The advantageous effects of beneficial bacteria on healthy gut flora and digestion are widely known, but it doesn’t stop there: good bacteria can also improve immunity, general wellness and skin health, the topic we are most concerned with in this article.

The vitamins and minerals needed for healthy skin, including B Vitamins such as Biotin, are produced from both beneficial bacteria and a healthy diet.

Probiotics, prebiotics and fermented foods all encourage beneficial bacteria to flourish, flush out toxins and help the fight against free radicals that help cause visible signs of ageing. They also work to strengthen the skin’s barrier and offer protection against external aggressors. There is evidence that probiotics may also help to build collagen while also helping reduce sun damage and improve the skin’s texture.


Skin Problems

Rosacea

Rosacea is an inflammatory condition that can present itself as a high colour across the nose and cheeks or, in severe cases it can affect the shape of the nose causing swelling. “The root cause of many skin conditions is inflammation and research has shown that where there is gut inflammation, there will be skin inflammation,” says Carla Oates founder of The Beauty Chef. Reducing inflammation and supporting the skin defences with healthy gut flora will help all skin concerns.

There are many things that can be done to help reduce Rosacea (See our article ‘How best to alleviate Rosacea’). A deficiency of B vitamins can be a trigger for Rosacea and, as these are synthesized by intestinal bacteria it makes sense to encourage good flora. Studies have shown that probiotics taken internally and applied to the skin can reduce flare ups and prevent the symptoms of Rosacea appearing. Fermented foods such as Kefir contain a variety of beneficial bacteria are brilliant for this and it is also very beneficial and soothing to apply directly to skin. “Probiotics work to soothe, hydrate and rebalance the skin,” says Marie Drago, founder of skincare brand Gallinée. (Glamour Magazine February 2018)

Dermatitis, Eczema and Psoriasis

Beneficial bacteria has been shown to help with dry, itchy, red or cracked skin which are symptoms of eczema and dermatitis. Probiotics also help with the inflammation that occurs with psoriasis. Studies have shown infants who developed eczema before their first birthday had a less diverse collection of bacteria after birth. Pregnant women who have supplemented with probiotics to improve gut flora reduce the odds of eczema in the baby when there is a family history.

Acne

When yeasts and fungus are excreted through the skin, outbreaks of acne can be triggered. Prebiotic foods containing fibre help with this such as flax seeds and psyllium husks. They help to flush out toxins and reduce symptoms. The gut is where most of our immune system lies; vitamins and minerals are synthesised and hormones metabolised. Acne is the inflammatory response that will benefit from improvements to gut flora by avoiding foods such as sugar that adversely effect gut flora and reducing stress as well as consuming gut friendly foods and fibre.

So, ensuring your gut is teaming with beneficial bacteria will have enormous benefits, not only for digestion, but also for skin health too. Probiotics, prebiotics and fermented foods consumed as part of a healthy diet, all have important roles to play.