Know this: Your gut and skin are directly connected. To put this into perspective, “About 7 to 11% of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), for instance, have psoriasis3,” board-certified internal medicine doctor Vincent Pedre once told mbg.
“Gut inflammation eventually can become systemic inflammation. And that, along with oxidative stress, blood sugar imbalances, and other problems4, can all show up on your skin—especially if you are genetically predisposed to these conditions,” he adds.
But what foods are the most triggering? “The simple sugars, when digested, cause rapid insulin spikes that result in the downstream effect of inflammation, which, in turn, leads to skin barrier breakdown,” board-certified dermatologist Rachel Westbay, M.D., FAAD, of Marmur Medical tells mbg.
Even acne, the most common skin condition, can be improved when focusing on gut health. “One study found a probiotic supplement improved acne in 80% of the 300 participants3. Among their benefits, probiotics can help modulate immunity and inflammation, reducing acne in the process,” Pedre said.
What’s more, one study noted by the American Academy of Dermatology reported that women who drank two or more glasses of skim milk a day were 44% more likely to have breakouts5.
Another study noted on the AAD demonstrated that a low-glycemic index diet may result in fewer pimples. Not sure which foods are considered high on the glycemic index? Check out this story.
“Lacking nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids can be an issue, as well,” Westbay says. “Derivatives of omega-3 fatty acids are thought to influence the skin barrier by acting as transcription factors that increase the synthesis of filaggrin, an integral protein that brings together other structural proteins in the outermost skin cells to actually form the skin barrier,” she adds.