Skin & Gut Health

It’s a very familiar concept in naturopathic medicine that the health of the skin is directly linked to the health of the gut.  Often, when we’re experiencing skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, and seemingly “random” rashes, we can track the root cause back to the gastrointestinal tract.

Most will agree that what we put into our bodies (food, drink, etc.) will shape our overall health. When we take this a step further, we realize our small and large intestines are a perfect microcosm of balanced flora – naturally occurring bacteria that work in synergy to keep the pathogenic bacterial strains and yeast in check.  A multitude of things may imbalance our flora; a few of the most common causes are constipation, eating foods we are sensitive or allergic to, and too often eating on the run.

At the cellular level, inflammation is occurring in the lining of the digestive tract which impacts the immune system – it now is in a state of heightened reaction in order to deal with the inflammation. The link between the gut and the skin is this: immune complexes are formed as the body attempts to repair the inflammation in the gut and it is these complexes that are ultimately deposited in the skin which leads to skin conditions.  We are left wondering, “what did I do to cause this eczema??”

The digestive system is one of my favorite areas of focus, as so much can change when we optimize the functioning of the gut: skin rashes disappear, colds become less chronic, lethary fades to a state of healthy, sustainable energy, sleep improves, hormones normalize, moods balance…you get the idea!

Basically, the health of your digestive system greatly impacts the health of your entire body – no one organ system functions independently from the rest.


3 thoughts on “Skin & Gut Health

  1. Pingback: My Top 10 List of Healthy To-Do’s | Dr. Sacha Elliott

  2. Celia Ready

    Hi my daughter has all these pimple like sweat like pimples all over her arms I am wondering if it is something she is eating that is causing it. Or is it something she is lacking in? Would you know of this skin condition. She is 12 yrs old.
    going through puberty. Also gets blocked nose. Always blowing her nose.

    1. Dr. Elliott Post author

      Hi Celia,
      Similar to your other post, it’s hard to diagnose effectively in this forum, but I would recommend checking out (reading about and looking up images of) keratosis pilaris to see if that fits her skin condition. It’s generally treated with vitamin A, essential fatty acids such as the EPA and DHA in fish oils and then correcting the underlying fat absorption issues that lead to the deficiencies in the first place (along with ensuring a healthy diet which is high in vitamins, minerals and a proper balance of healthy omega 3 to omega 6 fats!). The nasal congestion is a common sign of a food sensitivity – most likely a reaction to dairy. The immune system will create more mucus with the consumption of dairy and since you noted a lactose intolerance in yourself in another post, your daughter may be similar in makeup. Both lactose intolerance and immune reactions to dairy are very common and a good thing to diagnose when young so as to avoid long term complications.
      Dr. Elliott


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