Ever wondered how your gut—a system buried so deep inside of your body—could possibly have an impact on your skin? While it sounds unlikely, this is the question scientists are now setting out to answer.
With a plethora of new research emerging, the gut-skin connection is a hot topic within the worlds of dermatology and gastroenterology alike. And while we don’t have all of the answers just yet, this much is certain: your gastrointestinal tract really does have the power to transform your skin! To use this relationship to your advantage and cultivate a glowing complexion, it pays to have a basic understanding of the incredible world hidden within the walls of your digestive system, also known as your “gut microbiome”.
What is the gut microbiome?
Previously known as your gut flora, your gut microbiome is a diverse community of microorganisms that inhabit your large intestine. While communities of bacteria are also present on the surface of your skin (known as the skin microbiome) and in small amounts within your small intestine, your colon is the environment of choice for these health-boosting bugs.
With you from the moment of birth, your gut microbiome is as unique as your fingerprints! Starting with around 1000 different microbial species in early infancy, your gut microbiome continues to change and develop throughout childhood. But how do the masses of microorganisms camping out in your gut have an impact on your complexion? And can you really improve the state of skin by boosting your gut health? Let’s find out...
What is the gut-skin axis?
Responsible for far more than the digestion of your dinner, your gut microbiome also shares a profound connection with your skin. Known as the “gut-skin axis”, this intimate relationship is thought to function in two distinct ways. The first and most well-established form of communication takes place via the immune system. Studies show that the microbes in your gut work to regulate inflammation and maintain skin homeostasis (aka balance) by modulating the immune system. Notably, a more direct link between your gut and your skin also exists. When your intestinal barrier is compromised, the microbes in your gut (along with some of their waste products) can pass into the bloodstream, causing disruptions to your skin microbiome, the delicate balance of bugs living on its surface.
As your first form of protection from the outside world, your skin microbiome has an important role to play in keeping you healthy and well, namely by preventing the invasion and growth of pathogenic bacteria and reducing inflammation. When it’s disrupted, due an unhealthy gut microbiome or external environmental triggers (such as sun exposure, blue light or pollution), your skin health takes a hit. In one study, researchers found that people with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) are 13 times more likely to have rosacea, while SIBO itself is ten times more prevalent in people with acne. And just in case we needed any more proof, two separate studies published in 2008 and 2012 found that reduced microbial diversity in infants is associated with the development of eczema early on in life. In short, paying attention to your gut health is essential for a clear and radiant complexion.
How to develop a healthy gut microbiome for glowing skin?
A healthy gut is defined by the diversity of microbes residing within it, while an unhealthy gut is a common occurrence in people suffering from disease and chronic skin conditions like eczema. So, how do we go about improving the diversity of health-boosting bugs in our gut? The answer is simple: diet! Eating fibrous plant foods that are rich in prebiotics and probiotics has a positive impact on microbial diversity, which is often reflected in a clear and calm complexion.
Taking a targeted probiotic supplement, like our Beauty Restore or Ayurvedic Beauty Powder, is also an effective way to ensure you’re supporting the community of microbes residing in your gastrointestinal tract. Unlike probiotic pills with only one or two different types of probiotic bacteria, our inner beauty products contain a unique blend of eight different probiotic strains to promote microbial diversity. And as we’ve seen, microbial diversity is associated with better health outcomes across the board! What’s more, both our inner beauty formulas also contain our exclusive Ayurvedic Beauty Blend™—a synergistic combination of adaptogenic ingredients like ashwagandha, holy basil, amla berry and turmeric. Used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, these powerful plant foods help to support the body’s stress response. For added skin-boosting benefits, Beauty Restore also contains pomegranate fruit extract, a potent source of the anti-ageing molecule, urolithin A, as well as elderberry, a rich source of vitamin C, which is essential for collagen synthesis. For added prebiotic power, combine your daily dose of Beauty Restore with a teaspoon of our Ayurvedic Beauty Powder. Containing inulin, a type of prebiotic dietary fibre, as well as nutrient-rich wholefoods like acerola cherry, red algae and schisandra berry, this nourishing vegan blend helps to feed your gut microbes and nourish your skin from within.
Curious about what else you can do to boost your belly? While the food you eat has the most profound impact on the state of your microbiome, there are plenty of other things you can do to improve your gut health, and by extension, cultivate a radiant complexion.
Head to our blog to find out more!