When I first started experiencing acne 10+ years ago, I thought for sure that as long as I found the right product, my skin would clear up. I don’t have sensitive skin whatsoever, so when it comes to trying products, I’ve done it all. However after trying just about everything, experiencing only short bouts of success and doing years and years of research, I’ve come to realize that products can’t really do that much.
If you have hormonal acne or adult acne, your body is trying to tell you something. Something internally is off. It doesn’t matter how much you wash your face, how clean your products are, or what kind of 3-step system you are using. If you aren’t healing the inside you will never heal the outside.
As I continue my research and hunt for the real culprit of my acne, I’ve come across a lot of studies showing a connection between acne and gut health. The reason for this connection is because our gut health has a lot to do with our overall health. Basically if your gut isn’t healthy, you aren’t healthy.
Gut Health & Why It Matters
The gut is often referred to as the “2nd brain” because it pretty much operates our entire digestive system. It decides when to expel waste, move food and when to release hormones. Your gut determines what nutrients are absorbed as well as what is kept out. It pretty much does it all, which is why an unhealthy gut can lead to a lot of health issues. Some of these issues that may be caused by an unhealthy gut are:
- Digestion problems such as IBS and bloating…just to name a few
- Skin irritations – such as acne and eczema (my two biggest issues)
- Stress and anxiety
- Autoimmune conditions
As you can see, our gut does A LOT. So how exactly does our gut become unhealthy? There are many things that can cause an unhealthy gut, but the biggest culprits seem to be the following.
Just like most other health issues we experience, our diet plays a huge part in how healthy our gut is. And of course, it’s the obvious things, like sugar and processed foods that have the biggest effect. However, food sensitivities that you may not even be aware you have, as well as so-called healthy foods that cause inflammation, play a huge role in the health of our gut.
If you are anything like me, you never thought twice about popping an ibuprofen or two when you had a headache or any other pain. Turns out though, it’s not a good idea, especially when it comes to your gut health. Taking these types of medications can quickly cause serious damage to your gut lining.
Antibiotics are another type of medication that can wreak havoc on your gut by killing off the bacteria. Both the good kind and the bad.
We live in a very fast paced world, we work a lot and stress tends to be something we are all dealing with. Not that we didn’t know stress can lead to a lot of health issues, but it can also lead to an unhealthy gut. Lack of sleep, long work hours, always worrying about the next thing, it all affects how healthy our gut is.
How To Heal Your Gut
Since I am on this never-ending journey of trying to cure my acne, I’ve decided I need to start paying close attention to the health of my gut. There is not a doubt in my mind, if all this research I’ve come across is true, that my gut is far from healthy. The good news is, is that you can heal an unhealthy gut. For someone without chronic gut problems you could heal your gut in as little as 2-12 weeks. However if you have more serious issues, it could take up to 24 months.
A few ways to heal your gut…
Cut out food sensitivities
There are several foods that account for most sensitivities and those are dairy, gluten, soy and corn. Also cut out the sugar and processed foods, both of which are incredibly inflammatory. I’m not going to lie, sugar is my biggest weakness and it’s the one thing I’m forever trying to cut out of my diet. I don’t eat a ton of dairy, soy or corn, so I’m pretty sure sugar is a huge contributor for me.
Add gut friendly foods to your diet
Once you’ve eliminated the bad, you want to start adding in foods that will fill your gut with the good bacteria it needs. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, cultured yogurt, and kimchi are filled with probiotics that are great for your gut. Kombucha is another great option for adding more fermented options into your diet.
Sip on some Bone Broth
Bone broth has kind of had a moment over the past few years. If you are looking to heal your gut you’ll be recommended to sip on bone broth by anyone/everyone. Collagen powder is also a great option here because you can easily mix it into any of your drinks and get the benefits of supporting a healthy gut.
Take a High Quality Probiotic
We included Probiotics on our list of Vitamins for Women in Their 30s post and we are including it here as well. Our guts are filled with “good bacteria” (and a bit of bad). Probiotics is just another term for “good bacteria”. Taking a probiotic daily will help to keep the level of good bacteria where it needs to be.
I find managing stress to be just as hard as cutting sugar. But if you are wanting to heal your gut, stress needs to be managed and kept at bay as much as possible. Whether it’s taking time to meditate or working out, find what helps you de-stress and do that daily.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post…I’ll be sharing a recipe for the gut-healing smoothie I’ve been enjoying in the morning!