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What does gut health have to do with skin health?

It’s easy to forget that your skin is a vital functioning organ, the body’s largest in fact! So naturally, skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, dry skin and dermatitis are typically a symptom of something else going on in the body. Namely the gut.

Put simply, when it comes to getting to the root cause of skin conditions, gut health and gut function are everything. And we mean everything.

Focusing on the gut skin axis could well lead to the glowing, clear complexion you’ve been striving for.

Let’s explore this a little deeper.


Everything from the way we feel, to our energy levels and overall health, our weight and blood sugar levels — it really starts in our gut.

The gut provides a home to trillions and trillions of beneficial microbes and bacteria. This complex ecosystem is called the microbiota, and the number of bacteria we have in our gut day-to-day is equivalent of about 2-3kg (whoa!).

Ideally you want to have 85% good bacteria to roughly 15% bad bacteria. This is an ideal ratio to keep the gut healthy and functioning optimally. It’s when this ratio changes that problems can start to arise.


Have you ever heard of the saying, ‘you are what you eat’?

It’s actually much more accurate to say ‘you are what you absorb’.

Our gut is responsible for absorbing nutrients from your food, housing both good and bad bacteria and excreting waste.

The gastrointestinal tract, otherwise known as the gut, sorts the good bacteria from the bad bacteria and ensures your body is getting everything it needs to function healthily.

The main reason why skin conditions develop due to poor gut health is that once the wall of the gut starts allowing harmful bacteria through, the body automatically begins to remove the bacteria from the body as quickly as possible, and the skin is often the quickest and easiest exit route.

This process triggers off the immune system which can cause redness, swelling, irritation and other serious skin issues.

The body starts to prioritise the direction of the good bacteria and transports it to important organs such as the heart and liver, which is why the skin, hair and nails are often the first to suffer.

two mason jars filled with liquid on white surface


An excess of bad bacteria and poor gut absorption can be caused by varying factors: an unhealthy diet full of processed foods, not enough fruit and vegetables, high stress levels, lack of sleep and food sensitivities.

But making improvements to the digestive system and improving gut health has been scientifically shown to enhance immune function, mood, energy levels and of course, skin health.

Here are some of the tools you can implement to help assist skin and gut healing:

  1. Use food medicine to heal your gut-skin axis. Swapping out unhealthy, processed foods for fruits and vegetables as well as high quality probiotic rich foods like coconut yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, and kombucha can all help regain a healthy gut bacteria balance.
  2. Getting comprehensive lab tests is a great way to get to the root cause of most skin and health problems. Request a Stool Test, Immunological Blood Test and Food Intolerance Test from your local naturopath and doctor to rule out any bacterial, yeast or parasitic infections and food sensitivities.
  3. Stress less. When you are stressed, you are less likely to get a good night’s sleep, and lack of sleep can affect your gut flora and immune system and potentially lead to digestive issues and health problems.
  4. Apply to the skin only ingredients you’d be willing to eat. You know the aforementioned saying, you are what you absorb? The same rings true for your skincare and makeup. Apply healthy, clean, gentle ingredients and get rid of toxic products that could be flaring up skin conditions.

Finding out the root cause of your skin condition via the gut skin axis and addressing them with a customised and comprehensive functional medicine program can be the natural solution to skin healing you’ve been searching for. Glow get em’.


Image sources:

  1. Brittani Burns on Unsplash
  2. Klara Avsenik on Unsplash