How Can Probiotics Help Your Skin?
Our skin is the external mirror of our gut. If we look at our skin, it becomes obvious that it doesn’t end at the mouth. The skin simply changes and continues to span our inner body in the form of mucus membrane.
Now, consider the fact that the gut has a surface area of about 4,300 square feet – roughly the size of a tennis court – and makes up a majority of your body’s mucus membranes. It quickly becomes clear that we must restore and maintain a healthy gut in order to have healthy skin.
In a healthy gut, the 400-600 billion of bacteria that make up our gut microbiome are constantly assisting in many, important processes in the body. They absorb nutrients, protect against harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and toxins (pathogens), and constantly try to balance our immune system.
Stress, strong medications and certain foods can disrupt the gut microbiome, and weaken the immune system making you more susceptible to illness, including skin issues.
When the gut isn’t functioning properly, we are unable to absorb the nutrients that are essential to keep the good bacteria in our gut and our skin healthy. In addition, our gut barrier function becomes weakened and this allows harmful pathogens, toxins and allergens to enter our bloodstream, leading to inflammation throughout the body.
The result: the skin reacts with topical inflammation, which shows up in the form of acne, eczema and psoriasis.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for chronic skin issues like acne, eczema and psoriasis. However, there are several ways in which you can support your body so that you can heal and prevent against skin disease.
Cleaning Out the Gut
Certain probiotic bacterial strains have even shown in clinical studies to help fight against bad bacteria and other pathogens, inhibiting their colonization in your gut and preventing you from getting sick.
Our gut microbiome is very sensitive. When we experience stress, have to take strong medications and/or eat an unhealthy diet, our gut can become inflamed.
This inflammation causes the tight junctions in our gut barrier to become weakened and our gut barrier becomes permeable (a.k.a. leaky gut). This allows pathogens, toxins and allergens to enter your bloodstream.
The influx of harmful substances into your body triggers inflammation and an immune response. If this leaky gut remains unresolved, it can lead to autoimmune conditions such as chronic eczema and psoriasis, allergies and food intolerances.
Unfortunately, many individuals only address the symptoms of how their inflammation manifests (e.g., via antihistamines and cortisone).
These treatments can often have long-term harmful effects on the body. In order to truly heal and feel better, it is critical to address the root cause, which is an imbalance in your gut microbiome.
A powerful probiotic will strengthen your gut barrier function. Probiotics can protect your body from harmful substances, an onset of inflammation and a subsequent misdirected immune response.
Strengthening the Immune System
Certain probiotic bacteria help manage the immune system and help with skin care in two critical ways so that it does not spiral out of control, which can show up in the form of skin issues, allergies and food intolerances.
First, specific probiotic strains are known to increase IL-10 production in the body, thus helping your body manage inflammation. IL-10 is a messenger substance of the immune system that protects against exaggerated inflammatory processes and autoimmune diseases.
The other immune-modulating property of probiotic strains is the stimulation of Secretory Immunoglobulin A (sIgA) secretion. SIgA is an antibody that plays a crucial role in the immune function of mucosal membranes.
If your body doesn’t have enough sIgA, then your immune system may be weakened and you might be more prone to skin issues and infections such as colds, the flu, yeast infections and urinary tract infections.
Hence, reducing inflammation and strengthening your immune system via a healthy gut microbiome can have a powerful, positive effect on your skin.
Other Ways You Can Help Your Skin’s Microbiome
In addition to taking a high-quality, specifically combined probiotic supplement, there are a few other natural and very effective ways in which you can support your skin health.
Full Body Detox
In many cases, people suffering from skin issues have used strong medications, including antihistamines and cortisone, to treat the symptoms of their ailments. These medications can wreak havoc in the gut and on your liver, and can compromise proper detoxification.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to commit to a simple, cost-effective and easy full body detox if you’re dealing with skin issues. We recommend drinking three liters of water every day for at least one month.
You can also consider taking Milk Thistle, which is an herbal supplement that helps support your liver function.
Zeolite powder is another supplement that will help your body detox. It cannot be digested and therefore acts like a sponge to soak up toxins and carry them out of the body.
Reduce Intake of Allergen Foods
When it comes to managing a skin condition, it’s essential that you limit all food items that are commonly connected with allergic reactions. These are all products including gluten and dairy, all kinds of nuts, foods high in processed sugar, nightshade vegetables, and anything that puts a toll on the liver like alcohol.
Great alternatives are brown-rice pasta, coconut milk and yogurt, maple syrup, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, as well as leafy green vegetables.
Eat More Fiber
You want to make sure that your body is detoxing properly through regular, healthy bowel movements. An effective way to ensure that you have regular, healthy bowel movements is by eating enough fiber.
The easiest and most natural way to get more fiber into your diet is by eating more fibrous foods, including leafy greens, quinoa and gluten-free oats, beans/peas, flax seeds and apple.
Another approach is to add a prebiotic fiber supplement like psyllium husk to your daily regimen. If you’d like to learn more about how to optimize your bowel movements, check out our blog post about what bowel movements can teach you about your health.
Take These Dietary Supplements
- Zinc – Zinc has shown to reduce the excretion of histamine, and with that the itching and swelling of the skin. In addition, Zinc is one of the most important substances in the body; it is involved in more than 300 metabolic processes, including the ones that lead to healthy skin. Zinc helps rebuild healthy skin cells, which is especially important for people suffering from skin issues.
- Omega 3-Fatty Acids – Omega 3-Fatty Acids reinforce the cell membrane. The cell membrane acts as the barrier against harmful substances entering the cell, and it’s the passageway for nutrients to cross in and waste products to cross out of the cell. In addition, the cell membrane influences the cells ability to hold water. Having a nice, healthy cell barrier helps retain water and makes the skin appear softer and younger. Omega 3-Fatty Acids also help reduce the body’s production of inflammatory compounds, the natural chemicals involved in the aging process.
- Co-Q10 – The energy center of our body’s cells is the mitochondria. Co-Q10 provides energy to the mitochondria, therefore supercharging every cell in the body, including the skin cells. Taking Co-Q10 also typically increases energy levels.
Retain Moisture in Your Skin
With sensitive skin, it’s very important to keep your skin moisturized. Therefore, for proper skin care, we recommend reaching for a natural, rich moisturizer that is free of fragrances and cortisone. This moisturizer should also include gamma-linolenic acid, which promotes the rebuilding of the skin cell membranes, and Vitamin E for natural conservation.
Every time you shower, make sure to apply your moisturizer all over your body to retain your skin’s moisture immediately after.
It’s also a good idea to switch over to natural, organic makeup products in order to avoid further irritation of the skin.
Avoid Harsh Scrubbing
Skin with issues like eczema, psoriasis and acne is often very sensitive, and harsh scrubbing can irritate it and cause further topical inflammation.
That said, if you’re suffering from psoriasis or eczema and your skin is covered in scales, a warm bath for gentle exfoliation can be a good idea. You can use a washcloth to gently scrub away the dead skin from your psoriasis/eczema spots.
The purpose of this bath and gentle exfoliation is to make sure that your moisturizer can again be absorbed by your skin. Please note that the bath should not be longer than ten minutes. You may also consider consulting with your dermatologist to see if probiotic skin care can help you.
Stress is a major determining factor in gut health and skin health. Try to avoid obvious stressors in your life as much as possible. If you find yourself in a prolonged stressful time, try to support your body in managing this stress by doing stress-relieving activities, including meditation and yoga.
You can also add an African Black Bean supplement (a.k.a. Griffonia Simplicifolia) to your daily wellness routine. This is a plant extract that has shown to help with depression, anxiety, tension headaches and migraine, as well as increase the production of the happiness hormone Serotonin.
Dealing with acute and chronic skin issues can be incredibly frustrating. Our skin is one of the largest organs of our body, and if it’s not healthy, this takes a huge toll on the entire body and mind. We sincerely hope that the steps outlined in this blog post will help you understand what contributes to skin health and where you can start making changes in order to restore and maintain your skin health successfully.
Take Care of Your Gut
Bottom line, a major contributing factor to skin health is the state of your gut health. If you’re suffering from acute or chronic skin issues, consider whether your digestion feels healthy and painless.
Having irregular bowel movements, including constipation and diarrhea, feeling bloated, experiencing flatulence and/or regular stomach aches especially after eating?
These could all be signs pointing towards an imbalance in your gut microbiome, which could be the main culprit of your skin suffering.
Taking care of your digestive system by eating probiotic foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and other fermented foods may help with your skin care routine. However, a high-quality probiotic supplement with live cultures of good bacteria can have a huge impact on your overall health including that of your skin.