Make this year your healthy skin year

Our skin covers and protects us. It is probably the first thing people see when they interact with us. It can give away a lot of information about the state of our health. A healthy skin represents a healthy you. Why not focus on getting your skin healthy and many other areas of your health is likely to benefit too.

The gut-skin connection

In recent years a lot of evidence has come forward about the effect our gut bacteria has on our skin. This was however first proposed over 70 years ago and dubbed the gut-brain-skin axis, since scientist found an overlap between depression, anxiety and skin conditions such as acne and eczema.

With growing awareness, more and more people are taking probiotic supplements and incorporating probiotic-rich food and prebiotic food into their meals. For good reason.

Research has shown that the community of microorganisms that inhabit your gastrointestinal tract (the microbiota), also referred to as gut flora, interacts with your immune system which leads to changes in your skin.

The benefits of a healthy gut

A healthy gut has a variety of different bacteria and is well balanced, i.e. there is more good bacteria present than bad bacteria. The lining of the gut is strengthened by good bacteria and this helps prevent microbial toxins from passing through the gaps in your lining. More than 70% of our immunity resides near our gut, ready to fight off any invaders which may pose a risk to your health. If your bacteria balance is out of sync, your gut lining may be compromised, causing an immune response and systematic inflammation. In some of us, this inflammation shows up as an inflamed skin condition or allergy. Increased inflammation can further wear down your gut lining and cause intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome).

Studies also show that small intestine bacterial overgrowth inhibits proper absorption of certain micronutrients like fats, proteins, carbohydrates and all important B vitamins. These excess bacteria compete for nutrients and produce toxic metabolites, leading to your immune system going into overdrive and causing inflammation. The more bad bacteria in your gut, the higher your inflammation response.

Good bacteria aids digestion and absorption of nutrients, boosts your immunity, consumes bad bacteria and ultimately leads to clearer and more radiant skin.

Improving the gut flora balance

Probiotics are good bacteria and supplementing probiotic-rich fermented food, such as sauerkraut, miso and kombucha leads to an increase in good bacteria colonies in your gut. These bacteria however need nourishment to thrive. Prebiotics are the foods that act as a fertiliser for the good bacteria. Bananas, asparagus, artichokes, oats and legumes are good examples of prebiotics.

Sugary and processed foods don’t feed your healthy bacteria, so try to reduce your intake of junk food and sweets as much as possible. Antibiotics can have a devastating effect on your gut, potentially wiping out most of your good and bad bacteria, so try to avoid wherever possible and if you have to take an antibiotic, ensure that you supplement with probiotics.

If you want healthy skin, start by making your gut healthy. Look into how you can make dietary changes that suits your tastes, habits and needs.

“All disease begins in the gut” – Hippocrates

Skin food through natural products

Studies have shown that gut inflammation can have a damaging effect on the protective function of the skin and increases a skin-inflammation scenario. Since the main function of the skin is to act as a physical, chemical and antimicrobial barrier, it is vital to use natural topical products directly on the skin that provide micronutrients and help strengthen the skin. Avoid products with harmful chemicals such as parabens, petrochemicals and perfumes as this will further weaken the skin.

All Down to Earth’s products do just that; supports and strengthens the skin through potent plant-actives, without delivering any harmful chemicals that could compromise the skin and immune system.

Further reading:

Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis – back to the future? (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3038963)