Our skin microbiome is an extension to our gut microbiome and maintaining the proper balance is crucial for its function and appearance.
Even if you don’t have a lick of digestive woes (like bloating, intolerances, constipation, etc), you likely have an imbalance of gut bacteria if you are chronically dealing with skin problems such as acne or eczema.
This was the case for me – I thought I had solved all my digestion issues when I removed gluten, dairy and eggs (foods that came up as highly reactive on my food sensitivity test), but I still had constant acne. I took a stool test (more on this later) and found that I had some dysbiosis I needed to clear up in order to clear up the acne.
Internally, our digestive system contains a delicate balance of microorganisms that we obtain from childbirth. But as we age, this balance can become off kilter due to exposure to toxins, infections, antibiotics, poor food quality, and even medications that can negatively alter the species of bacteria in our gut.
Externally, your skin has a microbiome all to itself as well. When the ecosystem is balanced, your skin is protected from pathogens and promotes a healthy lipid barrier and immune system in case of a threat of infection. But when you have acne, your skin microbiome becomes disrupted, because of this, you will need to take an internal and external approach to address the dysbiosis.
Fixing Gut Dysbiosis
So how do we begin to balance our gut and skin microbiome? Here’s what to consider on top of a nourishing diet, plenty of sleep, and stress-managed lifestyle:
-Probiotics – these are gut-friendly bugs we need to consume in our diet that help foster the ecosystem in our gut. There isn’t much proof that eating or taking probiotics ‘inoculate’ our gut (meaning we eat them and they take root in our guts), but there is evidence that consuming these bugs on a regular basis help to create a balanced ecosystem as they pass through. It is best to find a probiotic that has up to 15 strains of Lacto-Bifido Blend, Saccharomyces Boulardii, and Soil-Based Probiotic. Many believe it is best to take a probiotic on an empty stomach, but research shows that taking them with a meal increases the rate of survival because of the lower stomach acid during a meal (Michael Greger M.D. FACLM)
-Prebiotics – foods that promote the growth and heath of the ‘good’ bacteria in your gut. These include dandelion greens, garlic, onions, leeks, inulin and chicory. Some probiotcs will contain prebiotics so check out the label – eating too much prebiotic fiber can cause gas and bloating, so you’ll want to increase slowly over time.
-Comprehensive Digestive Analysis Test – if you have extreme symptoms of nausea, bloating, gassiness, heartburn, constipation, or have been on multiple rounds of antibiotics then pre- and probiotics may not help because your gut is so far out of whack. In this case, seek out an integrative medicine doctor and ask if a stool test is right for you. With this test, you’ll determine if you have parasites, overgrowths, deficiencies of various bacteria. From there, your practitioner can give you specific herbal treatments to address the issue.
-pH Balance – The natural pH of the outside of our skin is mildly acidic ranging from a pH of 4-4.5, so what you put on your skin greatly affects its pH balance.Even water, with a pH of 6-7 can alkalize your skin and cause an imbalance so we recommend balancing with high-quality toners, cleansers, serums, and moisturizers that are a pH of 4.5 or below. Anything higher than that can cause infections, outbreaks, and premature aging! An oil that helps your skin balance its natural pH is Moroccan Argan oil. It’s non-comedogenic (non-clogging), rich in Vitamin E and fatty acids, anti-inflammatory, regenerative, and, as a bonus, can be used on your hair! You can also buy products that already have this in mind. For example, Beautycounter )which is my all time favorite skin and cosmetics company providing safer and cleaaner products for men, women, and family) has a toner to balance the surface of your skin to its appropriate pH.
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