How Your Gut Health Affects Your Skin

Tracey Loughran, a New Zealand-based naturopath, nutritionist, skin health educator, and director of Taste Success, provides insight on how gut health affects the skin.

Your clients are regularly researching their skin health, and ways to improve it, and they will absolutely come across information on gut health and how it affects their skin. The perfect place for them to find great solutions to gut health issues is right where they get their skin treated – with you!

Our gut bacteria are largely unique to us – like a fingerprint. We host tens of trillions of microorganisms, of which only approximately 1/3 are common to all humans. So your gut is as unique as your skin, and putting the right things in is as important as what you put on your skin. Offering solutions to both, in-house, is not only a sensible path to support clients when dealing with a troublesome skin conditions – it’s what they are already looking for. 

What we know:

  • Where there is gut inflammation, there will likely be skin inflammation.
  • The intestinal barrier integrity plays a crucial role in protecting damaging microbes from entering the circulation and affecting skin health.
  • Both the gut and skin have a high turnover rate of cells, to protect against infection.
  • Healthier gut microbiomes produce a healthier fatty acid profile in the skin.
  • Diet has a vital role in the maintenance of healthy skin. Some foods are known to damage the intestinal lining; others support and repair it.

You will be dealing with conditions such as acne, psoriasis, rosacea, atopic dermatitis, and more. The gut has an intricate role in all of these conditions, for example:

  • Low firmicutes bacteria and high bacteriodetes bacteria in the gut have been shown to affect acne.
  • Studies have conclusively shown a gut dysbiosis association in patients with atopic dermatitis.
  • Atopic dermatitis patients have more genes encoding for release of molecules that damage the gut lining, and more Clostridium and E.Coli (triggering inflammation).
  • Streptococcus is highly associated with Psoriasis, along with Inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and coeliac disease.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and Coeliacs are more highly reported in those with rosacea, along with a reduction in microbial diversity. 
  • Age-related changes in our bacterial balance can cause increased inflammation, which can contribute to premature aging of the skin and body.

With modern testing, we can now isolate gut bacteria pertinent to skin conditions, and tailor treatments to rectify imbalances. Then grow a healthy microbiome with the best fuel ever – nutrition. Set yourself apart by becoming a go-to clinic for a holistic approach to skincare – treating it topically and internally. Not only will this enhance your results, but it will also improve your reputation as a clinic that cares about the wellbeing of your clients, improving customer retention, and attracting new ones.

As an advisor to the spa industry, I am excited by the not only the outcomes when we introduce gut health and nutrition solutions, but the potential. You’re making a difference not only to the aesthetic, but to the wellbeing of your clientele.  And that drives business. Simplifying the path forward for your clients is something they love.

Tracey Loughran, director of Taste Success, is a qualified naturopath and nutritionist with a passion for food as medicine. Tracey created the Taste Success done-for-you-nutrition programs to help you feel great, with a food-first approach to health. Using whole food recipes that are easy to prepare and nourishing, you’ll be taken on a journey to health via nutrition. All the thinking has been done for you with weekly plans that ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs to flourish. Having personally taken thousands of people through Taste Success programs, Tracey has seen the incredible outcomes that are possible with good nutrition and a compassionate coaching approach to change.

Loughran will be speaking at the upcoming IECSC New York, taking place March 3-5, 2024, at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. To learn more about Loughran's class (and get 20% off education classes using code AMERICANSPA), or to register to attend IECSC New York, click here.