Healthy Gut, Healthy Skin
Did you know, your skin is a mirror for what’s happening inside your gut? How fascinating is that?! Both the skin and gut have their own microbiome, or ecosystem, made up of different types of bacteria. The gut is also where we metabolise food and hormones, make detoxifying enzymes, and neutralise pathogens. In fact, every system in the body is linked to gut health. It’s no surprise then, that supporting your gut will have a positive effect on your skin.
What is the Microbiome?
It’s a term that often pops up in conjunction with gut health. So, what is our microbiome? Well, microbiome refers to a habitat of tiny microbes, all living together in one environment like our gut or skin. When in balance and healthy, our gut microbiome will be diverse with trillions of different microbes. Good bacteria will thrive, and this means there’s likely to be low inflammation throughout the body, hormone release will be balanced, and skin is healthy and glowing. Interestingly, our skin also has a microbiome made up of these tiny microbes, more on this later! Now, back to the gut . . .
Skin Symptoms of Poor Gut Health
Of course, we can’t see inside our own bodies, so, it can take a while to make the connection between poor gut health and skin issues. We can take cues from our skin, as you’ll see below, and our skin professionals will be able to support you with a personalised regime that includes a medical grade skincare regime, alongside an understanding of your skins’ needs and lifestyle issues. Find a specialised skin pro to work with you here.
The symptoms of poor gut health reflected in the skin are varied and can include dry skin, which is often linked to inadequate digestion. Eating healthy fats like avocado and oily fish helps to improve the fatty acids and ceramides in our skin, but poor gut health may mean this fat isn’t absorbed correctly leading to dryness and/or dull lacklustre skin. An imbalance of the gut microbiome towards problematic bacteria, rather than the good, healthy bacteria, can cause inflammation in the gut. Signs of this in the skin tend to also be inflammatory skin conditions such as redness or breakouts. Poor gut health can accelerate skin ageing by compromising its function and barrier, leaving it vulnerable to environmental damage and premature ageing.
The Antioxidant Boost
So, how can we help to support our gut to improve our skin? Functional medicine practitioner Farzanah Nasser says, “increasing plant-based foods in your diet can increase short-chain fatty acids and have an overall effect of reducing inflammation in the body
and skin. Combine this with effective skincare, that respects the skin’s microbiome, and together they can have a huge impact on skin health.” Farzanah talks about this further in our Insta Live session and recommends eating 30 different plants per week to help promote diversity in the gut. We were delighted to hear that the 30 includes fruit and veg of course, but also nuts, pulses, legumes, herbs and spices, and herbal teas, phew! Boost your daily intake with two different herbal teas per day, spices in every meal and trying different varieties of the same fruit or veg. For example, a Cox apple and a Braeburn apple counts as 2 different plants, an apple a day with a twist! A more diverse diet will help to give your body a wide range of antioxidants to help tackle the free radicals that lead to gut inflammation and skin issues, like premature ageing. Ample levels of antioxidants inside will defend the skin outside from both internal and external damage, leading to a brighter, more radiant, complexion.
How to Support Your Gut Microbiome
Diversifying your diet is the first thing you can do to help improve your gut health and we’ve come up with a few more expert tips that will make a big difference to both your overall health and skin health. First up is stress. We all know that stress is bad for us, affecting everything from sleep to memory. When we’re stressed, stomach acids can actively drop, meaning it’s more difficult for the gut to absorb the nutrients it needs. Regular, and conscious, stress management can help support gut and skin health over the long-term. So, it’s worth finding the stress release that works for you. Whether that’s an hour on the sofa with Netflix, dancing round the kitchen to loud music, yoga, or chatting to a friend.
Next, thinking about eating properly with a mindful approach can have a dramatic effect on gut health. Relaxing your body while you are eating will help with absorption, and your skin needs those nutrients to be absorbed efficiently, so, no more eating on-the-go! Instead, sit while you eat to allow blood flow to reach the stomach more efficiently. Take a few deep breaths before you eat, to get the body feeling more relaxed, and practise ‘mindful eating,’ which involves feeling gratitude for your food and focusing on chewing thoroughly. To enhance digestion, chew every mouthful 15 – 20 times. This stimulates digestive enzymes in the mouth which support the rest of the organs needed for the digestive process, leading to more efficient digestion.
How to Support Your Skin Microbiome
We’ve talked about the gut microbiome, but we need to address the skin’s ecosystem, too. The surface of the skin is home to at least a million bacteria, plus viruses, fungi, and MITES! Slightly disturbing, but these teeny-weeny guys are good for us. We need them, and there’s no way we can even see them without a powerful microscope. Taking care of your skin barrier means supporting your skin’s microbiome, as well as being a big trend in skincare at the moment, it’s something we’ve been talking about for years.
A strong skin barrier means skin is glowing, healthy, strong, and able to respond correctly to treatments and skincare. Products rich in antioxidants will support the skin’s barrier in a similar way to the antioxidants we need to consume for gut health. HydraCalm is a rich, soothing moisturiser that’s packed with calming ingredients and niacinamide to help strengthen the skin’s barrier. HydraRich includes ProBioBalance CLR™ NP and helps to rebalance the skin’s natural flora while antioxidants add free radical protection. Our broad-spectrum SPF shields the skin and microbiome from harmful UV rays and free radicals. Your takeaway – support your gut with all the tips we’ve discussed, combine with a personalised AlumierMD skincare regime and . . . hello skin goals!