Updated: Sep 4, 2021
Looking good by having glowing skin has never been as prolific today as it has been in the past. With new beauty trends, skin regimes and treatments coming our way through every media channel possible, it felt topical to cover the first article on how gut health is just as important as the new beauty serum when it comes to skin health.
You may be asking what’s the gut got to do with how radiant my skin could potentially appear. You may even be asking why gut-health would even impact the skin in any way at all. Good questions, and two that I hope this article will help to answer in some way.
Firstly, its important to note that the skin and the gut have several things in common; they are both organs and highly vascularised, they play critical roles in our immunity and they both help to keep physiological balance within the body, i.e. homeostasis. The skin plays a pivotal role in protection, temperature control and water retention through skin cell (epidermal) turnover.
The term ‘gut-skin’ axis (1), though not well used, does make sense when we look at the evidence that supports the fact that the gut and the skin have a very close relationship indeed. They both depend and impact on each other in some way, shape or form. They are connected and intimate – and the effects of the gut microbiome (bacteria, virus, fungi and other microbes) play an important role in skin health.
As mentioned in the ‘Start with the Gut’, the gut has a role to play towards overall health. This applies just as much to skin health. It is thought that the gut microbiota have some influence on skin homeostasis through systemic immunity whilst certain gut microbes and metabolites have been shown to be anti-inflammatory (2), and positively impact the response to disturbed skin function.
Furthermore, the microbiome have been shown to impact skin physiology, pathology, and immune response more directly, and in instances where there is gut dysbiosis and disturbed intestinal barriers, such as those with IBD, systemic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, the intestinal microbiota have been reported to gain access to the bloodstream, accumulate in the skin, and disrupt skin homeostasis leading to acne, rosacea, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis (2)
The gut microbiome can also influence the skin microbiome through fibre digestion. The beneficial effects of gut bacteria on skin health and appearance have been documented showing improved skin barrier function, hydration and reduced sensitivity (3). All signs of firm and glowing skin.
As we know, diet can alter gut bacteria, and there has been evidence to suggest that gut- health support through probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics could offer similar health benefits for skin health. On part two of this article, we will explore the impact of diet and nutrition on skin health.
For now, if you want to think about skin health, and ensuring you maintain radiant skin, perhaps consider looking at your gut with equal importance to your own skin treatments and regimes. The evidence suggests its not a bad investment that will surely pay off!
1. I Salem et al., The Gut Microbiome as a Major Regulator of the Gut-Skin Axis. Front Microbiol. 2018; 9: 1459.
2. CA O'Neill et al., The gut-skin axis in health and disease: A paradigm with therapeutic implications. Bioessays. 2016 Nov;38(11):1167-1176.
3. M Ogawa, Effects of oral intake of heat-killed Lactobacillus brevis SBC8803 (SBL88™) on dry skin conditions: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Exp Ther Med. 2016 Dec;12(6):3863-3872.