Ever looked in the mirror and thought it’s time you try a new facial product? Your skin is looking tired or you’ve had another breakout – you need a new cleanser, a new toner, a new moisturiser. It’s strange to think that the reason your skin isn’t glowing could actually be nothing to do with your skin, or the products you use. It may be time you look to your gut health and function, rather than another cosmetics counter.
Back to basics …
So let’s get down to the science. This stuff is interesting so pay attention. Inside the gut are trillions of bacteria; it is these bacteria that make up the “microbiome”. The gut is home to approximately 70% of our immune system and balancing the good and bad bacteria is essential for skin health. The microbiome is affected by so many factors – genetics, the environment, and our habits – but most importantly, it is affected by the foods and nutrients we consume, or lack of. What this means for us is that we should eat to support the microflora, and ultimately our gut-skin health. Probiotics, both from foods and supplements are an extremely useful way to provide essential support for our gut microbiome.
Beauty from inside-out
There is a theory known as the “gut-brain-skin-axis”, which highlights that poor digestion can create an imbalance of bacteria, which can in turn affect and damage your skin. Why? Well, when the scales tip in the direction of bad bacteria, our gut isn’t properly supported and it can create “leaky gut”. It’s sort of like when it rains and you don’t have an umbrella: the umbrella is there to provide protection from the wet and cold, just as probiotics and good nutrition provide protection for our gut. This not only means that toxins can leak out of the gut but nutrients will not be absorbed effectively so the skin doesn’t have the vital nutrients it needs to shine. The good news is that there are some really simple steps that can be taken to act against this.
Diet: Give your gut the best possible chance by following a predominantly plant based, alkaline diet whilst avoiding processed food and sugar. This includes drinks as well as food! Think green and natural and you’ll probably be safe. Avoiding sugar is essential, as you will instantly remove the energy that is required for the bad bacteria to grow.
Probiotics: As we have seen, creating a strong environment of good bacteria is essential and probiotics provide a vital boost.
Fermented foods: Kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi are all good options. These natural probiotics can be easily picked up from most health food shops and added to your diet. Rhythm’s Mango and Coconut Kefir is a fantastic, stress-free, all-natural option. The fact it tastes wonderfully tropical is a bonus.
Supplement Probiotics: These are great way to get your probiotics in one easy tablet, which will probably be providing your gut more support than most people are getting all year.
– OptiBac Probiotics “For every day” live cultures tablets can give just the boost you need and get you moving towards a healthy gut and glowing skin.
– Symprove’s water based, multi-strain supplement is another superb option to provide complete gut wellness, promising to provide “ready to work” bacteria over the course of a 12 week programme.
Rest and Digest: Combatting stress particularly when we are eating is really important and is often overlooked. Think REST AND DIGEST. The body will digest most effectively when we are calm (and thus functioning in the parasympathetic nervous system). This can be achieved simply by taking a few minutes to take some deep breaths and calm your body before eating a meal, but longer-term yoga and meditation are great options to handle everyday stress and aid digestion.
The Skin’s Microbiome
As well as gut microflora, it’s easy to forget that the skin has a microbiome of its own. Our skin is also home to millions of microorganisms, acting as the body’s primary border with the outside world and providing daily protection from everything our busy lives throw at us. Three key functions of topical probiotics are to provide: an extra level of protection, anti-microbial support and a soothing effect for the skin.
Aurelia Probiotic Skin Care is a fantastic brand to be aware of too. Aurelia provide a mix of topical probiotic support alongside soothing herbal extracts like aloe vera and baobab, to protect against skin ageing and inflammation. All their products are 100% BioOrganic and ethically sourced, and as if you needed any more persuading the mix of jasmine and mandarin means they smell divine.
Even more exciting is the facial that Aurelia is currently offering in Liberty’s: running on various days throughout the year, using all their beautiful products, this facial will not only nourish your skin but leave you feeling completely pampered and relaxed. To book email [email protected]
With probiotics and good diet boosting gut health, you can feel great and love the skin you’re in from inside out.
words by Rachel Cruickshank