What's the Real Connection Between Gut Health & Acne?
How many creams and cleansers do you use daily to keep your skin clean? How many do you use to manage or clear up skin conditions like acne, eczema, or psoriasis? If you’re anything like the average person, the answer is probably a lot. But what if you could cut down on or stop using these topical products altogether by merely improving your gut health?
Everyone knows you are what you eat, but the relationship between gut health and acne has recently come to light. Dealing with adult acne or other skin conditions is embarrassing, frustrating, and can tank your self-confidence, and topical treatments can only help so much.
The secret to a glowing, clear complexion may lie in what we eat.
The Problem with Topical Creams
Anyone who’s had problems with their skin has likely turned to a dermatologist, who in turn prescribes some topical treatment as a plan of attack. While some of these topical solutions may provide relief, very often relief is temporary, or you have to keep using the creams to keep seeing results as they are packed with chemicals.
The issue with topical creams is that they deal with the condition from the outside in. In other words, they attack the problem but fail to address the underlying issue. Healthy skin comes from within, which means that skin treatments should treat what’s going on inside our bodies--specifically our gut.
The Gut Skin Connection
Let’s take a look at the connection between gut health and skin problems.
You already know that the foods we eat play a critical role in helping us maintain our overall health. The gastrointestinal tract, or GI tract, is responsible for taking in, digesting, and expelling all that we eat, breathe, and swallow. It extracts and absorbs energy and nutrients that fuel our body.
Just like other organs in our body, the skin uses by-products from food for nutrients, vitamins, and amino acids to keep it healthy. It’s also the only organ we can actually see, so it’s easy to get an indication of how our diet, which significantly influences the skin’s appearance, is affecting our gut health.
The Role of the Gut Microbiome in Health
To understand the relationship between gut problems and acne, we have to take a look at the gut microbiome first.
Think of the gut microbiome as everything that lives in your intestinal tract. It’s like its own little world, made up of billions of microbes that all carry out different roles. Two-thirds of the gut microbiome is unique to each person, which is dependent on the food we eat and the air we breathe, as well as other environmental factors.
The more diverse this two-thirds of gut bacteria is, the better for our overall health. When gut bacteria become destabilized, either by being under or overpopulated, it can negatively impact our health. For example, obesity, cancer, and mental health issues are all problems associated with destabilized gut bacteria.
Can Gut Problems Cause Acne?
You guessed it--acne is another issue associated with gut bacteria. It’s specifically linked to a condition called leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky gut syndrome is increased intestinal permeability, which happens when the junctions between the cells of the GI tract, which decrease the permeability of its lining, become loose. This process allows bacteria, as well as other harmful substances, to leak from the small intestine to the bloodstream, resulting in an undesirable inflammatory reaction.
And an increase in inflammation can lead to excess oil and breakouts--which is not such good news for our skin.
What Causes Leaky Gut?
The underlying cause of leaky gut is still unknown.
Some physicians are proponents that diet leads to this condition, specifically foods that cause inflammation in the body like alcohol, dairy, and wheat. Food allergies may also play a role by loosening the tight junctions in the GI tract.
Others point to the abuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin and ibuprofen, and leaky gut is often present in people who have GI diseases such as IBS, Crohn’s, and celiac disease. Leaky gut and acne are also commonly associated with one another, but the exact cause and effect relationship is still largely unknown.
How Can You Solve Skin Problems?
The good news is that the gut-skin connection means that clearer skin may be as simple as making a few diet and lifestyle changes. Keep in mind that each person’s gut microbiome is unique, so what works for one person may not work for you. That said, we do have some general recommendations.
Get Labs Done
It’s hard to fix an issue if you don’t know what it is. Having labs done is the first step toward fixing leaky gut and acne, and there are two that we recommend. The first is a stool test to rule out any possible infections, and the second is an immunological blood test to find out whether or not you’re actually suffering from leaky gut syndrome.
Fix Gut Issues
Your labs may reveal several issues, some of the more common ones being small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), dysbiosis, hypochlorhydria, parasite or yeast infections, and leaky gut syndrome. Once you know what the problem is, consult with your doctor to develop a plan of attack.
Avoid Certain Foods
Certain foods damage the gut-skin axis. If you’re looking to improve acne and gut health, it’s wise to avoid them. Some of the main culprits include NSAIDs, antibiotics, alcohol, gluten, and grains.
Eat Foods That Heal the Gut-Skin Axis
Just the same way some foods damage the gut-skin axis, there are also foods that do the opposite. Try things like bone broth, fermented vegetables, fermented dairy drinks, good fats (we like coconut oil), and liver, if you eat meat.
We also recommend trying Teami’s 30 Day Detox Program. It’s specially designed to help cleanse your digestive system of toxins and reset your body. Our customers not only report feeling refreshed, but they have also seen excellent results with their acne.
There are many reasons sleep is critical to our health, and we can add maintaining gut health to that list, too. Healthy gut flora plays an integral part in supporting a natural sleep pattern, and getting a good night’s sleep will help do that. Pretty easy, right?
We don’t need to tout the many benefits of exercise, but one we’d like to talk about is exercise’s role in positively helping alter the gut microbiome. There appears to be a link between higher activity levels and a more diverse microbiome, giving us yet another reason to get off the couch and get moving.
The Power of Tea
Did you know tea is a healing agent? Here at Teami, we harness the power of tea, along with numerous other plant-based ingredients, to bring you an all natural, vegan, and cruelty-free skincare line. The best part? This range works in synergy with the guidelines for improving gut health and acne we mentioned above.
Try the Green Tea Detox Mask, rich in superfoods and antioxidants and designed to rid pores of impurities. Our customers also love the Green Tea Facial Scrub, made with superfoods, that will leave your skin fresh and bright. Once you see the benefits of plant-based skincare, you’ll never go back to using chemically based products.
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