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Here’s how a healthy gut can help improve your skin


By Jennifer McShane
25th May 2019
Here’s how a healthy gut can help improve your skin

Now is the time when many people switch up their skincare routine in preparation for summer. For example, swapping out heavier winter creams for lighter, dewy creams is generally the first thing we tick off. What most of us don’t think about doing, though, is looking out for our skin from the inside out.

Experts have frequently said your gut health and your skin are in sync with one another. And it makes sense; skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema are linked to your gut health and poor digestion can also lead to acne.

Looking after your gut health can help you develop and maintain a healthy glow for summer. But where should we start? To that end, Scope Healthcare’s in-house nutritionist Eva Hill-Hamilton provided some tips on how to improve your gut health and subsequently improve your skin’s overall appearance:

Drink more water

“Increase your level of water intake and consume at least eight glasses of water every day,” she explained. “This will help to maintain a healthy dewy complexion, hydrated skin and a proper functioning gut. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and like every other part of the body including your gut, it is made up of cells. These cells are made up of water, and without enough water consumption, the skin will appear dry and flaky and the gut flora will become imbalanced.”

Take a probiotic

“Microbes live on our skin, communicating with local immune cells and regulating barrier functions. Probiotics taken orally improve the skin barrier function, which can even improve skin conditions such as eczema when taken daily for six weeks or more. For example, the 14-strain live bacteria supplement, Bio-Kult Advanced, is great to take daily to improve the gut flora.”

Avoid sugar

“Avoid added sugar in foods. Sugar is absorbed and digested by the body and with this, the reaction that occurs can result in breakouts of spots and also increase inflammation of the body. Sugar feeds the non-beneficial bacteria in the gut, creating toxins which can lead to skin irritation.”

Include fibre in the diet

“The lower part of the gut is responsible for excreting substances from the body and fibre helps with this process. If excreting at least once a day, the skin will be in good condition as bodily functions will be operating at regular levels,” she continued. “If substances are left stored within the body for too long, the skin will be left to excrete what it can from the body, which can lead to skin problems. Maintaining a healthy gut by introducing more fibre will help to achieve clearer and healthier skin.”

Exercise

“Moving and being active helps in alleviating any gut health issues. By improving your exercise regime, it can speed up bodily functions. Exercising your muscles helps to exercise your organs, which leads to your body operating at an optimum level. This will have an effective impact on your skin and your gut health by inhibiting any stomach bloating or skin breakouts.”

Reduce alcohol intake

“Generally, alcohol consumption has a harmful effect on the level of good gut bacteria. The “dysbiosis” caused as a result of the imbalanced gut bacteria can lead to knock-on effects such as a rash or redness on the skin. Alcoholic drinks also dehydrate the body and the gut which leads to dried-out, flaky skin.”

Swap coffees/teas for herbal remedies

“The introduction of herbal teas is pivotal in terms of nutrient absorption, which increases the level of skin clarity and hydration. Herbal teas such as lavender, chamomile and green tea all contain natural remedies that can reduce internal and external inflammation. In particular, green tea is useful for antioxidant and detox support. These teas aid in the sleep process, which is crucial for gut health and the skin’s appearance. A lack of sleep can cause poor digestion and lead to acne breakouts and skin sensitivity.”

Main photograph: Pexels