So what has your gut got to do with your Skin health?

About 70% of the body’s immune system can be found in our digestive tract! These cells have complex mechanisms for our protection and optimum immune function depends on the diversity of our gut bacteria!  Likewise, the skin performs a barrier function for protection and temperature regulation. Like the gut lining it undergoes constant renewal. It is a major organ housing many immune cells. It appears changes in the gut and therefore immune system affect the skin in various which If will explore.  (1)

The Gut

Research supports having a diverse range of gut bacteria to promote health, this is due to synergistic relationship we have with them! The bacteria produce energy in to support the gut function and nutrients like Vitamin B and k. (2)They also eat the fibre we cannot digest causing fermentation that produces by-products called Short chain Fatty Acids (SCFA’s) which have some control over immune function.  They also regulate the intestinal environments by strengthening the intestinal wall which is a important barrier against intruders. (3)

Unfortunately, stress, antibiotics, processed foods and fats disturb the delicate balance and this affects our immune system increasing our risk for chronic inflammation and skin issues!  (4)

Skin Influencer

The gut microbiome appears to influence the skin microbiome as the by-products  Short chain Fatty Acids (SCFA’s) are believed to play a crucial role in determining the dominance of certain skin microbes which influence the skins immunity.


  • Immune cells communicate with each other potentially causing an inflammatory response in both gut and skin if the bacterial balance is shifted!


  • By- products of the ‘good’ bacteria can suppress immune responses and regulate activation and cell death. Like taking out the internal garbage!(5)


  • The intestinal microbiota influences ‘signaling pathways’ that synchronizes the epidermal formation and skin homeostasis.


  • Disturbed intestinal barriers, bacteria and microbiota by-products may access the bloodstream, accumulate and disrupt skin balance. (6)


  • The inhibition of inflammation promotes the rise of regulatory cells involved in various skin functions including regulation of hair follicle stem cells and wound healing. (7)

A direct link has been seen between inflammatory skin conditions and the gut as the DNA of intestinal bacteria was seen in the blood of patients with psoriasis. Many links are established with bowel disease and are just beginning to be explored.  (8,9).

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  1.  Salem I, Ramser A, Isham N, Ghannoum MA. The gut microbiome as a major regulator of the gut-skin axis [Internet]. Vol. 9, Frontiers in Microbiology. Frontiers Media S.A.; 2018 [cited 2020 Aug 5]. Available from:
  2.   Kho ZY, Lal SK. The human gut microbiome – A potential controller of wellness and disease [Internet]. Vol. 9, Frontiers in Microbiology. Frontiers Media S.A.; 2018 [cited 2020 Aug 26]. Available from:
  3.    Short Chain Fatty Acid – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics [Internet]. [cited 2020 Sep 10]. Available from:
  4.   Cao C, Xiao Z, Wu Y, Ge C. Diet and skin aging—from the perspective of food nutrition [Internet]. Vol. 12, Nutrients. MDPI AG; 2020 [cited 2020 Aug 6]. Available from:  doi: 10.3390/nu12030870
  5. Poretsky RS, Sabree ZL, Chassaing B, Bernstein CN, Forbes JD, van Domselaar G. The Gut Microbiota in Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Diseases. 2016; Available from:
  6.  Meisel JS, Sfyroera G, Bartow-Mckenney C, Gimblet C, Bugayev J, Meisel JS;, et al. Commensal microbiota modulate gene expression in the skin Recommended Citation. [cited 2020 Sep 10]; Available from:
  7.  Samuelson DR, Welsh DA, Shellito JE. Regulation of lung immunity and host defense by the intestinal microbiota [Internet]. Vol. 6, Frontiers in Microbiology. Frontiers Media S.A.; 2015 [cited 2020 Sep 10]. p. 1085. Available from:
  8. Ely PH. Is psoriasis a bowel disease? Successful treatment with bile acids and bioflavonoids suggests it is. Clinics in Dermatology. 2018;36(3).
  9.   Padhi T, Garima. Metabolic syndrome and skin: Psoriasis and beyond. Indian Journal of Dermatology. 2013 Jul;58(4):299–305.