Beauty, Food, 11.05.2016

Friendly Bacteria for Glowing Skin

In a world of antibacterial soaps, facial cleansers, steroids for eczema, the contraceptive pill for acne in teenage girls… the idea that bacteria could actually help with skin issues and give you a lovely complexion might seem ridiculous… but Joanna Lutyens, the nutritional therapist at OptiBac Probiotics explains why this is actually the case.

In a world of antibacterial soaps, facial cleansers, steroids for eczema, the contraceptive pill for acne in teenage girls… the idea that bacteria could actually help with skin issues and give you a lovely complexion might seem ridiculous… but Joanna Lutyens, the nutritional therapist at OptiBac Probiotics explains why this is actually the case.
Your skin is your protective layer on so many levels. It waterproofs you, defends you from infection, helps you cool down and is your largest detoxification organ. It is also part of your emotional defence. People express themselves via skin by for example a tattoo or makeup, but your skin, especially on your face, can also reveal your physical and emotional state. Skin can make you feel very vulnerable when it’s not in a healthy condition and likewise it can make you feel confident when glowing and vital.
There is a growing awareness that it is not just what you put on your skin that matters, (although that matters too) but what you eat that ultimately affects your skin condition. Whether it is being nourished or battling a level of toxins or inflammation in the body can make a huge difference to your skin’s appearance.
Now, there is no point in eating a great diet and juicing like crazy if your digestive system is not processing it properly and absorbing all those beneficial vitamins and minerals vital for healthy glowing skin, and this where probiotics can help. The level of good gut bacteria directly influences the efficiency of your digestion and also the absorption of your nutrients. Eating healthily will certainly contribute to gut health but if your gut bacteria is imbalanced (dysbiosis) – which can happen for many reasons – and there is not enough good bacteria to combat the pathogenic bacteria, nutrient absorption may be severely impaired.

Another process so many people do not appreciate is that digestion and liver detoxification is intricately linked. Your liver has the big job of detoxifying medications, sugar, alcohol, coffee, cholesterol and other bi-products of metabolism. It breaks down these molecules and returns them to the system to be reabsorbed into the gut and excreted. The liver needs a lot of nourishment to perform this process – B vitamins, magnesium and protein among others. If your digestive absorption is impaired the liver won’t get the nourishment it requires to go through the detoxification process. The elimination of waste is also really important so our gut needs to be in tip top absorbing condition. A build up of toxins in our gut and liver tends to be expressed as acne or spots and a lack of vitality in our skin. Constipation will also affect your skin, so eat more fibre, drink more water and do more exercise to alleviate this. Probiotics can also help.

A good level of friendly bacteria has also been shown to have a very positive influence on eczema. Again it’s all about the right balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria and how this influences gut wall integrity and therefore intestinal permeability. If the gut wall is damaged in any way, particles that would not normally get through into the blood stream do and can cause an inflammatory response, which can result in eczema. As mentioned the skin is an expression of internal health and eczema can also flare up when you’re stressed. You may not be aware that stress can have a detrimental effect on the gut flora and digestion in general, but findings have shown particular strains of bacteria to help modulate stress and anxiety lessening the affect on the body.

But whether you suffer from acne, eczema or otherwise, everybody wants healthy glowing skin to be proud of. A lack of decent nutrition doesn’t help and there are many things we can do to encourage our skin to become more radiant: drinking more water, eating plenty of vegetables and proteins and foods containing zinc, biotin, vitamin A and E and Omega 3s. Taking probiotics can enhance your digestion and absorption of food. Protect your skin from the sun and reconsider your skin care products. Your skin absorbs everything you put onto it; so non-natural skin care products are essentially giving your liver more chemicals to process. And finally don’t forget to breathe! Gentle exercise will not only bring a little oxygen and colour into your cheeks but will also help improve digestion which as we now know is all important for a beautiful glow.

Happy health

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