Acne and Your Gut

You're a grown up. You have a job, a car, a home, a couple of kids, and… acne!?!? How is that fair? Could it be that an unhealthy gut is causing you to break out like a teenager? The short answer is this: there is research that suggests gut health may be linked to acne and oil production, but there just aren't a ton of reliable clinical studies to support that particular claim. Here's what I know, I have worked on acne patients for 23 years. Histologically I know what causes acne, but I also know that not all acne is borne in the skin. Some acne comes from imbalances in the body.

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All of the systems of the human body are connected, and when one area is unhealthy or out of balance, it stands to reason that other systems will be affected. From that perspective, it is my feeling that the microbiome of the gut (bacteria and fungi living in the gastrointestinal tract) is absolutely connected to not only skin health, but whole body health. Again, there is very little reliable research singularly about acne and gut health. In fact, all the articles that I have found online were published by companies selling supplemental nutrition products claiming to restore the gut's health (and they may, I am not an expert in this area) . That doesn't mean it's bogus information, it just means that nobody has found a great financial reason to research it further. Despite that, common sense and a basic understanding of the human body tells me that gut health most assuredly affects skin health. What does that mean for your diet?

Drawing upon experience, I can say with great certainty that eating excessive amounts of greasy fast food or sugary treats and chocolate might cause obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure, but it will not cause acne. That's not to say a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water are not important for good skin health and balance in the gut. These things are, in fact, integral. The healthier your diet, the more balanced your systems will be, and that will reflect in your skin. Reducing inflammation in the body with healthy eating and drinking habits is a great way to calm acne and improve overall skin health. Probiotics are also a great way to balance flora in the intestinal tract. Probiotics are “good” bacteria that: support healthy gut function and digestive health, support healthy immune system function, and support normal microflora in the gut. They have metabolic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties useful in maintaining holistic whole body wellness. Gut microbiome converts food to essential nutrients which are vital in all body functions. This includes your skin's ability to shed dead skin cells and manage Propionibacterium which is largely responsible for chronic acne vulgaris. Probiotics also attach to the mucous membrane of the digestive tract and improve gut immune system capabilities which affect your ability to heal acne flare ups. Do your research though, not all probiotics are created equally. Starting with a healthy diet is always advisable though, so put down that cheesesteak and have a salad full of leafy greens instead. Your glowing skin will thank you!

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