At Verité, we are huge fans of taking care of our inner wellbeing alongside our outer skin requirements, we want you to glow from the inside so your skin can shine on the outside!
So what exactly is the gut microbiome? It’s the combination of bacteria that exists in your digestive tract. It might sound a bit icky, but without these healthy bacteria, you wouldn’t be able to function. Your gut microbiome is inherited from your mother before you’re born and continues to develop during your early years as you encounter different types of bacteria – something that plays a significant role in the development of your immune system. If your gut microbiome is thrown out of balance by illness, stress, diet or medication, it can trigger a range of health conditions such as acne, eczema, IBS and food allergies.
The skin has its own microbiome, which we talked about in our March blog. Just like the gut microbiome, the skin microbiome is made up of a complex mix of bacteria and other organisms that work together to calm inflammation, combat bad bacteria, and communicate with your immune system.
So how do we know your gut health can influence your skin? Scientists have suspected it for many decades; in 1916 a study found a link between acne and gut bacteria, but more recent studies have discovered that imbalances in the intestinal microbiome play a part in a whole range of skin conditions including rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema.
Even many common intestinal conditions have associated skin problems. In some cases, Celiac disease results in dermatitis herpetiformis, an extremely itchy rash, rather than the classic range of digestive symptoms. If you suffer from an inflammatory bowel condition, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, you’re at a higher risk of also developing an inflammatory skin condition such as psoriasis and rosacea.
When faced with any kind of skin condition, your immediate reaction is probably to put something on it – and of course, you should nourish and care for your skin with natural, gentle products as opposed to chemical and synthetic options which can be harsh and strip your skin. But you should also look to support your gut microbiome and keep it balanced as a way to heal your skin. Here are a few ways you can look after your friendly tummy bacteria.
Choose the right foods
Make sure you eat a good array of fresh, natural and preferably organic foods that are high in nutrients, vitamins (A, C and E are key for healthy skin), minerals and healthy fats. Try to avoid processed foods and refined sugars. When you eat, chew thoroughly to take some of the stress off your digestive system.
Eat plenty of fibre and stay hydrated
As we all know, fibre and fluids are the magic ingredients to keep things moving along the digestive highway. Without enough of either, your intestinal traffic tends to slow down. If waste hangs around in the lower bowel for too long, your body can re-absorb some of the things it was supposed to be getting rid of, which make their way back through your system, including your skin. Yuck! What’s more, low-fibre diets have been shown to be harmful to a balancedgut microbiome.
Reduce stress and get enough sleep
The relationship between stress and the gut is well-documented. In fact, in the last decade, it was discovered the stomach and brain are directly linked by a previously undiscovered neuron circuit. Thisshould come as no surprise to those who get an upset stomach whenever they are nervous or stressed. Recent studies have shown that stress can directly result in a change to gut bacteria. The whole gut-brain-skin relationship is obvious when periods of stress cause skin breakouts and digestive disturbances. That’s why getting enough sleep is so important, both to lower your stress levelsand because it’s when your body, including your gut, repairs itself.
Probiotics are friendly gut bacteria. If your system is out of balance, taking a probiotic supplement or eating fermented foods that contain probiotics (like yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi or miso) can help to restore the missing bacterial strains. One of the most-studiedprobiotic strains, Lactobacillusreuteri, is known to promote healthy skin and hair, help fight infection, possess anti-inflammatory properties and improve gut health. In the 1960’s it was present in 30-40% of the population, but today that figure has fallen to 10-20%!
So if you are experiencing symptoms in your skin and health that you just can't get rid of, it may be your gut microbiome that's out of balance and in need of some care.
by: Claire Wilkins
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