Everything that happens inside the body can impact the skin. You could say that our skin signals us to any unhealthy processes or imbalances that may be going on in our body. For example, the skin condition psoriasis usually presents itself as plaques of itchy and inflamed skin on various parts of the body. Recent research has found that this inflammation is signaling an imbalance of good bacteria in the body. And when such good bacteria as Bifidobacterium infantis is introduced back into the body, psoriasis plaques and inflammation symptoms start to improve.
This impact of bacterium in the body on the skin is associated with the gut-brain-skin axis theory. This theory states that when a person gets stressed or is exposed to a stressful situation either mentally, such as anxiety or depression, or physically such as UVB exposure or smoking exposure, the gut is impacted. These stressors can cause a rise in “bad” bacteria that can cause oxidative stress and in turn, damage to cells in the body. This damage can extend to the skin cells, which can cause inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, and psoriasis.
When you eat a highly processed food item that is low in nutrient value and high in additives and preservatives, this can cause such oxidative stress in the body’s cells. Preliminary research shows that some food additives used to preserve, flavor, or color food may cause such stress. Foods high in carbohydrates like sugar and flour may also increase the risk of inflammation in the body and skin.
Therefore, it is recommended to consume mostly anti-inflammatory foods that are rich in antioxidants. Examples of such foods include healthy fats like those found in fatty fish like salmon, nuts, seeds, and avocado, as well as antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables like berries, carrots, peppers, leafy greens, and grapes, to name a few.
Arck, P., et al. (2010). “Is there a ‘gut–brain–skin axis’?” Experimental Dermatology, 2010; 19: 401–405.
Dorier, M., et al. (2017) “Continuous in vitro exposure of intestinal epithelial cells to E171 food additive causes oxidative stress, inducing oxidation of DNA bases but no endoplasmic reticulum stress.” Nanotoxicology, Taylor & Francis, 2017.
Groeger, D., et al. (2013). “Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 modulates host inflammatory processes beyond the gut.” Gut Microbes, 4(4), 325–339. http://doi.org/10.4161/gmic.25487
Paula Neto, H.A., et al. (November 2017) “Effects of Food Additives on Immune Cells As Contributors to Body Weight Gain and Immune-Mediated Metabolic Dysregulation.” Frontiers in Immunology, https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.01478.
Vijayashankar, M. and Raghunath, N. (2012) “Pustular Psoriasis Responding to Probiotics- A New Insight.” Our Dermatology Online, 3(4): 326-328.