Have you heard of the gut-skin axis?

The pathogenesis of acne is complex and involves several factors including genetics, metabolic and hormonal changes. 

The strong relationship between the gut and the skin is a fairly new area when it comes to acne progression and severity with  research finding that acne development can be due to the loss of microbial diversity in the skin. The presence of gut dysbiosis alongside a lack of beneficial bacteria has been reported in individuals with inflammatory skin conditions including acne.

Stress, depression and anxiety may be present alongside acne and can contribute to further alterations in the gut microbiota which could potentially cause skin inflammation and trigger more breakouts. 

The good thing is that there are things we can do to improve the diversity of the microbiota. 

1.     Probiotics help restoring and balance the microbiome and probiotics rich foods have shown to have a positive effect on the gut bacteria. Probiotics have a number of bacterial strains available but the two that have reported to be the most effective for skin health, including acne, are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. 

When it comes to supplements, there is a huge number of different formulas around so speak to your nutritional therapist before starting a new supplemental regime. 

There are however foods that are rich in probiotics such as miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir and tempeh. I personally love adding sauerkraut in salads. It adds a lot of flavour and can make a basic salad much more interesting. 

2.     Prebiotics are types of fibre that can only be digested in the lower digestive tract and they promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. Think of prebiotics as food for the gut microbiota. Prebiotics are found in foods such as onions, artichokes, whole grains, asparagus and garlic. 

3.     In addition to probiotics and prebiotics, it is important to consume enough fibre and the best source comes from fruit, vegetables and legumes. Fibre is crucial for our gut health and can help prevent constipation. Regular bowel movement is crucial when it comes to excreting toxins and used hormones. If this is not done regularly, these by-products will then be reabsorbed into the body and will have a negative effect on your skin and hormone health. 

4.     Exercise has positive effects on all aspects of health including the gut microbiome. A moderate exercise regime has shown to impact the gut microbiota by improving diversity and enhance number of beneficial bacteria whilst reducing inflammation and intestinal permeability. 

5.     There are also certain foods that should be avoided as they could negatively influence the microbiome such as alcohol, sugar and processed foods.

The gut-skin axis shows how complex the body is and why looking at specific symptoms in isolation won’t address the root cause. Taking a course of antibiotics MIGHT reduce the acne temporarily but if gut health is the reason for the breakouts, the acne will most likely come back shortly after the course has come to an end. 

Working together will allow you to explore the holistic approach to optimal health and allow you to understand WHY you are experiencing the presenting symptoms in addition to healing them. 

If you want to know how my services can help, reach out to book in a free 15 min consultation.

Ellen Sorlen

Founder and Owner of Nourish with Ellen

I’m Ellen, a fully qualified, insured and registered nutritional therapist with over 200 clinical hours. I strongly believe we need to nourish our bodies to flourish as individuals. Balance and moderation are the keys to a happy and healthy life and this is something I value and make sure are applied to the work I do with my clients.

Nutrition is so much more than just the food we eat, it’s about how we eat, our relationship with food but also with ourselves. It’s about lifestyle choices, mindset and purpose.My mission is to find what works for YOU and your individual circumstances. Get in touch to find out how I can help you take control over your health.

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