researchers have looked into the potential of probiotics for treating skin conditions. Several studies have found relief for certain skin conditions with taking probiotics orally, altering the gut microbiome as well as that of the skin. Research shows certain probiotic species reduces oxidative stress in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, this bacterium alleviates inflammatory responses inside the microbiome that attracts opportunistic pathogens on your skin microbiota.
As the skin microbiome has become a widely studied area, the cosmetics industry has in recent years placed a lot of focus around topically applied probiotics in creams and serums. Topical probiotics have shown efficacy in several clinical trials, particularly those involving the treatment of acne, atopic dermatitis and rosacea.
There is an undeniable relationship between the gut microbiome and skin health. It has become an important topic in dermatology and gastroenterology alike. Many environmental factors such as diet and psychological stress can influence the gut microbiome, which can directly or indirectly affect skin health. With the use of probiotics supplements and the consumption of probiotic foods as well as topical probiotic use, there is great promise in the management of skin disorders, they should be widely considered as a therapeutic approach to address these concerns.