Skin Health Starts From the Inside Out

Every day we live and every meal we eat we influence the great microbial organ inside us - for better or for worse
— Giulia Enders, Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ

Unpopular opinion: ladies (and men), I hate to break it to you, but it’s far more crucial to worry about what you’re eating and putting in your body, than what you're putting on your skin.

Massive corporate companies and illusive marketing campaigns want you to believe that products will solve all your skin problems. They want you to use the latest mask or cream to magically solve your skin dilemmas.

The fact of the matter is: people get waaaay to fucking fancy; whether it's diet, exercise or with specific problems like skin health. It's not glamorous to tell someone you're eating low-carb so your skin is in great health. It's far fancier to tell your mate, "fuck, I'm using the latest product from L'Oréal that costs R2000 and it's awesome."

I would go as far to say many of the products on the market are not anti-aging at all — the amount of chemicals used to make them are enough to light a small Peruvian village on fire.

Your Gut Microbiome Is Queen

Wearing face masks and expensive makeup will do very little for your skin. Your gut microbiome is the master of all things skin related -- actually, ALL things health related. It all begins with what goes in your mouth. Start from the inside out. 

The research coming out showing the importance of gut health is staggering.

Here's what Chris Kresser has to say:

Epidemiological evidence shows a clear association between gut problems and skin disorders. A recent report indicated that small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a condition involving inappropriate growth of bacteria in the small intestine, is 10 times more prevalent in people with acne rosacea than in healthy controls, and that correction of SIBO in these individuals led to marked clinical improvement...


How altered gut function impacts the skin

Intestinal permeability (a.k.a. “leaky gut”) causes both systemic and local inflammation, which in turn contributes to skin disease. In a study way back in 1916, acne patients were more likely to show enhanced reactivity to bacterial strains isolated from stool. 66 percent of the 57 patients with acne in the study showed positive reactivity to stool-isolated bacteria compared to none of the control patients without active skin disease. 1 In a more recent study involving 80 patients, those with acne had higher levels of and reactivity to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) endotoxins in the blood. None of the matched healthy controls reacted to the e. coli LPS, while 65% of the acne patients had a positive reaction. Both of these studies suggest that increased intestinal permeability is an issue for a significant number of acne patients. (4)

Speaking of permeable barriers: most of you have heard of leaky gut by now, but what about “leaky skin”? The main function of the skin is to act as a physical, chemical and antimicrobial defense system. Studies have shown that both stress and gut inflammation can impair the integrity and protective function of the epidermal barrier. This in turn leads to a decrease in antimicrobial peptides produced in the skin, and an increase in the severity of infection and inflammation in the skin. (5)

The gut flora also influences the skin. Substance P is a neuropeptide produced in the gut, brain and skin that plays a major role in skin conditions. Altered gut microbiota promotes the release of substance P in both the gut and the skin, and probiotics can attenuate this response. (6) The gut microbiota influences lipids and tissue fatty acid profiles, and may influence sebum production as well as the fatty acid composition of the sebum. (7) This may explain why a Russian study found that 54% of acne patients have significant alterations to the gut flora (8), and a Chinese study involving patients with seborrheic dermatitis also noted disruptions in the normal gut flora.

So there it is. Don't take my word for it -- Chris is one of the leading thought-leaders on ancestral health and integrative medicine. I have still yet to read his latest book -- Unconventional Medicine -- which has been recommended by many. When I have dabbled in it, I'll be sure to let you know. 

Some Solutions Please?

Most don’t realize this, but your skin is an organ — in fact, it’s one of the largest organs in your body and it works super freaking hard to ensure detoxification is taking place on the reg.

If you are going to use exogenous methods to treat your skin health, here are some practical tools you can use:

  • Coffee: you heard me. Use those left over coffee granules to put on your face -- tap into those inner primitive instincts of yours
  • Vitamin C supplements/shots
  • Vitamin D: preferably from the sun. I always remember being super scared of the sun when I was a kid because of potentially cancerous harm taking place -- in fact, you're more likely to die of cancer by not getting enough Vitamin D! Sunlight is so important for, not only skin health, but overall health
  • Coconut Oil. Need I say more...put that shit EVERYWHERE