Very often I get the question if there are still exciting discoveries in the skin area. And although magazines make us believe that the latest ingredients and equipment can make you just ten years younger, there is little news under the sun. Yet there is a development that I follow closely and which I myself find quite revolutionary. And that is the research into the role that the intestines play in the skin. It is actually old knowledge in a new jacket, many doctors do not apply it yet and more research is needed to make all pieces of the puzzle fall together. But I like to share some of these insights, because I know that your skin (and your health) can make a big difference.
In the past (and within the Eastern medicine), the skin was looked very well to see what someone had among the members. But nowadays it is a bit different. Do you have eczema? Then we will smear a greasy cream and corticosteroids. Is your skin covered with pimples? Then we give antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Apart from the fact that an antibiotic does not distinguish between ‘bad’ and ‘good’ bacteria, and as a result the balance in the whole body is disturbed, there is the danger of resistance. I therefore increasingly disagree with this approach. I think that we should therefore be very careful and cautious about using antibiotics.
But more importantly: it is, in my view, a fallacy to look at the outside of skin conditions only. Because if your skin now reflects your health, then only prescribing a cream. It’s like mopping with the tap open. And that is exactly what has emerged from literature in recent years; although skin care products and medicinal creams can help the skin to become healthy again, there is often also an underlying cause for skin problems.
A very good example is acne. Research shows that in acne there is an inflammatory process of the skin and an enhanced immune response. Basically: you respond, as it were, ‘allergic’ and very violently to things that another person can easily handle. For example, we kill bacteria in acne where someone without acne can live without symptoms. You actually see the same phenomenon in rosacea. Although rosacea is related to the presence of demodex mites, they occur in almost everyone. But in people with rosacea they really cause problems; their skin reacts excessively violently!
Although it is sometimes useful to disable these ‘triggers’, it is perhaps much more useful to ensure that your body reacts less violently. For example, you can help your skin become strong and strong again so that it can defend itself. You can do this by restoring the natural balance, for example by hydrating and using anti-inflammatory and barrier-repairing ingredients. But that is not enough in many cases. Research has shown that this exaggerated violent immune response takes place not only in the skin but in the entire body. And the same research shows that in many cases there is chronic inflammation and an enhanced immune response in the body.
Where does that chronic inflammation come from?
There can be many reasons for a disruption of the balance in your immune system and the emergence of a chronic state of inflammation, and thus also of problems of your skin. A wrong diet, antibiotics, overweight, smoking, too little sleep and a lot of stress can all contribute to this story. But I want to go deeper into one cause. And that cause lies with the intestine; an imbalance of the good and bad bacteria in the gut and the so-called ‘leaky gut’ can cause a lot of problems. Time and time again it is shown that these intestinal problems often occur in people with acne and rosacea.
It’s a complicated story, but when it’s rumbling in your gut, a whole cascade of events can cause your body (and skin) to respond very violently to anything and everything. Moreover, that can also affect your hormone function, with all the consequences.
It is really worthwhile to think about this, especially since research has shown that after treatment of the bowel also the skin refurbishes. Although there are few doctors who explicitly look at this, I do have advice for you. If you suffer from acne or rosacea, do not just treat your outside, but also try to get your inside in order again …
These are my tips:
Check the intestines: If you have skin problems and a lot of bowel problems, then let’s find out if there is an underlying reason for your gut complaints.
Nutrition and lifestyle:
Even without intestinal complaints, it may be that your body is in a chronic state of inflammation; whether or not caused by the condition of your gut. Try to find out if you can restore your body. For example, like this:
> Eat a diet with as few bad carbohydrates as possible, and do not drink alcohol
> For some people, gluten and milk products can be a problem. Try to reduce them for a while to see what it does to you
> Ensure adequate sleep, exercise and relaxation
> Choose good fats and avoid bad fats (saturated fatty acids and trans fats).
> Add enough vegetables and fiber to your diet
> If you think that with your current diet and lifestyle you do not get enough vitamins and useful substances taking extra vitamin D or probiotica can help. Keep in mind this is a short term solution. So check before you do this your blood values with your doctor.
> take your time, If you want to try and get things back on track, try this for at least four weeks, but preferably a little longer, and in the meantime look closely at your plan of action with your skin (and your body). If you are serious about this and combine it with a barrier repair and anti-inflammatory skin care plan, I think you are very happy that you have made an attempt. Not only for your skin, but also for your health!