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How Gut Health Affects Skin Health: The Inside Scoop on Clear Skin

Are you on the hunt for that perfect cleanser, cream, or pill to FINALLY clear up your skin for good? Well let's get real for a moment...

I've been where you are—spending years and thousands of dollars searching for that magical remedy. I visited multiple dermatologists who only offered pharmaceutical solutions that worked for a while but never gave me the lasting results that I was looking for. I even took antibiotics daily for three years, which temporarily helped, but the breakouts eventually returned. And worse, my digestion, energy, and mood took a massive nosedive. during time.

When my dermatologist suggested Accutane as a last resort, I hesitated. The potential side effects were daunting, and I still didn't have an answer to the burning question: WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?? After years of doctor visits and trying every topical remedy under the sun, all while feeling insecure and depressed, I decided it was time for a different approach.

Around this time, I had developed an interest in Chinese medicine and so I sought help from an acupuncturist. She immediately recommended an elimination diet for 30 days to identify potential food sensitivities that could be exacerbating my skin issues. I wasn't thrilled about cutting out some of my favorite foods—cheese, bread, and sweets—but I committed to the diet to see if it would make a difference.

And guess what? It did! Not only was my skin the clearest it had been in years, I also experienced easier digestion, regular bowel movements (I had no idea you are supposed to poop at least once per day!), weight loss, better sleep, increased energy, and way less bouts of depression. It was eye opening to me that my chronic constipation, energy dips, and mood swings were all linked to my diet. (Which I thought was healthy-ish at the time despite being loaded with refined foods, gluten, conventional dairy and sugar).

Why hadn't any of the doctor's I'd seen told me that food can affect your skin? In fact, when I asked one doctor if she thought my breakouts could be related to something I was eating, she literally told me "No, there is no scientific evidence to prove that acne has anything to do with diet". Wow... someone needs to go read some research papers because that is just not true! But now I know that sadly, this mis-informed doc (whether she realized it or not) is part of the Big Pharma machine that's all driven by MONEY with littler interest in your long-term health. But that's a story for another blog post.

Back to the topic at hand...

So with all that said I want to let you in on a little secret that I wish I had known 15 years ago... YOUR SKIN IS A REFLECTION OF WHAT'S GOING ON INSIDE YOUR BODY! And no topical treatment, antibiotics, or Accutane will address the root causes to your skin problems. If you fail to work on optimizing your digestion and gut health, then you will never achieve the lasting results that you are searching for. If you rely on pharmaceutical interventions then unfortunately they will likely take their toll and lead to worse health outcomes in the future. I should know, because at 25 I was diagnosed with an irreversilbel autoimmune condition that I am suspicious may never have developed had it not been for those 3 years of antibiotics wrecking my gut heath.

The point I'm trying to make here is not to scare you, it's to help you understand that skin problems like acne and eczema are SYMPTOMS of underlying imbalances in your body that need to be addressed. Think of these symptoms as your body crying out for help! So let's dive into this topic in order to help you can truly understand how your gut health affects your skin health.

The Gut-Skin Axis

The gut-skin axis is a fascinating area of study that highlights the intimate connection between our digestive system and skin health. When the gut is healthy and functioning optimally, it supports a balanced immune system, efficient nutrient absorption, and reduced inflammation—all of which are essential for clear, healthy skin. Conversely, poor digestive function and an imbalanced gut microbiome can lead to a range of skin issues.

How Gut Health Impacts Acne and Eczema

For simplicity sake, let's focus on how gut health can lead to acne and eczema. Although these same principles can be applied to most inflammatory skin conditions.


Acne is frequently fueled by poor diet, impaired digestion, and blood sugar imbalances which then lead to bacterial overgrowth, food sensitivities, hormonal imbalances and chronic inflammation. These factors can both cause and worsen skin issues. For example, an imbalanced gut microbiome can heighten systemic inflammation and disrupt hormone levels, triggering acne breakouts. Additionally, poor digestion and nutrient absorption can result in deficiencies in vital vitamins and minerals, such as zinc and vitamin A, which are crucial for maintaining healthy skin.


Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is an inflammatory skin condition characterized by red, itchy, and flaky skin. Chronic inflammation from a leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, can contribute significantly to eczema. When the gut lining is compromised, it allows toxins, undigested food particles, and harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream, triggering an immune response (histamine release) and increasing systemic inflammation. This inflammatory response can manifest as eczema on the skin.

The Role of Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation in the gut can spill over into the rest of the body, leading to skin problems. This is particularly evident in cases of leaky gut, where the gut lining becomes permeable, allowing harmful substances to pass through and cause widespread inflammation. Addressing gut inflammation is therefore crucial in reducing overall systemic inflammation and improving skin health.

Here are the steps I use when working with clients to improve gut health for beautiful skin:

1.) Optimize Digestion: Ensure that your digestive system is working efficiently. This can involve chewing food thoroughly, eating in a relaxed state, and possibly incorporating digestive enzymes to support the breakdown of food.

2.) Support Nutrient Absorption: Ensuring that your body is absorbing nutrients effectively is crucial. Nutrients such as zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, C, and E are particularly important for skin health.

3.) Lower Systemic Inflammation: Anti-inflammatory foods, such as leafy greens, fatty fish,

Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation

and berries, can help reduce systemic inflammation. Additionally, avoiding processed foods, sugar, and poor quality fats can significantly lower inflammation levels.

4.) Balance the Gut Microbiome: A healthy gut microbiome is essential for reducing inflammation and supporting overall health. Probiotics, prebiotics, and a diet rich in fiber can help promote a balanced gut flora.

5.) Identify and Address Food Sensitivities: Food sensitivities can trigger inflammation and exacerbate skin conditions. Identifying and eliminating these foods from your diet can help reduce inflammation and support healing "leaky gut".

6.) Reduce Histamine Levels: High histamine levels can contribute to skin issues like eczema. Following a low-histamine diet for a period of time while addressing gut microbiome imbalances that contribute to histamine production can be an essential step in the healing process.

7.) Optimizing Blood Sugar Balance: Enjoying a balanced diet that is rich in highs quality proteins and fats as well as non-starchy fruits and vegetables will help to keep your blood sugar balanced. This is a key to keeping a healthy gut microbiome (as bad gut bacteria will over-grow if given too many starchy and sugary foods), balancing your hormones and lowering systemic inflammation.

8.) Balance Hormones: Supporting the liver (which processes hormones), reducing stress, eating a nutrient dense diet and addressing gut health will help to achieve hormonal balance.

Let's Work Together to Restore Optimal Health

Improving your gut health is a powerful step towards achieving clear, healthy skin. As a functional nutritionist, I offer personalized consultations & gut healing protocols to help you identify and address the root causes of your skin issues.

If you’re ready to take control of your skin health and address the underlying issues, I’m here to help! Click below to peruse my services and contact me to schedule a consultation to start your journey towards optimal health and beautiful skin:

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