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Oily Skin and Gut Health: How Can Gut Health Affect Your Skin and Why?

January 13, 2022

Gut health and skin: poor gut health can lead to an abundance of skin concerns, such as oily skin. Discover how to improve gut health.

Author: Isabella Dockery & Georgie Falcone

Reading time: 6 minutes

Having skin problems such as oily skin can often be a sign of poor gut health. The connection between gut health and skin demonstrates how our microbiome affects our appearance. By addressing the causes of problematic skin, and learning how to heal your gut, you can drastically improve the look of your skin long-term.

Does Gut Health Affect Skin?

Yes, your gut health and skin are directly linked. If you have an unhealthy gut, your skin will likely show it. In fact, scientists have found a connection between gut health and skin concerns such as acne, rosacea, and eczema¹. Therefore, if your skin is inflamed, broken out, or irritated, it is likely that there is an imbalance in your gut.

Having an imbalance in your gut’s microbiome can also cause oily skin. This occurs when one of your microbiota occurs with more frequency in the gut. Having an inequality in gut microbiota can affect your skin’s microbiome, due to the gut-skin axis. The gut-skin axis is the connection between the gut and our skin. Therefore, this means that when the gut microbiome is unhealthy, there is a lack of regulation in our skin’s microbiome. As a result, this can trigger the skin to overproduce oil and can trigger acne breakouts due to a lack of microbes and metabolites (such as the anti-inflammatory retinoic acid)

What Causes Oily Skin?

Oily skin is caused by the overproduction of sebum. Sebum is important in maintaining hydration and protecting the skin, and is produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin. However, while some sebum is good, an overproduction of sebum can lead to oily and greasy skin.

Having oily skin can trigger other skin problems, particularly acne. Generally, people with oily skin are more prone to acne since the oil on the face can trap dead skin, dirt and bacteria. This causes inflammation, breakouts, and blackheads, and will happen more frequently than for someone with non-oily skin.

Why Is My Skin So Oily?

Your skin may be oily due to several factors, including genetics, diet, hormones, or your environment.

A poor diet can lead to oily skin, as certain foods can influence our natural hormones and stimulate oil production. For example, sugar and dairy trigger high insulin levels that stimulate a hormone that causes oil production. In addition, these hormonal changes can be due to a lack of sleep, stress, or natural changes throughout the hormone cycle.

As well as diet and hormones, another cause of oily skin is your environment. If you live in a humid and hot climate, your skin will likely be oilier than someone living in a colder area. This is due to the high temperatures triggering overproduction of sebum causing that overly shiny skin we all try and avoid.

How to Stop Oily Skin and How to Treat It? The Best Skincare Products for Oily Skin

The best skincare products for oily skin will clear away excess oil without causing dryness. This is particularly important to prevent your skin from producing more oil to compensate for the dryness it is now experiencing. Using a cleanser for oily skin that contains lactic acid is beneficial since it helps to control oiliness by balancing excess sebum production. PCA Skin's Facial Wash Oily/Problem is an effective option, since it contains lactic acid and will wash away dead skin and oil, while preventing breakouts and clearing your pores.

The best type of face cream for oily skin is a lightweight gel moisturiser, such as Indeed Lab’s Hydraluron Moisture Jelly. The jelly texture of this moisturiser makes it perfect for oily, and dry-oily skin. Containing hydrating hyaluronic acid, this product draws moisture into the skin, thereby reducing the amount of oil your face produces.

Additionally, a great sunscreen for oily skin is Heliocare’s Gel Oil-Free SPF-50. This product is oil-free and, thanks to dry-touch technology, doesn’t have that greasy sunscreen feeling that can aggravate your oily skin.

Finally, an excellent face mask for oily skin is the PCA Skin Detoxifying Mask. This treatment contains white charcoal and kaolin that absorbs oil, while tea tree oil detoxifies the skin thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. This face mask treats your oily skin by reducing the amount of oil on your face and neutralising bacteria that can cause oily skin acne to appear.

What Are the Symptoms of an Unhealthy Gut?

The gut microbiome contains bacteria, yeast and other microbiota that balance each other and keep our gut healthy. An unhealthy gut, or dysbiosis, occurs when these micro-organisms are out of balance. For example, after taking antibiotics your levels of gut bacteria might be low in comparison to your gut yeast and other microorganisms. Having an unhealthy gut can manifest in a number of ways. Fatigue and disturbed sleep, as well as stomach irritation are linked to an unhealthy gut. Most prominently, an unhealthy gut is visible through the appearance of the skin. Eczema, acne and oily skin are all signs of an unhealthy gut.

How to Improve Gut Health Naturally?

To improve your gut health, you should restore the balance in your microbiome. Taking supplements such as ZENii Probiotics is the quickest and most effective way to introduce missing microbiota and restore harmony in your gut microbiome. These probiotics contain 20 billion friendly bacteria, in 8 different strains! They are extremely effective at clearing and calming the skin, and improving your overall health.

Unfortunately, the gut is an under-researched area. However, the most proven way to help reduce gut sensitivity is dietary change. Taking supplements or following a healthy or specialised diet has been shown to help eliminate symptoms of gut-related problems. Likewise, topical skincare products will not be 100% effective if your gut health isn't in tact. Therefore, you must tackle it at the root cause.

Avoiding foods that are damaging to gut health will also improve your skin’s oiliness.

What Are the Worst Foods for Gut Health?

Red meat, processed foods, dairy, soy, and eggs are foods considered bad for gut health. As well as this, alcohol and sugary drinks should be avoided.

Reducing your intake of dairy and other animal products will help your gut health. Cutting down on processed foods or sugars will also improve your microbiome as these can irritate your gut.

As well as avoiding these foods, introducing prebiotic and probiotic foods to your diet will benefit your gut. Prebiotic foods include beans, bananas, berries, garlic, onions and leeks help to restore your gut balance. Furthermore, fermented drinks such as kombucha are probiotic. This will introduce good bacteria into the gut to maintain your microbiota levels, and minimise oil production.

To conclude, taking care of your gut health is vital for healthy skin. Thankfully, with the correct dietary changes, and supplements, you can heal your gut. As well as this, you can overcome skin conditions such as overly oil skin.

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