Many of us will experience skin issues throughout our lives, but science is increasingly discovering that the cause isn't just whether or not you took your makeup off last night. It turns out that the gut microbiome, the collection of bacteria that live in our intestines and colon and help digestion, the immune system, and many other bodily functions, may have a serious role to play in the health of our skin. The connection is called the gut-skin axis, and it's received a lot of medical attention recently.
The microbial population that lives on the skin is key to its health; for instance, a study in 2014 found that microbes are essential to our ability to heal wounds. However, it can feel like a stretch to connect the microbes within us — which never make it out onto our skin surface — with our appearance as we look in the mirror each day. There are several ways in which, research suggests, imbalanced guts can make their presence felt on the skin, but this is a very early area of research and many other factors influence your skin too. Don't automatically go blaming your gut for a skin issue — but don't rule it out, either.