Lately we have been getting a lot of DMs asking about which serum is best for a variety of skin concerns, ranging from super dry cracked skin all the way to cystic acne, and everything in between. Of course we are just estheticians, and a Doctors suggestion will always rule (I personally go to the Dermatologist multiple times a year) but in addition to helping you “pick your poison”, I thought that we could chat about gut health and its effects on skin.
Many times when skin conditions do not respond well to skin treatments, the source of the issue is likely to be in the gut. Your gut is filled with bacteria that influence your body's digestive response and help your immune system function. Your gut microbiome is the entire system that's made up of a collection of bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa (single-celled organisms) colonizing your gastrointestinal system. Reports indicate that the nervous, immune and endocrine systems all communicate with skin, and that connection is what allows prebiotics and probiotics to prevent — and treat — ailments.
First of all, all of us have both good and bad bacteria in our stomachs. By balancing the good and bad bacteria, you gut enables your skin to act as a barrier which in turn prevents toxins and pathogens from entering the body. Gut problems and indigestion can actually affect the way your body retains nutrients, leading to poor absorption of necessary vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed to keep skin healthy, and therefore can even potentially worsen existing or underlying skin conditions.
When both your gut and your skin are healthy, your body will naturally produce more anti-inflammatory molecules to fight skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and a variety of other ailments.
In order to keep a healthy diet, as mentioned before, including both probiotics and prebiotics in your meal rotation is vital. Prebiotics, also known as high fiber foods can be found in vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and fruits, just to name a few. Probiotics are fermented foods which contain good bacteria that benefit your gut and therefore skin (even your brain!). Probiotics can be found in yogurt, kombucha, and even pickles. Additionally, polyphenol rich foods can also increase healthy gut bacteria levels, and can be found in foods such as olive oil and green tea.
Also, eating certain foods that contain healthy oils and omega-3 fatty acids can greatly impact the health of your skin. These oils and fats can be found in fish, nuts, olive oil, and many more foods. By consuming these oily foods on a regular basis, along with healthy proteins, you can help the collagen production in your skin. By increasing your skin’s collagen production, your skin will be smoother and suppler, which will help prevent premature wrinkles and skin sagging.
In addition to pre and pro biotics (and oils and fatty acids!) studies suggest that following a low-glycemic diet may reduce the amount of acne you have. Low-glycemic foods include most fresh vegetables, some fresh fruits, beans, and steel-cut oats. Scientists believe that following a low-glycemic diet may reduce acne because this diet eliminates spikes in your blood sugar. When your blood sugar spikes, it causes inflammation throughout your body. These spikes also cause your body to make more sebum, an oily substance in your skin. Both inflammation and excess sebum can lead to acne. Did I mention sugar is a definite no-no because of this!?
Lastly, I wanted to mention milk. After doing a ton of research on this topic, I came to notice that there was a definite trend in the consumption of cows milk and both regular and cystic acne. One study that I read said that women who drank 2 or more glasses of skim milk per day were 44% more likely to have acne than the other women in this study. This is likely because of a higher amount of bioavailable hormones in skim milk, since they cannot be absorbed in surrounding fat. This can then overstimulate the group of glands that produce our skin's natural oily secretions, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
While cow's milk may increase the risk of developing acne, no studies have found that products made from milk, such as yogurt or cheese, lead to more breakouts. Meaning – there was no link between acne and cheese – thank God.
I hope this helps everyone more fully understand the role of their gut in conjunction with their skincare routines! And once again, I am not a doctor, this blog was created from my findings while doing research! (don’t sue me).