Posted on Feb 23, 2023, 5 p.m.
Looking good and having healthy, supple skin is on everyone's wish list. To attain this goal, we are always in search of better products. But did you know that skin science is not just skin deep?
For our body to function correctly, a lot of different, complex systems must work together. They are interdependent.
What if you were told that depression, digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis are interrelated?
Don't be surprised. It is true.
Most skin disorders result from emotional and psychological stressors or imbalances in the gut. Researchers have found a strong connection between the skin, stomach, and brain, referred to as the gut-brain-skin axis.
Every month Dermatologists see hundreds of patients with skin disorders at their clinic.
Other underlying issues typically determine the root cause of the problem.
When you previously saw a dermatologist, they hardly ever inquired about your stress levels or gut health, but thankfully, times have changed.
Unless the gut issues are not addressed, it is not feasible to completely fix the skin and mood disorder.
Or, to put it another way, gastrointestinal disorders frequently result in skin and brain issues. And as you are aware, a fundamental tenet of functional medicine is to, whenever possible, address the underlying cause of a condition.
Research regarding the gut-brain-skin axis
The idea that the gut, brain, and skin are interconnected has been debated for decades; it was first advanced by dermatologists John H. Stokes and Donald M. Pillsbury in the 1930s. It is now getting the respect and legitimacy it deserves.
They connected changes in gut flora to mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, which they believed promoted local and systemic inflammation.
They found a strong correlation between dermatitis, urticaria outbreaks, cutaneous erythema, and bacterial composition in the gastrointestinal tract.
Their research indicates that 40% of acne sufferers have low stomach acids.
This suggested that changes in the gut flora brought on by stress may raise the chance of intestinal permeability, which may cause both local and systemic inflammation.
More than 2000 years ago, Hippocrates asserted that "all disease begins in the gut." Not to mention Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, which have always focused on gut health.
So now, let's delve deeper into the gut-skin axis.
The importance of gut health to maintaining overall health, including the health of our skin, immune system, hormone balance, inflammatory response, brain function, and mood regulation, has recently received much attention. New studies also continue to support this notion.
The gut-skin axis suggests a direct link between these two physiological systems. They are home to trillions of tiny microbes—many beneficial, but some not so much—who communicate with your cells and each other to support a healthy microbiome.
For the duration of the body, the stomach communicates with other systems to maintain balance. When it detects distress, it activates a body-wide alarm that results in inflammation.
Acute inflammation is a necessary and normal reaction to safeguard our systems from harm. However, chronic inflammation is not what we want.
It implies that your body is constantly hyperaroused and never at rest, which can lead to several autoimmune disorders, pain, and skin conditions.
The skin is the only organ seen with the unaided eye, making it the ideal place to begin when determining how the rest of the body is doing.
Skin conditions like acne, sensitivity, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and melasma are symptoms of an internal imbalance that shows on the outside.
According to research, people who suffer from rosacea are ten times more likely to develop small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Dermatitis and celiac disease are closely related.
Stress-related breakouts are not a direct result of how stress affects the skin; instead, they are a consequence of the potential harm that stress may cause to the stoic bacteria in our digestive tract.
Our gut, brain, and skin health are impacted by the food we eat. However, because food is a personal choice, no diet is best for everyone.
You also worry too much about what diet to eat, which can be even more harmful because stress worsens inflammation and agitation.
Recognize your body and yourself. Pay attention to the things that give you a sense of well-being, vigor, joy, and comfort. And keep in mind to drink enough water to stay hydrated.
How do products help?
We must also take care of the microbes and cells on our skin surface. They can be messed up by harsh products, damaging cells and interfering with oil formation and moisture barrier.
The aim is to achieve balance, just as in our internal body. Please make sure you are hydrated and nourished while cleaning and refining pores without overly depleting the skin of its natural oils. Topical nutrients work wonders for our cells, which also need protection.
When addressing your skin troubles, it is crucial to consider all elements of well-being. Your skin's health depends on maintaining a dependable skincare routine and supporting your gut and brain health. It would help if you healed from within to glow on the outside.
This article was written for WHN by Pankaj S. who is the Co-founder and CEO at ClinicSpots. A serial entrepreneur, Pankaj is a passionate Content Creator and Content Marketer. He has more than 15 years of diverse experience in healthcare, entrepreneurship, business, and product development. His creation, ClinicSpots, is a digital health company that empowers users (patients) to find doctors and envisions creating the world's next Medical Quora.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.
Content may be edited for style and length.
References/Sources/Materials provided by:
- Bowe, W. P., & Logan, A. C. (2011). Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis - back to the future?. Gut Pathogens, 3(1), 1-11. doi: 10.1186/1757-4749-3-1
- De Palma, G., Capilla, A., & Roca, M. (2013). The Gut-Brain-Skin Axis in the Pathophysiology of Acne Vulgaris. Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 6(3), 18-24.
- Selmer, T., & Andreassen, H. (2021). Dermatitis herpetiformis and celiac disease. Tidsskrift for den Norske laegeforening: tidsskrift for praktisk medicin, ny raekke, 141(5), 470-470. doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.21.0118