Healthy Skin and Digestion

You are what you eat!  We’ve all heard that one, and it’s very true.  You are what you eat and what you are able to digest.

Believe it or not – your skin is very much affected by how well you are doing internally.  To keep your skin healthy, it is essential that we give a thought to how our digestion is doing.   Granted – not a thought most of us spend much time on.  But it is so important!  

Many skin problems are linked to poor digestion.  Sometimes you can eat very healthily, but for some reason, your tummy doesn’t digest properly and therefore your body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs.  

How can Poor Digestion Affect your Skin?


When we eat, the food goes into our stomach and that stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid (fancy name for stomach acid). This, together with digestive enzymes, “digests" our food.  But what happens if you don’t have enough stomach acid?  

  • You might be left feeling rather uncomfortable in the tummy area!
  • Bloating and flatulence is very common.
  • Your skin can look quite dull, resulting in either becoming too dry or oily or having an acne breakout.
  • Very often, a low stomach acid shows up as increased allergies.  Lots of sinus and post nasal drip.
  • Bad breath.
  • Rosacea. Red eruptions on the cheeks and nose may be the result of low stomach acid production.  There is also evidence that people with rosacea do not produce enough of the enzyme which helps with the digestion of fats (pancreatic lipase). (1)
  • Acne.
  • Hives.


Leaky gut sounds rather appalling, but let me explain.  Normally, in a healthy digestive system, the food gets broken down into large molecules and then enzymes break these molecules down into smaller molecules. Only these small molecules are allowed to pass through the gut.  Now, due to bad eating and drinking, stress, food allergies and the like, large molecules somehow pass through the gut walls when they shouldn’t.  The body reacts as if it were an enemy. This can affect your skin most unpleasantly. This may result in:

  • Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin)
  • Eczema
  • Allergies and candida
  • Very dry, red and scaly skin


I think that by now, most of us have heard of probiotics, or friendly gut bacteria.  We are told by the TV adverts to buy yogurts with live probiotics. But what exactly are these mysterious little miracle workers?

They all have long fancy sounding names (like Lactobacilli, L. acidophilus and their brother B. bifidum).  But what these microscopic things do is amazing.  They play a hugely important role in the prevention of and defence against diseases, particularly in the digestive tract.  They do a lot.  Let’s just leave it at that!  A healthy gut should consist of at least 85 percent Lactobacilli, but the typical colon today has more bad bacteria than good!  They are easily destroyed by antibiotics, bad diets, stress, certain medications and other toxins.  Not having enough good bacteria present in your gut could cause some of the following in your skin:

  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Yeast infections
  • Itchy skin, and rashes

7 Easy Steps to Improve your Digestion & get Glowing Healthy Skin

  1. Not the best news for some – but cutting back on or avoiding alcohol keeps your tummy happier and thereby keeps your skin healthier.
  2. Try avoid taking aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medications regularly.  They are very hard on the stomach lining and regular use may lead to leaky gut syndrome.
  3. If you are suffering from indigestion, try taking a digestive enzyme with each meal.  A good digestive enzyme supplement will also have Betaine in it.  This increases our stomach acid and helps break down the food in the stomach.
  4. Think about your diet.  If you are eating a lot of wheat, especially yeasted breads, try switch to wheat free foods instead.  Over consumption of wheat seems to be playing havoc on our digestions.  Try oat cakes instead. So many gluten free products are available these days. Try rice noodles or buckwheat pasta (which is actually wheat free in spite of its name).  Experiment with foods you haven’t tried before and have fun! Here are the gluten allergy symptoms to look out for. 
  5. Eat plenty of fibre rich foods. Chronic constipation has a dreadful effect on our skins.  Often bad skin on your forehead area is an indication that you might need to get things moving (if you know what I mean) and improve your digestion.
  6. Eat fermented foods!!! This type of food actually grows our good bacteria in our gut.  Fermented foods are things like the Korean Kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, pickles and kombusha.
  7. Eat seeds and fish.  They have essential fatty acids, which are natural anti inflammatories for the digestive tract.

So the next time you lean back at the dinner table, rubbing your full belly uncomfortably – spare a thought for your digestion!

Implementing some of these suggestions could really improve your health as well as give you a healthy, glowing (and younger looking!!!) skin!


1. Barba, A et al. Pancreatic exocrine function in rosacea, Dermatologica Vol 165. 1982 : s.n.

2. Solving your skin problems by Patrick Holford and Natalie Savona, 2001

3.  Prescription for Nutritional Healing, edition 4, Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, 2006

4.  Encyclopaedia of nutritional supplements, by Michael T Murray, N.D. 2001

5.  Encyclopaedia of natural medicine, by Michael Murray N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno N.D. 1998

6.  New optimum nutrition bible, by Patrick Holford 2004

Other pages on remedies for skin in connection to this page

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