Skin health is related to gut health

Intestines & skin

True beauty comes from within: at least when it comes to the skin, this old adage seems to be right. Because according to current studies, our intestinal bacteria are also involved in skin health.

Gut & skin: how are they related?

Often a look in the face reveals whether someone has been good to themselves lately. Regardless of whether we ate unhealthily, slept little or smoked a lot: you can usually tell by looking at our skin. It then appears pale, sallow and somehow tired, prone to pimples or is dry and tight.

But it is not only our general living habits that leave traces on our skin: the condition of the intestines can apparently also have an impact on skin health. For example, changes in the intestinal flora (microbiotics) and the intestinal barrier were found in many patients with skin diseases. And there are also interactions with the psyche.

Some researchers even speak of a possible “gut-brain-skin axis” in this context. They refer to a connection that is suspected between the psyche, the intestines and the skin. As a result, there is a chain of reactions when there are skin problems:

  • Psychological factors such as stress put a strain on the intestinal flora
  • An unhealthy diet weakens the intestinal flora (additionally)
  • The intestinal barrier becomes more permeable for foreign substances and germs
  • More inflammatory substances and free radicals are released
  • Skin problems are triggered. The skin aging is accelerated.
    Acute flare-ups occur in people with skin diseases.
    Skin problems put a strain on the psyche - the vicious circle starts all over again (especially with skin diseases)

Good to know: The connection between psyche, intestines and skin seems to be much clearer in people with skin diseases than in healthy people. The exact relationships have not yet been fully recorded and require further research.

Intestinal flora & skin diseases

What many do not know: Skin diseases are often very closely related to changes in the natural intestinal flora. Scientific studies have shown that patients with chronic skin diseases such as rosacea, neurodermatitis and psoriasis often have dysbiosis:

  • For neurodermatitis (so-called atopic dermatitis) it is a false reaction of the immune system, which is directed against harmless foreign substances. Often there is a hereditary predisposition. Whether this ultimately leads to the onset of the disease obviously also depends on our intestinal flora. Researchers have studied the intestinal flora of babies. In fact, it later turned out that neurodermatitis sufferers lacked “good” intestinal bacteria such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in the first few months of their lives. Instead, “bad” germs such as clostridia, Escherichia coli and staphylococci spread early on in their intestines.
    Good to know: The current study situation also suggests that taking probiotics could counteract the development of neurodermatitis.
  • Rosacea Like neurodermatitis, it is a disease in which the immune system is misdirected. Recent studies have shown that rosacea patients often have an overgrowth of colon bacteria in the small intestine. In many cases, accompanying symptoms are gas, bloating and other intestinal problems.
  • In patients with acne the intestinal flora is also frequently changed - for example, there are fewer good lactobacilli in their intestines than in people with healthy skin. In addition, they seem to be more likely to suffer from constipation.
  • In patients with psoriasis among other things, inflammatory processes in the intestine can be detected. As a result, the intestinal barrier becomes more permeable, which means that the intestinal flora is out of balance more quickly. The resulting inflammatory processes in the body could in turn fuel the skin disease and thus lead to acute attacks.

Good to know: It is now known that skin diseases are often associated with a disturbed intestinal flora - but numerous other factors play a role in the development of psoriasis, neurodermatitis and the like. It is therefore not yet possible to say exactly how exactly the mechanisms of action are or what is the cause and what is the consequence.

Support the intestinal flora: this is how it works

Those who strengthen their intestinal flora are also doing something for their skin. In order for our useful intestinal bacteria to feel good and to multiply diligently, they need the right food. The tiny ones love soluble fiber (so-called prebiotics), which can be found in black salsify, parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes, for example. But fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain products and legumes are also good food for our intestinal inhabitants.

In addition, probiotics can help bring the intestinal flora back into balance. Because they contain the useful intestinal germs and can thus support the troops of "good" bacteria in a targeted manner.

In addition, if possible, you should avoid everything that harms the intestinal flora: a one-sided diet with a lot of white flour and sugar and stress, for example.

Super food for your intestinal bacteria
Leeks, onions & garlic
Some unripe bananas

Did you know?

Skin diseases such as neurodermatitis, psoriasis and rosacea are often associated with a disturbed intestinal flora. Read more about it here

Researchers even suspect a connection between the psyche, intestines and skin (brain-gut-skin axis).

99 percent of our intestinal inhabitants are bacteria. Some of them are useful, others can be harmful. Learn more

How a person eats can be read from his intestinal flora.

Around 1,000 different intestinal bacteria are known to date.

The term “intestinal flora” is actually out of date. Researchers today speak of the so-called "intestinal microbiota".

The intestinal flora is part of our intestinal barrier that protects us from foreign substances and pathogens. Learn more

Around 70 percent of our immune cells are located in the intestines. Learn more

Our intestinal bacteria train and stimulate our defenses. Learn more

Probiotics are live bacteria or yeasts that occur naturally in our intestines. Learn more

With prebiotics - these are non-digestible plant fibers - we can “feed” our beneficial intestinal bacteria and ensure that they multiply. Learn more

Tips for healthy skin

Beautiful skin from within: the right diet

Make sure you are getting enough vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients into your body. Specifically, this means: a healthy, varied diet with plenty of vegetables and fruit is also best for our skin. Among other things, components from our food (e.g. proteins, fats) are broken down into small building blocks in the intestine, which are transported into our skin via the blood. Among other things, they serve to completely replace the outermost layer of the skin - the epidermis - once a month. In addition, our body needs vital substances such as vitamin C and zinc to intercept free radicals, which are responsible, among other things, for skin aging.

Strong intestinal flora - healthy skin

There is evidence that skin diseases are often associated with a disturbed intestinal flora. Therefore, make sure that your useful intestinal dwellers are doing well. In order to ensure your well-being, you should, for example, consume soluble fiber - so-called prebiotics - as often as possible. The “favorite food” of the intestinal bacteria is found in artichokes, chicory and not quite ripe bananas, among other things. So-called prebiotic foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt and kefir are also good for a strong intestinal flora. They contain living, useful intestinal bacteria (e.g. lactobacilli, bifidobacteria) that are also found in the healthy intestinal flora. So-called probiotics contain significantly larger amounts of such intestinal bacteria and can therefore also be helpful.

Rest breaks and adequate sleep

Pretty much everyone knows it: After a restless, bad night, a pale figure with a tired complexion often looks at us from the mirror. This experience alone should teach us that getting enough sleep is important for skin health. The ideal time for most people is around seven to eight hours. What exactly happens in sleep has not yet been clarified in every detail. We know, however, that the body does various “clean-up jobs” and, among other things, repair processes also take place in the skin. Regular rest breaks are just as important: because stress is a trigger for acute relapses in many skin diseases. In the case of constant stress, so-called free radicals are also formed in the body, which, among other things, can accelerate skin aging. So be sure to give your body the relaxation it needs.

Exercise regularly

When exercising, the blood circulation is boosted vigorously so that the skin is better supplied with oxygen. In addition, you train your defenses if you exercise at a moderate pace for 30 to 60 minutes at least three times a week - and a well-developed immune system is also essential for skin health. Last but not least, our intestinal flora benefits from regular exercise: In the first smaller studies, it was mainly the "good" intestinal bacteria that increased in recreational athletes - and these are often too small in the intestines of people with skin diseases.

Do not smoke

Smoking as well as high and / or regular alcohol consumption can make our skin look pretty old. Therefore, you should best avoid the "cell poisons". Among other things, they trigger oxidative stress in the body, which in turn ensures that free radicals are formed - a common cause of premature skin aging. Smoking also causes the blood vessels to constrict, so that the blood supply to the skin is poor and there is a lack of oxygen. The nicotine ensures that the important collagen fibers, which are responsible for keeping the skin nice and tight, are broken down.

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