It’s safe to assume that if you suffer from acne, you want to try everything to clear up your skin.
Unfortunately, it is becoming harder to know what works and what doesn’t.
Medicated washes, creams and antibiotics are popular choices, but what about natural alternatives such as essential oils, honey or cider vinegar? Some swear by baking soda while others struck gold when they tried cleansing with turmeric. Some websites even advocate using magnets to treat acne. In that sense, natural acne remedies are hit and miss, since what works for some doesn’t necessarily work for others.
We wanted to shed some light on a new natural way to combat acne: the probiotic approach.
The Gut-Skin Link
It’s common to experience digestive issues like constipation, an irritable bowel or even ulcers after a period of stress or depression. But did you know skin conditions can also be connected to stress and an altered gut flora?
Seventy years ago, dermatologists studied the connection between the gut, the brain and the skin. They suggested that intestinal problems induced by mental disorders like stress or anxiety could promote acne.
This is because of your gut flora, the complex community of microorganisms that live in your digestive tract. These beneficial bacteria help you digest food, fight off harmful viruses, protect your immune system and support your overall physical and mental health.
But intestinal microflora can be disturbed by a depressed or stressed mental state. Dermatologists suggest that stress-induced alterations to gut flora can set the stage for systemic and local skin inflammation. Another study reports that acne patients are more likely to experience digestive problems.
Basically, the less good bacteria you have living in your digestive system, the more prone you become to acne. Which means you could clear up your skin by replenishing your good gut bacteria!
Probiotics to the Rescue
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria & yeasts that help with digestion and immunity. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the main two types of probiotics found in a healthy gut microflora. Ongoing studies show that these strains support the immune system and can help treat conditions like high cholesterol, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, lactose intolerance, and even skin conditions like acne.
So if you fancy a happier digestive tract, healthier body and clearer skin, it’s time to give probiotics a try!
All the Good Germs and Where to Find Them
Probiotics are almost synonymous with fermented dairy products, mainly yogurt or kefir. But different strains of probiotics are readily available in other delicious foods like miso paste, sauerkraut, Gouda cheese or sourdough bread. You can also find them in pickles & olives fermented without vinegar.
If you don’t fancy any of those foods, you can take a probiotic supplement. But with so many supplements on offer, it can be hard to decide which is best, so here are a few things to look out for.
Crunching Numbers: Choosing the Best Probiotic Supplement
Starting with the biggest number, your body naturally has about 100 trillion bacteria floating around at any given time. This should lessen your shock when you read numbers like 50 billion on probiotic supplement bottles.
Choose a probiotic supplement depending on what you are using it for. If you wish to treat a specific condition such as diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome, 15-45 billion is a good range. While if you’re using the supplement on a daily-basis to keep a healthy gut then go with lower counts such as 5-10 billion. In addition to the bacteria count, you should also look for the number of bacterial strains in the supplement. More strains provide more comprehensive support for your digestive system.
You can find more information here.
If it’s safe to eat, it’s safe to put on your skin. If you like this idea you might be interested in a topical approach to the probiotics against acne theory.
Cheap and easy to make, homemade masks pack a punch when it comes to nourishing skin and fighting off acne. Adding yogurt or the contents of a probiotic capsule will give your skin extra fighting power against acne causing bacteria. That’s because probiotic bacterial produce acidic compounds like lactic acid, which reduce your skin’s pH. This acidification discourages the growth of most pathogens and favors the growth of resident skin flora, helping to keep skin smooth and clear. In a study by Dermatology Times, creams containing extracts of Lactobacillus plantarum were found to reduce erythema and acne, so it might be time to put yogurt back on the menu.
For the Love of Yogurt
For a glowing, blemish-free you, give yogurt and other fermented foods a chance. Whether you have settled into a skin-cleansing routine or are still looking for one, adding probiotics to the mix will boost your acne fighting efforts. What’s more, a healthy digestive system will make the rest of your body happy!