The Gut Skin Connection. Got acne, eczema or psoriasis? Many teenagers suffer from acne eczema and psoriasis; however, a significant number of adults complain about this as well. Acne is the most common skin condition and affects 85% of people at some point in life. All 3 conditions can have many causes and it tends to occur more often during times of hormonal changes and not just in teenagers. Teenagers are most prone to acne, eczema and psoriasis because their hormones are ramping up and not yet regulated. Perimenopausal and menopausal women also have a tendency for acne because their hormones are ramping down and are dysregulated. Twenty percent of perimenopausal women will have an increase in testosterone that can produce acne. Teenage boys are very prone to acne due to testosterone ramping up. These hormones can be measured and regulated and gut health plays a significant role.
However, there are other factors that play a large role in skin health and that is your microbiome. The skin houses moisture and is the home to around 1,000 species of bacteria. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the Microbiome project to study microorganisms that live in and on us and their effect on human health and disease. Your gut also has a microbiome and the type of organisms you have can have a profound effect on your health. When you have bacteria, viruses, yeast, parasites, toxins, or undigested food in your gut, it can cause chronic inflammation, affect your immune system and show up on your skin!
It is fascinating that this microscopic world that we can’t see can affect our skin and overall health. To find out what is living in your gut and if it is causing harm, I like to do a DNA evaluation of stool. It can tell you whether or not you have enough good organism to keep your gut healthy if you have any harmful organisms and whether or not they are causing inflammation, and if you have enough digestive enzymes and good immune function so you can kill and fight bacteria that don’t belong there.
A healthy diet, digestive enzymes, probiotics, herbs to kill bad microbes and making sure bowel movements are regular is the best way to clear up skin. Sugar, processed foods, and dairy tend to be a major influence on gut health since they feed the microbiome that causes inflammation. Some foods are hard to digest such as corn, eggs, soy and wheat and they also cause inflammation. Many parents bring their college students to me to help them. They do an elimination diet to figure out what foods are the triggers. Their children report that once they removed the trigger, their skin clears up. It is amazing that something so simple can help. This is not just for teenagers with acne, adults with various types of skin condition especially eczema, psoriasis and acne clears up as well when you eliminate foods that trigger inflammation.
It is easy to remove the most offending foods for two weeks. Then add them back in one at a time to see which ones cause inflammation. Everyone is different. Sometimes there are other factors such as chronic infection or hormonal issues. However, it is best to seek the advice of a functional medicine doctor to find the root cause. Your skin can be healthy and glowing.
Dr. Maita is a recognized and award-winning holistic, functional and anti-aging physician and author. She transforms people’s lives by getting to the root cause of illness using the best of science and nature. Her approach is personalized, precision medicine where you are treated as the unique individual you are.