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Acne is tough. It can affect your self confidence and there is always the fear that it will scar especially if you are prone to picking and squeezing at those nasty little pimples. Obviously, everyone knows it is best to leave them alone but sometimes it is just so tempting to try to pop them.  There is an entire section of the beauty industry dedicated to preventing and eliminating acne. They are usually topical agents including creams, gels, lotions and washes which are applied to the skin. Many contain ingredients which may help to treat acne especially if it is fairly mild. However, did you know that good skin often begins in your gut? That is right there is a direct relationship between clear skin and the health of the bacteria in your gut.  When you have issues with your gut you will often see a change in your skin also. One study even found that irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is far more prevalent in people with acne than those without. The people with IBS also had more severe acne.  An increasing number of dermatologists are now suggesting their patients take probiotics.

Probiotics can help to keep your skin looking great because they calm internal and external inflammation. They help to reinstate the skin’s barrier function. They even provide protection from damaging environmental particles.

Often acne will flair up as a result of your gut’s balance being thrown off. When there is an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut it will often manifest as acne on your skin. Also, when then balance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria in your gut is off the intestinal lining can get damaged which allows irritating substances to get into your bloodstream. This triggers your immune system and can cause inflammation throughout your body.  A daily multi strain probiotic is an excellent way to ensure that the lining of your digestive tract is smooth and robust.

The gut can affect skin health through what is referred to as the gut-skin-axis. 70% of your immune cells are located in the gut so the gut microbes can affect the function of immune cells. Hopefully this results in an escalation in the production of anti-inflammatory messengers called cytokines and a decrease in the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. An imbalance of good and bad bacteria called dysbiosis in the gut is often present in acne and can have negative impacts on your immune responses. As a result of dysbiosis, inflammation or infection in the gut, the gaps between the cells lining the gut get bigger and result in what is known as “leaky gut.” When there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria it can damage the gut wall and the contents of the gut leak through this unusually permeable lining. This can cause an immune cell response, triggering inflammation in the body that can lead to the development of acne. Bacterial by-products can also get through these gaps in the gut wall lining and enter the bloodstream to the skin where they can dry and harden the skin. Probiotics hinder the growth of harmful bacteria and make the gut wall lining stronger.

Sometimes a doctor or dermatologist may prescribe antibiotics to help clear up acne. Unfortunately, while this often wipes out harmful bacteria it kills off good bacteria too. Antibiotics are unable to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy bacteria.  Probiotics can repopulate the good bacteria to ensure a balanced gut post medicine.

Stress is a common cause of acne. When your body responds to stress cortisol which is the primary stress hormone is released into the bloodstream. It can bind to receptors in the skin and cause elevated sebum production and inflammation. Stress can also cause dysbiosis in the gut. Probiotics can help to manage this and keep both your gut and skin healthy.

A daily probiotic as well as drinking plenty of water can help keep your gut healthy, your bowel movements regular and your skin acne free.

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