Hi, hello! Did you know that there are a trillion microorganisms living in and on your body controlling everything from your feelings to your face?
It’s not as strange as it sounds. Those microorganisms—a potpourri of bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, mites, and more—are collectively known as the microbiome, and you wouldn’t be alive without ‘em.
The gut microbiome was recently coined the “second brain”
because of its importance to overall health. From regulating mood to fighting off disease, the gut microbiome is linked to nearly every process and organ in the body, including the skin.
The health of your gut microbiome is often reflected in the skin via what’s called the Gut-Skin Axis. Gut problems like indigestion, inflammation, or leaky gut can surface in the form of acne, rosacea, or dullness. One study
found that people with rosacea were more likely to have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and that treating the SIBO resulted in almost complete elimination of the rosacea.
What we can gather from this is that skin health can be improved by rebalancing the gut microbiome. By helping beneficial bacteria thrive and killing off opportunistic bacteria, the gut (and the skin!) can return to homeostasis.
This is where probiotics come in. Probiotics are living bacteria that are found in food and supplements. They’ve been found to improve eliminatio
n, lower inflammation
, and help with nutrient absorption
. Foods that are rich in probiotics include unpasteurized sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt. When it comes to picking a probiotic supplement, you want one that survives stomach acid and has a broad spectrum of bacterial strains, rather than a high volume of only a few strains. One great brand is Seed
, which uses bacterial strains found in the human body and is clinically tested for efficacy.
But the gut isn’t the only place where bacteria affects skin health. The skin has its own set of “bugs”: the skin microbiome. These surface-level microbes do love an ingestible probiotic (the Gut-Skin Axis delivers), but sometimes they need a little nourishment of their own. Enter: Manuka honey. Referred to as “liquid gold” in New Zealand, the country from which it originates, topical Manuka honey is… pretty much that, actually.