Does gut health affect skin?

Health Tips

At first glance, our skin and our digestive system may seem like two separate entities. However, there is growing evidence that there is a connection between the two, often referred to as the “gut-skin axis”. In fact, some scientists suggest that an imbalanced gut microbiome, or community of microbes in the digestive tract, may be linked to skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema.

“We are truly entering a new era in medicine as we begin to unravel the relationship between gut health and disease,” said Dr. Brooke Jeffy, (Opens in a new tab) member of the American Academy of Dermatology. “In dermatology, it has become increasingly clear that there is a relationship between certain conditions and foods. But this is a relatively new idea. Just 10 years ago, we were taught that any relationship between foods and dermatological conditions was minimal at best. I think we will see a shift in the approach to treating chronic inflammatory skin conditions, with a focus on gut health in the coming years.”

So how exactly does gut health affect the skin? That’s what science has told us so far about the so-called gut-skin axis.

At first glance, our skin and our digestive system may seem like two separate entities. However, there is growing evidence that there is a connection between the two, often referred to as the “gut-skin axis”. In fact, some scientists suggest that an imbalanced gut microbiome, or community of microbes in the digestive tract, may be linked to skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema.

“We are truly entering a new era in medicine as we begin to unravel the relationship between gut health and disease,” said Dr. Brooke Jeffy, (Opens in a new tab) member of the American Academy of Dermatology. “In dermatology, it has become increasingly clear that there is a relationship between certain conditions and foods. But this is a relatively new idea. Just 10 years ago, we were taught that any relationship between foods and dermatological conditions was minimal at best. I think we will see a shift in the approach to treating chronic inflammatory skin conditions, with a focus on gut health in the coming years.”

So how exactly does gut health affect the skin? That’s what science has told us so far about the so-called gut-skin axis.

Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic condition characterized by recurring periods of redness and pimples around the face. Many different environmental and genetic factors trigger flare-ups of this disease, with gut health appearing to play a particularly important role.

According to a 2021 review in the journal Advances in Therapy (opens in a new tab), rosacea has been linked to several gastrointestinal conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

“Rosacea patients are more likely to have something called an overgrowth of the small intestine,” Farris said. “In this condition, there is an overgrowth of certain bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori, which can contribute to rosacea symptoms, including redness and inflammation.”

According to a 2018 study in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases (Opens in a new tab), this particular bacterium can stimulate the immune system to produce a host of inflammatory mediators, leading to the onset and worsening of inflammation of the rosacea.

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