Could your acne be a gut problem? It is well known that gut bacteria are important for your health. These bacteria digest your food, provide necessary nutrients and vitamins, train your immune system, and prevent bad bacteria from overgrowing and causing disease. What is less well-known, however, is that your gut health can also have an effect on your skin health!
Over 80 years ago, dermatologists, John H. Stokes and Donald M. Pillsbury, suggested a relationship between your gut bacteria, and your mental and skin health called the Gut-Brain-Skin axis. The Gut-Brain-Skin axis suggests stress and low fiber diets can lead to an imbalance in your microbiome allowing bad bacteria to outgrow the good bacteria in your gut. This leads to the release of toxins, which cause inflammation throughout the body. For people who are more susceptible to inflammatory skin diseases like acne, this release of toxins can cause worsen your acne.
Since the time of Stokes and Pillsbury, many scientists have further studied the proposed Gut-Brain-Skin axis. Trials have also shown that supplementing topical acne treatments with oral probiotics resulted in a greater reduction of acne lesions than when topical treatments were used alone. These findings support the hypothesis of Stokes and Pillsbury and suggests nutritional supplements and a healthy diet can be used to support skin health for acne sufferers.
Foods that could cause breakouts
Acne and breakouts can be associated with many different factors like sleep, stress, hormones, and diet. Generally, it is believed that dairy and foods with high glycemic indexes like white bread, rice, soda and added sugars can contribute to breakouts and worsen acne.
Acne Fighting Foods
There is less direct evidence as to what foods help prevent breakouts, however, foods high in vitamins and minerals, lean proteins, fiber, probiotics and healthy fats are all believed to aid in maintaining clear skin by reducing inflammation throughout the body. For vitamins and minerals, look for foods high in selenium, zinc, and vitamins like nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, meats and beans, which together supports immune system health, reduce inflammation, and provide antioxidants to neutralize free radicals and other inflammatory causing agents. Probiotic supplements containing gut-healthy strains like lactobacillus and bfidiobacteria directly add healthy bacteria back to your gut and foods high in fermentable fibers like whole grains and vegetables feed the good bacteria in your gut to make sure they thrive and stick around. These good gut microbes break down the fibers into nutrients and vitamins necessary for our health. Foods high in omega 3 fatty acids like fatty fishes, flaxseed, walnuts and avocados can also help lower the occurrence of acne by decreasing inflammation throughout the body.
If you have been struggling with inflammatory acne, taking probiotics and changing up your diet could be a helpful change to get one step closer to getting rid of your acne.