ACNE, ECZEMA OR PSORIASIS
Sixty percent of British people currently suffer or have suffered from a skin disease at some point in their lifetime and 70% of Brits have visible skin conditions or scars that affect their confidence.
Acne, psoriasis and eczema are some of the most common inflammatory skin conditions. Acne affects more women than men and according to the NHS around 95% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected by acne to some extent. Most people experience this condition during puberty but it rarely continues beyond the mid 20s. That said, in 2016 private clinics noted a 200% increase in the number of adults seeking specialist acne treatment.
Psoriasis affects around 2% of people in the UK and causes red, flaky, crusty, patches of skin covered with silvery scales. It’s a condition that affects men and women equally and can start at any age but most often in adults under the age of 35.
Around 1 in 5 children and 1.6 million adults live with eczema in the UK with many of the adults having experienced the condition since childhood. Many children eventually grow out of the condition; I am one of these fortunate souls but for many, including me, the damage had already been done as I was left with unsightly scars behind my knees that persist to this day which for a really long time prevented me from wearing anything that put my legs on show.
The condition itself can seriously affect the daily lives of sufferers with 58% of sufferers reporting that their personal relationships are affected, over 70% feeling depressed as a result of the disease and 73% reporting that their social lives were impacted.
So what’s the gut got to do with all this?
The human body is a highly interconnected organism – everything is connected and a healthy, happy gut is connected to everything. Which is why healing the gut very often solves these problems. That’s because inflammation in the gut can eventually spread to other parts of the body. The link between acne and the gut goes back at least 80 years with dermatologists Stokes and Pillsbury suggesting that depression and anxiety could alter the normal balance of gut bacteria, increasing intestinal permeability and contributing to systemic inflammation.
Researchers found distinct differences in the microbial diversity between people with acne and others without acne including lower numbers of Firmicutes and higher numbers of Bacterioidites, with some specific bacterial depletions. The researchers concluded that people with acne have gut dysbiosis.
So here are 5 gut restoration strategies that you can use to help clear your skin:
- Take a look at what’s getting in – All of the skin conditions we’ve talked about are inflammatory and we know that there’s quite a bit of interplay between the skin, the immune system, and the environment. Start by removing the foods that you’re sensitive or intolerant to. It may be worth also keeping a food diary so you can monitor and unpick unsuspecting food reactions. Sugar is highly inflammatory and upsets the balance of gut bacteria
- Get the right stuff in – After you’ve wiped the slate clean so to speak, it’s time to get the good stuff in. The good stuff includes foods rich in phytonutrients, omega-3 fats and fibre as well as those foods that feed the good bacteria.
- And speaking of bacteria, you’ll want to sow good bacterial seeds. This can be achieved through fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and hot pepper sauce and possibly probiotic supplements.
- Support the integrity of your gut wall – none the above works if your digestive system isn’t functioning properly because it’s been damaged. aloe vera and glutamine are particularly useful here.
- Finally, you’ll want to find your new normal. Rebalancing your lifestyle for a healthy and happy life by making changes like improving stress management, sleep, movement and hydration.