The secret to clear skin may actually lie in our gut. But for many people the ratio of good bacteria to bad is out of balance and as scientists research more into our gut bacteria we are beginning to see a link between the health of our gut and the health of other parts of our body. Our skin is actually our largest organ, so it’s not entirely surprising that problems in the gut can show up on our skin with conditions such as acne, eczema and rosacea becoming more common.
When bad bacteria begin to multiply in the gut it can cause something called ‘leaky gut’ which is pretty much exactly as it sounds. The gut wall becomes damaged, allowing harmful bacteria to leak out of the gut, enter the bloodstream and circulate around the body. Our immune system then attacks the foreign invader and this causes inflammation – both acne and rosacea are inflammatory conditions.
Two studies carried out on people with acne showed that over 60% of the two groups tested positive for lipopolysaccharide endotoxins (LPS), the bad bacteria released into the bloodstream when the person has a ‘leaky gut’.
Another study carried out in 2008 found that babies born without a wide variety of gut bacteria were more likely to develop eczema by the time they are 18 months old. And one year later a separate study found that children who ingested a daily probiotic were 58% less likely to develop eczema.
Whilst there are other factors to consider, including hygiene, diet, and lifestyle, it is safe to say that poor gut health does appear to have an effect on our skin, and by taking steps to improve the health of our gut microbes we may be able to see common and recurring skin complaints clear up.