Benefits of Probiotics for Skin - The Gut Skin Connection

by Raychel Agramon, RN, MPM, February 17, 2020

benefits of probiotics for skin

Know benefits of probiotics for skin, food fads come and go – but there is one thing that will most likely stay: Probiotics. These good microorganisms are not only beneficial to your gut, they can also help address your pesky skin problems as well.   

benefits of probiotics for skin

The Gut-Skin Axis

Although the stomach is far away from the skin – they are connected with one another through the gut-skin axis. The gut and skin have the same nature since both of them help defend the body from foreign attackers. The stomach activates acids to kill bacteria, while an intact skin prevents organisms from going inside the body.

The gut and skin are also part of the neuroendocrine messaging system. This means both structures have nerves that receive signals from the brain – and both can transmit these signals to other parts of the body.

Most importantly, the gut and skin both have distinct microbiomes – communities of good and bad bacteria. When dysbiosis or imbalance of this bacterial community occurs, illness is the result.  

True enough, because of the gut-skin axis, trouble in the gut might mean trouble on the skin surface too. 

The Connection Between Gut and Skin Disorders

With the gut-skin axis in play, it comes as no surprise that problems in the stomach have been associated with some skin conditions. This is made true by a study published in the International Journal of Colorectal Disorders. The authors, all from Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, have determined that “the gastrointestinal tract plays a role in the onset of dermatological problems.” 

The connection between the gut and skin is no new knowledge, it has been postulated some 80 years ago by Dr. John Stokes and Dr. Donald Pillsbury. Their breakthrough study – the forerunner of many – helped uncover the link between acne and the intestinal tract. 

According to the esteemed physicians, emotional disturbances such as anxiety and depression cause an imbalance in the gut microbiome (dysbiosis.) This then leads to intestinal permeability and systemic inflammation, the latter leading to the manifestation of acne.   


benefits of probiotics for skin

Probiotics: The Way to Clearer Skin 

Since a disturbance in intestinal bacteria may result in acne vulgaris, the best way to clear up the skin is to restore the balance of the gut microbiome.  

This is where benefits of probiotics for skin come into play. These good bacteria fight the bad bacteria that bring about all kinds of havoc to the gut. 

There are many probiotic strains out there, although there are only a few that have been scientifically proven to be effective. The foremost example is Lactobacillus rhamnosus, which is said to be beneficial for people who are suffering from acne. In a study conducted in Italy, supplementation with L. rhamnosus resulted in a 32% reduction in acne. 

  1. rhamnosus also brought skin improvements to patients with eczema and atopic dermatitis. To top all that, the same strain was said to be just as useful in reducing UV damage that can progress to skin cancer.

Apart from being known for reducing inflammatory skin conditions, probiotics may also help address other skin issues. Another strain, Lactobacillus paracasei, may help in maintaining the skin barrier. It may also help decrease skin sensitivity while boosting skin immunity against pathogenic invaders. 

The same effect was seen in Bifidobacterium longum, which may help strengthen the skin barrier. A reduction in skin sensitivity was said to occur with this probiotic as well.    

How to Achieve Radiant Skin with Probiotics

While getting rid of acne or other skin disorders may be done with probiotic supplementation, there is more to just that. You need to follow these other tips to make the most out of your probiotic supplements:

  • Improve your diet.
  • Eliminate processed, sugary, and starchy food from the diet since they almost always lead to breakouts. Replace them with good probiotic alternatives, such as frozen yogurt or Kefir pudding.

    Make sure to increase your fiber intake as well. Fiber is rich in prebiotics – indigestible starches that serve as food for probiotics. These can help boost the health of your good bacteria – so they can stop the bad bacteria from ever proliferating.   

  • Get rid of gut disruptors.
  • As it has been mentioned, stress, anxiety, and other factors can lead to dysbiosis – a significant factor behind acne development. As such, it is best to avoid these triggers that can cause an imbalance in the gut microbiota. 

    If eliminating these disruptors is not possible, then do what you can to combat them. For example, take part in relaxation or meditation classes to control your anxieties. Get enough sleep to allow your gut and skin to recover. These activities might seem trivial to you, but they can help you achieve a healthy gut, as well as flawless skin.  

    The gut and the skin might be far apart, but they share a connection that can influence your overall health. If your foremost goal is to achieve clear, blemish-free skin, then make sure to stock up on probiotics – organisms that keep your gut microbiome healthy.