Bad skin? Your gut microbiome could be to blame

·3-min read
Bad skin? Your gut microbiome could be to blame

Anyone who regularly struggles with blemishes, neurodermatitis, acne or other skin conditions should take note of the trillions of bacteria in their intestinal flora.

Scientific studies show that blemishes and skin conditions can be linked to an imbalance in the gut microbiome because the intestinal flora, the immune system and the skin all communicate with each other via the 'gut-skin axis', and influence each other as a result. This is why pimples are particularly common after eating sugary or fatty foods.

Research has shown that intestinal bacteria produce important substances that influence the entire body, including the skin. For example, they produce the important fatty acid butyrate, which has a positive effect on the condition of the skin, while the composition of the intestinal flora also influences the skin’s thickness.

"The number of protective bacteria inhabiting our intestines depends firstly on our diet and the intake of harmful substances such as alcohol or nicotine," explains Pharmacist Plamena Dikarlo, Manager Research & Development at biotechnology company BIOMES. "However, amount of sleep, exercise, stress, illness and medication can also have an impact. Too little of one or too much of the other could result in unwanted substances entering the bloodstream and making their way from there into the skin."

To strengthen your intestinal flora and improve the appearance of your skin, Dikarlo has given us the following tips:

Choose spices over salt and sugar

When it comes to salt, the following applies to a gut-friendly diet: less is more. Sugar and flavour enhancers should be avoided if possible. Instead, it is better to experiment with spices. In particular, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, rosemary and turmeric have been shown to promote beneficial intestinal bacteria.

Eat less meat

Too much meat can lead to a poor ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, which can increase inflammation in the body. Fish is a good alternative because it is rich in valuable omega-3 fatty acids and moisturises the skin. A vegetarian lifestyle is also very beneficial for a strengthened microbiome and clear skin.

Eat more dietary fibres

Fibre is found predominantly in plant-based foods such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts. They should be a regular part of the diet. They are very beneficial for good digestion but can also bind up to 100 times their own weight in water.

Stay well supplied with micronutrients

Fruit and vegetables not only provide us with fibre but are also important sources of nutrients. In particular, the polyphenols found in vegetables and fruits such as olives or grapes strengthen the vessels, including those of the skin. In addition, they promote the diversity of the intestinal microbiome. Vitamin C supports healthy collagen formation for normal skin function.

Sport and exercise

Exercising regularly also has positive effects on the skin because sport not only supports a healthy intestinal flora, but also promotes blood circulation and thus helps the important nutrients reach the skin. If you're able to build up muscle tissue, this will tighten the skin's surface.

In previous studies, targeted intake of bacterial cultures with the help of a probiotic was also able to restore the balance of the intestinal bacteria and measurably improve the condition of the skin in the people studied.

Dr. Paul Hammer, CEO at BIOMES, recommends: "When taking food supplements, it is advisable to determine the ratio of bacteria in the intestine beforehand because an excess of a certain strain of bacteria can have an unfavourable effect. A DNA analysis of the intestinal bacteria, such as the BIOMES home gut health test, provides information about what your own intestine is lacking and how to make it up."

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