When something is off with your skin, you usually have the standard list of things to blame: your period, the weather, stress, your skincare products — the list is endless, but there is something big that you could be missing. Did you know that your skin actually needs probiotics and that your gut health can impact your skin? I spoke to the founder of an Australian beauty brand focused on nourishing your skin from the inside to find out exactly what can go wrong, and what we need to do to fix it. Basically, this is going to change everything you thought you knew about skin care.
You've probably heard a lot about pre- and probiotics, but you may have thought they applied more to your health or immune system than to your face — but that's not entirely true. I spoke with Carla Oates, founder of The Beauty Chef, who believes that your complexion starts with nourishing your skin from the inside first. (Which makes sense, because you are what you eat, right?)
She created a line comprised of nutrient-dense supplements, balms, and elixirs for your skin, all of which are organic and fermented to increase bioavailability, and naturally enhanced with pre- and probiotics. But if you don't know much about gut health to begin with, all of this sounds a little confusing, so let's get down to the basics.
Here's what you need to know about how your gut health affects your skin.
1. Gut Health Is Key To Radiant Skin
You want "glowing" skin? No amount of expensive moisturizers or oils will do it unless you're healthy internally first. "The gut is where 70 precent of the immune system lies, where hormones are metabolized, where enzymes are detoxified, and where nutrients are made. So much of what occurs in the digestive system directly impacts your skin. Hair, skin, and nails are the last parts of the body to receive nutrients, as these nutrients go to more vital organs first. Fermented foods like the ones contained in The Beauty Chef products provide you with dense, super charged nutrition that fosters glowing skin," Oates said.
2. You Need Pre- & Probiotics
Hydration Inner Beauty Boost, $39.95, thebeautychef.com
When the bad bacteria in your gut outnumbers the good bacteria, you'll experience any number of skin problems (acne, premature aging, dull skin, etc.), in addition to other health problems. "One of the best ways to help this is to take probiotics — beneficial bacteria that help keep your gut in good health, especially when taken in conjunction with pre-biotics, which promote the growth of good bacteria," Oates said.
3. Think Topical
Skin Refiner, $69.95, thebeautychef.com
Though you can take pre- and probiotic pills, many are synthetic, so it's putting unnatural material into your body. Instead, go topical. Topical probiotics, like the ones in Oates' line, "work to balance, hydrate, and improve the skin’s texture. The Lactobacillis probiotics found in the refiner help balance the skin’s natural flora, strengthen the skin’s barrier system, and boost the skin’s immune health."
4. Look For Warning Signs
So how do you know if your gut health is out of whack? There are a few warning signs to look for. According to Oates, "If you’re not receiving enough nutrients or digesting food properly due to poor gut health, your skin will start to starve. This affects skin elasticity and collagen production, and will result in dull, lackluster skin with poor tone."
5. Change Your Diet
If you think your gut health is suffering, in addition to implementing probiotics into your skincare routine, you're going to need to change up your diet as well. "For digestive systems to be happy and to also create an ideal environment for good bacteria to thrive, it’s important to eat organic, pesticide-free foods, unprocessed, whole foods, and lots of greens. Most importantly, add fermented foods to your diet! Lacto-fermented foods boost immunity, help your body make detoxifying enzymes, create nutrients, metabolize hormones, improve digestion, and create probiotics that help detoxify your system. These are the factors that make your skin glow," Oates said.
Images: The Beauty Chef