Beautiful skin really is much more than skin deep. The prevalence of auto-immune skin conditions alongside other auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, coeliac disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and type II diabetes is on the rise.
Our wondrously complex immune system can successfully protect our bodies while recognising and eliminating billions of distinct infections. When functioning well, the immune system immediately recognises a virus or bacteria that has entered our body and initiates a robust attack on the invader, allowing us to recover from a cold after only a few days. But this precisely choreographed interaction between the immune system and the tissues it is designed to protect goes badly awry in auto-immune diseases. In such diseases, the immune system mistakes friend for foe and begins to attack the very tissues it was designed to protect.
But what triggers autoimmunity to occur? There is almost universal agreement among scientists that the environmental toxins and chemicals to which we are increasingly exposed are interfering with the immune system’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body. The fact that around 80% of our immune system is located in our gut means that when the gut goes wrong, the immune system takes the hit, and this can have wide-reaching effects on the health of the body.
If our immune system becomes compromised then our weak spots, our Achilles heel if you like will be affected. If it’s your skin, you are likely to experience a breakout or flare-up of a skin condition such as psoriasis or eczema. The skin expresses inflammation that often originates in the gut. As tempting as it may be to suppress the symptoms with steroid creams, the best way to resolve the problem is to look within – clean, heal and repair the gut and re-establish a balanced immune system.
I’ve known, for the best part of my 25+ year long complementary medicine career, that the causes of skin diseases are to be found in the gut. If your intestines are not able to contain endo-toxic material, including bacteria and parasites, and are spilling out toxins into your bloodstream, then what do we think is going to happen to the skin?! It isn’t exactly going to look glowing with health and vitality. There is going to be a huge battle in the intestines as the immune system valiantly tries to stop the stem of poisonous wastes getting into the bloodstream and travelling around the body, potentially causing havoc along the way.
You can put the most expensive creams on your skin to help with spots, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis, but you first must fix whatever digestive and gut imbalances you have otherwise your skin will never improve. It’s like sticking a plaster on a gunshot wound.
Beauty starts from within. An unhappy tummy is going to lead to bad skin, low levels of energy and dips in mood. A good therapist will have her/his own tried and tested protocols, including looking at diet and introducing key supplements like probiotics, digestive enzymes, omega 3 essential fatty acids and anti-microbials to help restore balance to the gut.
Not all skin complaints are caused by an imbalance in the gut flora, but it is a significant piece in the jigsaw. If you have a skin issue, then it’s important to follow an anti-inflammatory diet by eating a wide variety of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, including plenty of prebiotic vegetables like onions, leeks and garlic as these are packed full of important antioxidants crucial for healthy collagen production. Fermented foods (sauerkraut and kimchi), whole grains and other slow-digesting carbohydrates and fatty cold-water fish (mackerel, herring) for their anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids are all crucial for skin health.
The bottom line is if you want clear, healthy skin you need to start from the inside – gut first – and establish the right balance between good and bad bacteria. Taking supplements that support and maintain healthy ‘internal skin’ will go a long way towards establishing a positive impact on your ‘external skin’. Everyone deserves to have good skin, no matter what age they are, and supporting digestive and gut health will go a long way to achieving it. I’ve been taking a daily probiotic capsule for the best part of 30 years, and I get many lovely compliments about my skin. I’ve never had dry skin, eczema, psoriasis or rosacea, and I feel this is not just my healthy, balanced diet, but my taking probiotics to ensure my gut immune system is supported. Try them for yourself here: https://justfortummies.co.uk/product/live-bacteria-capsules/#description
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