Have you ever heard that there's a correlation between digestive health and skin conditions, such as eczema?
In relatively newer findings, there is compelling evidence to indicate that gut health does impact your skin. While physicians and scientists are still studying the genetic markers and possible ramifications between inflammatory skin conditions and other illnesses, such as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's Disease, what we do know can help eczema and psoriasis sufferers ease their symptoms.
Links Between Skin Inflammation and Digestive Health
There is a link between some digestive diseases and skin inflammations. Celiac Disease and Crohn's disease, for instance, are autoimmune disorders. Scientists have found that the same genes that trigger those autoimmune disorders can also trigger psoriasis. In fact, people with psoriasis are much more likely to develop digestive issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's Disease.
There may also be a link between other skin inflammations, such as eczema, and digestive disorders.
For those who suffer from eczema or psoriasis as well as a diagnosed digestive issue, it often means seeing two different specialists — a dermatologist and a gastroenterologist. These doctors can maintain contact or otherwise apprise each other of treatments.
For patients who have skin inflammatory issues only, it can help to understand symptoms of digestive illnesses because they may be more prone to developing these types of issues. While scientists are still studying the exact causes and what links these conditions, we do know that certain foods and environmental factors are more prevalent triggers for skin irritation. Monitoring dietary changes can be helpful for patients who suffer from one or both.
Some common digestive symptoms that may indicate an issue:
- Cramping or regular digestive pain.
- Loose stool.
- Achy or inflamed joints.
- Cold extremities.
- Blood in stool.
Many of these symptoms together and for a prolonged period can be signs of a gastrointestinal disorder. Individually, they can also be symptoms of other things. Blood in your stool by itself might be the result of a minor malady, such as hemorrhoids. Very dark or black stool might indicate a large amount of blood or an issue in the upper digestive tract, which is something you should see a physician about immediately.
Probiotics in Skin Treatments
Probiotics have gained a lot of attention in the media over the last decade. They're more than just a healthy food craze, probiotics do help ease digestive issues for many sufferers. There are different types of probiotics. As a general definition, they are live bacteria found in certain types of foods, such as yogurt. This might sound counterproductive — to ingest bacteria. The truth is that some "good" bacteria can be beneficial for the digestive system and your overall health.
Probiotics aren't only good for those who have digestive issues. Researchers are also studying how probiotics can help with other illnesses, such as skin inflammation.
Probiotics can be found in certain foods, such as yogurt. You can also take probiotics as an oral supplement daily. There is some debate over the best delivery method for probiotics in terms of skin conditions. Oral supplements and adding foods rich in probiotics do show some success in treating skin conditions such as acne.
Probiotics have also been added to skin care products which are applied topically. Topical probiotic treatments can work in a number of ways. They provide a barrier for the skin because many inflammatory conditions are exacerbated by the presence of bad bacteria, which causes the immune system to react which causes the inflammation. They can also aid in the healing process and provide antibacterial properties to rid the skin's surface of bacteria which can cause irritation.
Probiotics are not only being used in topical treatments for skin irritation. The cosmetic industry has found significant benefits from using probiotics in formulas directed at the mass market, as well. Many experts are currently recommending products with probiotics as part of a daily skin regimen.
Dietary Tips for Digestive Health and Skin Inflammation
Diet is a main concern for anyone with digestive health issues for obvious reasons. Skin conditions, such as eczema, can also be triggered by certain types of foods. For many patients, keeping a food diary can help them determine their individual triggers. Often eczema, rosacea, and other skin conditions can be triggered by allergies, which may be environmental or food related.
There might be many types of foods that can cause problems for individuals.
Here are some of the top culprits:
- Dairy. For many people with skin irritation, milk, cheese, and other dairy products often cause or exacerbate flare-ups.
- Gluten. Gluten has been targeted as a major factor in many types of health issues, and for good reason. Many people can't process gluten well and it can lead to discomfort, skin irritation, and digestive issues.
- Sugar. Sugar can wreak havoc on your skin. Too much sugar in your diet can impact your overall health, as well as your weight.
- Carbs. While we wouldn't suggest a no carb diet, such as keto, excessive carbohydrates in your diet will lead to weight gain and other issues, including skin inflammation. It's best to monitor the amount of breads, pastas, rice, and other starchy foods you add to your daily diet.
Many people find that it's difficult to completely eliminate foods that cause them issues. For instance, it's hard to never eat cheese or ice cream when dairy is a big trigger for you. You can find non-dairy alternatives and many people will also "cheat" a bit here and there for a treat. Like any dietary change, most things work best in moderation.
For people who have trouble limiting their carb intake, giving yourself cheat days while maintaining a strict diet the rest of the week can work out well for a longer term solution. It's clear that diet and exercise impact every part of your health, including your skin.