How A Healthy Gut = Healthier Skin
Been hearing a bit about the gut-skin axis recently and not sure what it’s all about? Then allow us to elaborate…
When searching for the solution to monthly acne breakouts, eczema flare-ups or bouts of rosacea few people think about what’s going on inside their bodies. But rather than stock up on months of prescription medication to deal with your skin issues, word is that taking a look at your gut health could be far more beneficial.
It’s all about the gut-skin axis, you see. The gut-skin, erm, what? Ha, don’t worry, the gut-skin axis is a relatively simple concept to grasp.
Your gut is home to a complex microbiome in which gazillions of microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses live. We know this doesn’t sound pleasant, but your microbiome plays an extremely important role in keeping bad bacteria at bay and therefore keeping your immune system in check. And all this is vital for helping to maintain balance and harmony throughout the entire body.
If this microbiome becomes unbalanced due to things like a poor diet, emotional stress, or food sensitivities, however, this can cause major disruptions in your body. And we’re not just talking about digestive issues like bloating or gastrointestinal diseases, because wherever there is gut inflammation, skin inflammation often follows.
Why is your skin affected by your gut, you might be wondering? Well, just like your gut, your skin has its own microbiome and the two are in constant communication with each other via a clever little pathway called the gut-skin axis. This means that when your gut is off kilter, your skin will, more often than not, reflect this, becoming inflamed, irritated or congested. Eating dairy, for example, is often linked to chronic skin issues like eczema. Wheat is another one that’s known to cause sensitivities and congestion, thereby triggering acne.
Reckon your gut could do with a little self-refinement right now? Here’s how to help improve the health of your gut… and consequently, your skin.
1. Get An Allergy Test
The most effective way to figure out what’s upsetting your gut and skin is to get an allergy test. Sure, you can do this at home by keeping a food diary while eliminating some of the main offenders (here’s looking at you dairy, wheat, gluten and spicy foods), but, jeez, do you really have the time, energy and patience? Thought not.
A better option is to visit a specialist to get a food allergy test. There are many ways to go about this but the most common are skin prick tests and blood tests. Both of these are very useful ways to pinpoint what’s causing you grief. Then you can avoid the culprits. Simple.
2. Cut Down On Sugar
While we would never suggest you remove things like dairy and wheat from your diet without consulting a doctor or allergist first, one thing you should be extremely wary of is sugar. With zero nutritional value, sugar is dastardly for your gut and even worse for your skin, triggering everything from acne and eczema to rosacea and psoriasis. In fact, sugar is probably the most inflammatory thing you could put into your body. Eek.
Furthermore, studies show that overloading your body with sugar produces advanced glycation end products (AGEs) – harmful compounds that break down collagen and elastin and ruin your radiant, youthful complexion.
Sugar is officially bad news, whichever way you look at it.
3. Eat Plenty Of The Good Stuff
A healthy diet is everything, so once you’ve eliminated anything that’s causing your gut grief, it’s time to indulge in all the good stuff. Fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, beans, healthy fats and lean protein are all awesome ways to support the wall of your gut.
And then there are those extra special foods that help promote good bacteria in your gut, and of course your skin as a consequence. These are called biotics – namely prebiotics and probiotics.
Biotics help balance your microbiome by literally flooding it with good bacteria. Prebiotics help encourage the growth of healthy bacteria that’s already present in your gut and can be found in things like asparagus, artichokes, garlic, leeks, bananas and oats. Meanwhile, probiotics are microorganisms in their own right and are found in cultured and fermented food like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, miso and live yogurt.
4. Minimize Stress
When you’re stressed out your brain goes into fight or flight mode and triggers your nervous system to release a whole bunch of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream. This causes your heart to pump faster, your breath to quicken and your muscles to tense and get ready for action.
Of course, this is pretty useful when your body needs to react quickly to something, but the problems arise when stress hormones go into constant overdrive and your body gets no time to relax or go back to normal. This plays havoc with your gut (among other things!), compromising the balance of its microbiome, ‘feeding’ the bad bacteria and causing major problems with your digestion and immune system.
All this will reflect very poorly on the look, feel and health of your skin so try to cut down on stress wherever you can. This may be easier said than done, but there are many ways to reduce or manage your levels of stress. Some people find that yoga or exercise works. Others keep a stress journal to figure out what’s causing their stress in order to avoid their triggers and help them work on controlling their reactions. The most important thing, according to HelpGuide, is to experiment with different stress management tips to find what works for you.
Once your gut is in a more healthy working order, trust us, your skin will start to follow suit.
And in the meantime, ensure you’re doing everything you can to keep it clean, strong, protected and moisturized with your TruSkin favorites! Here’s how to build a successful skincare regime, right here.