Sensitive Skin and Gut Health: 7 Reasons Why They're Connected
Sensitive skin can be an aggravating problem to have, especially when you’re struggling with acne, rashes, or blemishes that won’t go away. However, what many people don’t realize is that your skin issues may actually be due to something completely different than what they think! Your gut health might actually be the underlying cause of your sensitive skin! In fact, there are several reasons why your gut health and sensitive skin are connected, and it all comes down to the connection between your gut and your immune system.
1) The connection between gut health and skin
Having a healthy gut is intimately connected with having a healthy mind and visa versa, so it is obviously that gut health will have an impact on other areas of the body, including the skin.
The imbalance in gut/intestinal gut microflora (microbiota) can contribute to skin conditions like acne and even eczema. Both acne and eczema are inflammatory skin conditions, and inflammation occurs when the immune system is fighting against bad bacteria.
2) How gut health affects skin health
According to some experts, gut health is a major factor in determining your skin’s overall health. The reason for that is linked to what’s known as gut permeability, or intestinal hyperpermeability. In fact, you might have heard of it by another name – leaky gut syndrome – which explains why it’s important to remember these two terms are basically interchangeable when used in conversation. Essentially, when your gut becomes permeable, toxins leak into your bloodstream – which can lead to acne breakouts and other skin problems. So what causes leaky gut? Experts say certain foods can cause inflammation in your gut lining – including gluten, dairy products and refined sugars.
3) Intestinal imbalance
When gut health is compromised, it’s not uncommon for our skin to suffer. When intestinal balance is thrown off-kilter, our body reacts by producing toxins that are released into circulation. These toxins can irritate sensitive skin areas and cause an uncomfortable flare-up of acne or rosacea symptoms.
Ever notice that your skin feels tighter when you’re dehydrated? And water isn’t only crucial for keeping our bodily functions in good working order—it can also have a direct impact on how our skin looks. When we don’t drink enough water, it can lead to puffy eyes, under-eye bags, dry patches (hello dry winter skin!) and even temporary fine lines and wrinkles. Keep your skin and your gut healthy by drinking plenty of water.
5) Antibiotics, birth control pills, etc.
A number of medications can upset your gut flora, as well as a poor diet. If you’re concerned about your gut health, take some time to do some research on it. Learn how to improve it by choosing foods that nurture rather than disrupt your gut bacteria. Besides nourishing your microbiome, eating a healthy diet rich in probiotics will likely lead to clearer skin—which is one reason why many people with sensitive skin look forward to fermented foods like yogurt, kefir and kimchi!
6) Sugar intake
Sugar is more than just empty calories. Eating too much sugar can lead to a host of problems, including skin issues. Whether you’re aware of it or not, those sugary snacks could be causing a rise in your insulin levels—an increase that in turn triggers oil production in your body that causes breakouts on your face, chest and back. "Too much sugar can reduce beneficial bacteria leading to a leaky gut syndrome
. An increase of pathogenic bacteria, which is the species of microorganisms that cause diseases, can lead to a condition known as dysbiosis. An increase of this type of bacteria causes changes to the internal mucosal barrier of the intestine." SOURCE
7) Maintaining regular bowel movements
A healthy gut is crucial for clear, radiant skin. Make sure you're getting enough fiber (whole grains, fruits and vegetables) every day to keep your digestion regular. And drink at least one glass of water with every meal to keep your body hydrated. Adequate hydration has many benefits; in addition to keeping your skin glowing, it helps move food through your digestive tract more efficiently.
Summary of tips to improve gut health
By now, most of us are aware that our gut health has a tremendous impact on our overall well-being. But how exactly does it affect our skin? It’s not just because they’re both on our bodies (although, yeah, there’s that). It turns out that your gastrointestinal system is directly connected to your skin via nerves and hormones. If you haven’t yet heard of the gut-brain-skin axis, it refers to a connection between gut health and skin issues like acne.
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