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  • Writer's pictureDr. Alla Arutcheva

Skin appearance tightly connect to gastrointestinal health

Updated: Nov 1, 2019

Your skin is ultimately connected to other systems in your body: hormonal, gastrointestinal, immune, and brain. Imbalance in the body systems can all show up on your skin.

In this blog you will find out how highly skin health depend on your gastrointestinal (GI) health. Most people convince that skin issues are isolated in the skin, but many times they originate in the gut.

As interface organs gut and skin are closely related and have much in common. Both are immune and endocrine organs.

Gut and skin are massively colonized with different microbial communities through which the body communicates with its environment (O’Neil et al., 2016).

Proper functioning of both skin and gut is essential for the health and survival of the entire body.

GI problems that affect the skin

It is unsurprising that several gastrointestinal pathologies impact the skin (Table 1.)

Table 1. Conditions that primarily affect the gut also

have manifestations in the skin

Thus, people with skin issues should closely watch their GI symptoms.

The gut-skin axis

In health:

  • the gut and their microbial community (microbiota) produce metabolites, neurotransmitters, and hormones that can enter the circulation system and modify the skin.

  • dietary components can access the skin either directly or via processing in the gastrointestinal tract and by the microbiota.

  • The skin also produces chemicals that could modify the gut, such as vitamin D.

In disease:

  • Dysbiosis leads to the production of toxins that can escape from the gut along with bacteria through a leaky gut barrier and intoxicate the skin

  • The sluggish liver is not able to sufficiently process toxins and toxic metabolites and sets up a proinflammatory environment for the skin.

Does the gut microbiota have an impact on skin health?

What is microbiota? - the “virtual organ” consists of trillions of cells, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The most significant populations of microbes reside in the gut. Other popular habitats include the skin and genitals.

The gut microbiota has a huge immunological impact on other organ systems, including the skin.

The microbiota is essential for nutrition, immunity, and effects on the brain and behavior. It is implicated in a number of diseases that cause a disturbance in the normal balance of microbes.

In 1907, Metchnikoff postulated that health and longevity are intimately connected to the gut microbiota.

Studies in humans demonstrate that ingested probiotic bacteria can maintain cutaneous (skin) immune capacity and protect from damage.

The resident microbiota of the skin is also vital in maintaining skin immunity. Microbial products from skin normal flora have anti‐inflammatory effects. Protection from skin pathogens is a primary role of the skin itself, and then the gut. Thus, gut and skin must work together for optimum skin health.

Is intestinal dysbiosis observed in skin disease?

Gut bacteria can positively affect the skin health, and disturbances in the gut microbiota may directly impact on the skin. Gut dysbiosis, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) has been observed in conditions such as atopic dermatitis, rosacea, psoriasis, and acne.

How gut dysbiosis affects skin health:

1. Dysbiosis can cause leaky gut. The overgrowth of gut bacteria, their metabolites, toxins (LPS) could enter the circulation system via a disturbed gut barrier, and travel to the skin.

The DNA of gut bacteria is found circulating in the blood of patients with psoriasis (Ramírez‐Boscá A, et al, 2015).

LPS is found to be highly associated with acne.

2. Restriction of intestinal “good flora” associated with skin dehydration and reduction of the skin barrier property.

3. The liver normally captures gut bacteria and bacterial products. However, a weak liver allows intestinal bacteria to enter the systemic circulation and subsequently contribute to skin pathologies.

Dysbiosis of the skin is primarily related to gut dysbiosis (Gallo and Nakatsuji, 2011).

Diet influences skin health

Both diet and gastrointestinal disease impact on the skin. Dietary components regulate skin physiology.

Diet and acne

The best example of the link between diet and skin disease is acne vulgaris.

Epidemiological studies have provided good evidence that acne is associated with a high intake of carbohydrates and saturated fats typical of a western diet.

Diet and atopic dermatitis (eczema)

There is also a well‐known association between food allergy to nuts, eggs, dairy products and atopic dermatitis: atopic dermatitis generally precedes food allergy (Manam et al., 2014). In this context, a weak skin barrier is the key driver of food allergy.

Diet and ulcerative colitis

The study involving over 300,000 participants with ulcerative colitis (UC) showed that a diet loaded with high consumption of sugar and soft drinks and low consumption of vegetables was associated with a high risk of UC (Racine et al 2016). Conversely, diets high in fiber and low in carbohydrates such as the Mediterranean diet may have a protective role for whole body health.

Diet also influence both the skin microbiota and gut microbiota.

The gut and the skin tightly engage in intimate connections. People with skin issues should closely watch their


  • In case of leaky gut, it’s essential to cut out all gluten.

  • Minimize all processed carbs, starches, and added sugars in food – even gluten-

free products

  • Minimize dairy products

Certain supplements may help with your GI health and improve your skin condition.

First of all, it is probiotics formulations that help to repopulate your healthy microflora.

Skin care products containing probiotics can improve your skin microbiota and skin health.

At our Antalee Natural and Preventive Center, we can help you to identify the root cause of the skin problem, especially if it relates to an impaired GI tract. We will develop individual health protocol for your body and skin health.

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