I recently joined John Lewis and Lancôme at the event, Glow From The Inside Out, to speak about how skin and gut health are intertwined. If you didn’t manage to catch me speaking, these were some of the most asked questions that popped up about the gut’s connection to our skin.
Is our skin appearance a good indicator of what is going on within our gut?
There’s growing evidence that there is a two-way conversation going on between our microbes and our skin (just like with the brain). What we eat and how we treat our GM often plays out on our skin, as you may have witnessed after a few days of not eating many plant-based foods or having one too many glasses of prosecco.
The skin is our largest organ and one of its most important roles is to protect us, including helping with skin healing and communicating with our skin’s immune cells so it really does rely on how we treat it and what we feed it to keep it alive too. In the same way that our gut thrives when we feed it more diversity, our skin is considered healthier when it has a more diverse collection of microbes. One study has recently shown that our skin microbes could fairly closely predict our age, so it is thought they are involved not only in skin barrier protection but ageing too.
Is there anything that can we can specifically change to help improve our skin’s microbiome?
It’s early days in the research in terms of how we can manipulate our skin microbes to help prevent and manage skin conditions and healthy skin, but there is some promising science coming out about topical microbiome skincare.
Lancôme is doing a great job by carrying out the hard science and testing their range in independent clinical trials to test these benefits on skin barrier protection and ageing. There’s still so much we don’t know, but more studies are underway and researchers are investigating more targeted solutions to improve our skin microbiome.
We do know that diet is really key to good skin health. In particular, foods high in flavonoids such as green tea, cocoa, and fresh fruit and veg – these have been shown to benefit our skin’s appearance in clinical trials thanks to their antioxidant powers!
What small everyday changes can we make to improve our gut microbiome?
- Three small changes that you can make, which have really helped my gut health too, are:
- Eat more plants, aim for 30 a week to keep your GM as diverse as possible – this relates to your skin health too!
- Chew your food well, aim for 10-20 chews per mouthful.
- Destress! Take a walk outside (this is great for your gut too) or practice mindfulness. Even 15 mins a day with a mindfulness/meditation app can make a huge difference and relax a stressed gut. Remember everything is linked – gut:brain:skin axis!