How Probiotics Benefit Skin

As probiotics continue to grow in popular demand, more people now know about the many benefits probiotic supplements have in the GI tract. What many people don’t know is that probiotics also offer numerous benefits that seemingly have little to do with gut health. One area where exciting research is growing is how probiotics can affect skin quality, and the results of clinical trials on probiotics’ ability to improve skin aging are extremely promising.

Probiotics -- The “Good” Bacteria Your Body Needs

Probiotics are the body-beneficial bacteria that live within the GI tract, typically cohabitating with some “bad” bacteria that can cause such issues as leaky gut, gas/bloating and general digestive discomfort, among others. In healthy people, 85% of bacteria living within the gut are health-sustaining probiotics, while bad bacteria make up approximately 15% of the microbiome. And although there are foods that contain probiotics, supplements are a preferred way to obtain the amount you need to restore a healthy balance and sustain this hospitable inner environment.

Poor diet, antibiotic overuse and stress, among other factors, can trigger an imbalance in gut flora. When the beneficial microflora drop in numbers, bad bacteria can be more opportunistic to thrive and cause illness. One proven way to reduce this risk is to restore the microbiome balance by taking a well-rounded probiotic supplement.

The "Gut-Skin Connection"

Imbalance in the microbiome can also actually influence systems throughout the entire body. Your skin is the body’s largest organ, and it’s connected to gut health, influenced in large part by the immune system and the body’s approach to detoxification.

Both the skin and the GI tract aid the body in the process of detoxification. An imbalance in microflora disrupts proper digestion, which can impact immune defense against pathogens that are sometimes present in food.

As much as 70% of the immune system lives in the gut, and when it is imbalanced, it may create higher susceptibility to colds and other viruses, and for some people, it could mean skin issues that are both uncomfortable and embarrassing. When it comes to skin, microflora imbalance can also create chronic inflammation throughout the entire body; this condition is a causative factor in acne and other skin issues.

Skin health can be affected by a wide variety of different factors, and the connection between gut health and the skin is often overlooked. Probiotics taken regularly can help restore the microbiome, resulting in possible reduction of symptoms, including those related to skin issues like acne and eczema.

4 Top Skin Benefits of Probiotics

Many people who start a probiotics regimen wonder what they should expect to see in terms of results. It’s important to remember that restoring balance to the microbiome takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. When combined with clean eating, plenty of sleep and regular exercises, however, probiotics can assist in tackling chronic skin issues.

Here are four of the top skin benefits associated with probiotics:

1. Wrinkle Prevention

Many people assume that wrinkles are genetic and simply can’t be avoided, but this isn’t the entire truth. Wrinkles are often a result of an excess of free radicals within the body, which can quickly lead to early signs of aging and do a significant amount of damage to the skin. Wrinkles are also the result of collagen breakdown.

2. Management of Common Skin Conditions

Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne affect millions of people worldwide; for many, these conditions are the source of embarrassment and add strain to personal interactions. A microflora imbalance in the gut is a common denominator, as science has shown. This imbalance causes a rise in inflammation, which itself is a key cause of skin condition flare-ups.

3. Strengthening the Skin Barrier

The skin serves as a barrier to protect the body. It works to keep toxins from entering. The gut microbiome is capable of directly influencing the skin barrier and its ability to ward-off unfriendly bacteria. One study showed that taking an L. paracasei strain improved skin barrier function and hydration in healthy female volunteers.

4. Clear Up Skin and Prevent Breakouts

Anyone who deals with breakouts knows just how uncomfortable they can be. Many acne flare-ups are thought to be associated with some foods that can cause inflammation. Because probiotics can assist in reducing inflammation throughout the body, they can promote clearer skin and lessening acne breakouts.

Additional Skincare Tips

While probiotics can be effective in helping to promote clearer skin, supplementation is most effective when combined with additional efforts to bolster skin health. Here are several ways you can help your probiotics work more effectively for skin support.

Ensure Proper Sun Protection

Everyone loves getting outside and soaking up some sun, but sun exposure can wreak havoc on the skin. Too much sun exposure for several years can lead to early development of wrinkles and spots, as well as increased risk for skin cancer. Wearing sunscreen on any sunny day – all year long – will help protect your skin and keep it more youthful – go for at least an SPF 15, say experts.

Avoid Scented Products

Scented creams and moisturizers may seem pleasant but if you are sensitive to the chemicals used to create the artificial scent, it’s best to use truly all-natural/organic products or unscented varieties.

Avoid Smoking

There are countless reasons to consider quitting smoking, as doing so can drastically improve practically every aspect of one’s health. One of the most noticeable changes that occurs after quitting smoking, however, is an improvement in overall skin health. Smoking can cause wrinkles and make your skin simply look older and more weathered than it actually is, thanks in large part to how tobacco smoke decreases blood flow. If you’re aiming to improve the quality of your skin but are still smoking, the best place to start is to quit today.

Eat a Healthy Diet

While the jury is out as to how diet and skin problems such as acne are linked to one another, there’s reason to believe that avoiding unhealthy fats and heavily processed carbohydrates may help to promote healthier, younger-looking skin. Vitamin C also seems to play a key role in preserving skin health; so besides losing some pounds and getting into shape, a diet loaded with fruits, vegetables and healthy, lean proteins has benefits to how your skin looks and feels.

Enjoy Clearer Skin with Probiotics

Combined with living a mindful lifestyle, probiotics can make a huge difference in overall health and wellbeing. By supplementing with probiotic formulas designed to restore balance to gut health and the microbiome, you may be able to enjoy clearer skin, naturally.
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