The skin is the largest and most external barrier of the body that interacts with the outer environment. It is populated with immune cells and microbial cells, which in turn train the immune cells and can influence your skin health.
Increasing evidence has demonstrated a bidirectional link between the gut and skin, our gut talks to our skin and vice versa. This is known as the gut-skin axis.
An unbalanced gut microbiome is associated with an altered immune response which is associated with skin disorders including eczema, acne and psoriasis. Therefore, looking after our gut microbiome has been suggested as a target to improve our skin.
How can I support this relationship?
Recent research has suggested that live friendly bacteria can support skin health. However, there is yet to be a specific bacterial strain or blend that is currently recommended for your skin. We recommend trying a multi-strain friendly bacteria supplement with added fibre that can help support your gut microbiome and overall health. We recommend trying a friendly bacteria supplement for at least 4 weeks before noticing a benefit.
Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are produced by the fermentation of fibre from our gut bacteria, demonstrate a protective role against the development of inflammatory skin disorders including eczema and psoriasis. In order to increase the production of SCFAs, it's important to eat plenty of fibre. Fibre is a type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods including fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains (e.g., wholemeal bread and cereals).
Studies have also shown an interesting connection between pregnancy and the development of eczema. Research has shown that taking a friendly bacteria supplement during pregnancy has shown to reduce the risk of eczema in the infant. If you have a family history of skin disorders, including eczema, you might want to consider taking a friendly bacteria supplement during pregnancy. Generally, friendly bacteria supplements contain natural ingredients that are safe to use during pregnancy however, we would advise consulting with your GP or midwife before introducing a friendly bacteria supplement when trying to conceive or when pregnant.
About 60 tons of food is estimated to pass through your gut in a lifetime, all of which have an impact on human health, including our skin. Therefore, it is important to support our skin health through what we are eating. Check our guides and resources on What to eat for your skin here.
Exposure to sunshine to your skin can help increase gut microbiome diversity so make sure you enjoy some time outdoors! However, it is also important to remember that the sunshine can also damage your skin so if you’re spending significant amount of time outdoors, remember to wear SPF.
Food allergies and intolerances can also be related to certain skin disorders. If you suspect you have an allergy or intolerance, we recommend keeping a food and symptom diary and visiting your GP.
If you are struggling with your skin health, we recommend consulting your GP or a dermatologist to help identify any underlying causes.
Salem, I., Ramser, A., Isham, N. and Ghannoum, M., 2018. The Gut Microbiome as a Major Regulator of the Gut-Skin Axis. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9.
Szántó, M., Dózsa, A., Antal, D., Szabó, K., Kemény, L. and Bai, P., 2019. Targeting the gut‐skin axis—Probiotics as new tools for skin disorder management?. Experimental Dermatology, 28(11), pp.1210-1218.
De Pessemier, B., Grine, L., Debaere, M., Maes, A., Paetzold, B. and Callewaert, C., 2021. Gut–Skin Axis: Current Knowledge of the Interrelationship between Microbial Dysbiosis and Skin Conditions. Microorganisms, 9(2), p.353.