Being exposed to celebrities with smooth, blemish-free, “perfect” skin across movies and magazines can push you to splurge on those fancy creams and serums that make tall claims. However, while they can temporarily make your skin feel and look better, the secret to beautiful, radiant skin starts from deep within. From your gut, to be precise. And we’ve got the lowdown on how you can transform your skin by taking care of your gut.
You Need Good Gut Bacteria For Beautiful Skin
Your skin is a pretty good indicator of your gut health. So, if you notice skin issues such as puffiness, increased wrinkles, or a spurt of acne, it could be a sign of an imbalance of your gut health.
A healthy gut is key to healthy skin. This is because our intestines contain trillions of bacteria of various species, some of which are essential and called as “good bacteria,” and others that are bad for health called as “bad bacteria.” The beneficial bacteria perform a critical role in food digestion, hormone production, detoxification, and synthesis of nutrients.
Collectively, this colony of microbes is called as gut microflora and the balance between these good and bad bacteria is critical for human health. When the balance is upset and bad bacteria multiply, you develop diseases, including skin problems. Many studies indicate that an unhealthy gut can cause acne, dull skin, and dryness.1 Factors that topple this balance are:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Unhealthy diet
- Lack of exercise
Low Levels Of Good Gut Bacteria Cause Deficiency Of Skin-Friendly Nutrients
An imbalance in the gut microbiome very quickly changes the entire biochemistry of your gut. The inadequate levels of good bacteria in your gut directly impacts the digestion of food and leads to various digestive disorders. The nutrients in the food are not assimilated or absorbed properly and this further starves and kills off the good bacteria.
Additionally, your body is deprived of many essential nutrients and minerals such as vitamins, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for skin health.3 The lack of beneficial bacteria also affects the synthesis of anti-aging hormones and vitamins, leading to dry, wrinkled, dull skin.
In fact, vitamins, carotenoids, flavonoids and numerous plant extracts that are known to contain potent antioxidant properties have been widely used in the skin care industry either as topically applied agents or oral supplements in an attempt to prolong youthful skin appearance.4
A Leaky Gut Makes You Prone To Acne And Spots
A leaky gut can cause toxins to enter your bloodstream, resulting in rashes and dermatitis.
The bad bacteria that dominate your gut release toxic substances that cause an inflammation of Peyer’s patches. These patches are small masses of tissue found in the small intestine and perform a critical role in the immune system by monitoring intestinal bacteria populations and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria in your intestines. Inflammation causes them to become weak, resulting in a condition known as leaky gut. This affects your skin as well. With your skin’s natural defenses out of place, you may experience skin conditions such as acne, inflammation, red, puffy, and spotty skin.
Important Lifestyle Changes Can Improve Gut And Skin Health
1. Eat Fermented Foods
Certain foods are effective in restoring the balance of your gut bacteria. Bone broth is ideal to channelize collagen and other anti-aging nutrients to your skin. Eat foods that help repopulate the beneficial microflora.
Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and high-quality probiotic supplement help restore the balance.5 Most importantly, make sure that your daily diet includes plenty of fresh organic fruits and vegetables, which are essential for the good bacteria to thrive.
2. Avoid Foods High In Sugar And Trans Fat
Some foods are perfect for feeding the bad bacteria and on top of this list are foods that are high in sugar and trans fat. Apart from being responsible for upsetting the balance of your gut microbiome, they may also lead to acne.6
3. Exercise Regularly
There is no substitute for regular exercise. Research has shown that exercising daily can improve your gut health not just by promoting better digestion but also by increasing the numbers of the beneficial bacteria.
4. Use Antibiotics Sparingly
Although antibiotics are vital for bacterial infections, be sure to avoid overusing them. Antibiotic overuse can deplete good gut bacteria along with the bad. An easy way to do this is by avoiding self-prescribing antibiotics and avoiding their use for viral infections.7
5. Engage In Stress-Busting Meditation Or Yoga
Stress is known to destroy the beneficial gut bacteria and promote the proliferation of the potentially harmful bacteria. Certain techniques that fight stress such as deep breathing, pranayama, meditation, and yoga also benefit your skin by boosting the oxygen content in your blood.
By adopting these simple, yet effective strategies, you can rectify the problem from within and improve your skin health. However, don’t expect your skin to transform magically in a short span of time, as this is bound to take a while. In the long run, you’ll not only have beautiful, radiant skin but also a healthy body and mind.
|↑1, ↑2, ↑5||Bowe, Whitney P., and Alan C. Logan. “Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis-back to the future?.” Gut pathogens 3, no. 1 (2011): 1.|
|↑3, ↑4||Schagen, Silke K., Vasiliki A. Zampeli, Evgenia Makrantonaki, and Christos C. Zouboulis. “Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging.” Dermato-endocrinology 4, no. 3 (2012): 298-307.|
|↑6||Katta, Rajani, and Samir P. Desai. “Diet and dermatology: the role of dietary intervention in skin disease.” The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology 7, no. 7 (2014): 46.|
|↑7||Can gut bacteria improve your health? Harvard Health Publishing.|