How to heal your skin.
If you want to heal your skin you have to heal your gut.
The skin is our largest organ in the body and it has the vital role of protecting our insides from the outside world. When skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, premature aging and dermatitis occur, it usually indicates that there is something else that is out of balance in the body. These conditions are really just a symptom of this imbalance.
Over 80 years ago dermatologists first proposed that there was a gastrointestinal link between skin conditions, anxiety, and depression. They thought high stressed states altered intestinal microflora, thus increasing intestinal permeability which lead to systemic and local skin inflammation. It turns out that they were right and the theory of the gut-skin axis was developed1.
In today’s modern world we are faced with so many factors that can disrupt our gut function. When learning how to heal your skin we need to focus on healing the gut. We also need to remove the factors that are contributing to poor gut health.
Science is confirming the gut-skin link with recent studies. One such indicating that small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is 10 times more prevalent in those suffering acne rosacea compared to healthy controls. Patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have a significant increase in skin manifestations. Other studies have shown that adolescents with acne are more likely to suffer from bloating, constipation, halitosis, and reflux2.
Many skin conditions, including acne vulgaris, acne rosacea, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, have increased inflammatory or immune activity, with links to dysbiosis or increased gut pathogen overgrowth. Celiac disease patients also have skin conditions, such as dermatitis herpetiformis, which occurs in 1/4 of celiac sufferers. Celiacs also have increased frequency of oral mucosal lesions, alopecia, and vitiligo.
With all the new information emerging about the role of the gut microbiome on our health, we are really starting to confirm long-standing beliefs about healing your skin by healing your gut.
The health of your gut microbiome will determine the health of your skin.
Our gut flora can influence tissue fatty acids, and this may in turn influence sebum (oil) production in the skin. When our gut is not in optimal health, inflammatory markers are produced by the body. In simple terms, this leads to systemic inflammation, and with most skin conditions, inflammation is a major driver.
Optimal digestion is essential for breaking down and absorbing nutrients. It is these nutrients that permeate our cells and determine our health. Literally, we are what we eat. You can have the best diet in the world, but if your gut is not in optimal health then you may be missing out on the vital nutrients that you are eating.
Anyone who has suffered from any skin conditions has most likely tried every pill, potion or lotion available. What they may not have tried is to look deeper into the body and to heal the gut. One thing that really separates naturopathic medicine from modern medicine is that we do not compartmentalize the body. Naturopathic medicine goes beyond the presenting symptom to look for the root cause, whatever body system that it may be lurking in. This is exactly what needs to be done when trying to heal your skin.
Simple Steps for Healthy Skin
Minimize the following
- Processed food
- Fermented foods to encourage a diverse range of beneficial bacteria. This includes kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso and tempeh.
- Essential fatty acids. Include fatty fish, flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds in your diet.
- Collagen rich foods. The best source of collagen is bone broth.
- Enzyme rich foods to support digestion and reduce inflammation. This includes papaya, kiwi and pineapple.
- Fresh seasonal vegetables for optimal nutrient intake.
If you are ready to finally get to the root of your skin concerns, send me an email and we can get started on your journey to clear, healthy skin.