Is oily skin a sign of poor gut health? The probiotics that can help you

Many people are unaware of the importance of gut health to the body, and it’s not widely known that your lifestyle can easily damage the natural balance of the gut. A damaged gut means your body is not working in its correct balance and can lead to painful digestive issues, unintentional weight fluctuations, stress, poor sleep and skin problems. While it’s of course essential to lead a healthy balanced lifestyle and eat a nutritious diet, this is not always enough to heal your gut. Probiotics are an excellent way to restore the gut back to optimal health and in turn, will help to clear the skin. Oily skin indicates an internal imbalance and often requires you to heal your insides before healing your outside!

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Can gut health affect your skin?

The gut refers to the entire gastrointestinal tract that includes the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum. The primary functions of the gut are digestion, absorbing all the nutrients we consume and excreting waste. When the gut is not working properly, it has a huge impact on our overall health, which includes our skin.

Inflammation in the gut is caused by a poor diet, stress, certain antibiotics and alcohol consumption. This causes the microbe levels in the gut to become imbalanced, resulting in a state called dysbiosis. When the gut is healthy, ‘good’ bacteria aid digestion, stimulate the immune system, break down toxic food compounds, and synthesise vitamins and minerals. However, dysbiosis means that there are not enough ‘good’ bacteria to counteract the ‘bad’ bacteria, and the microbiome functions become impaired. Dysbiosis has been linked with digestive issues, poor concentration, mood swings and skin conditions like excessive oiliness or eczema and psoriasis.

Dermatologist Dr Young Bok Lee says that the skin ‘is the body’s largest organ and provides the first line of defence against external agents. The skin functions as both a physical and immunological barrier, performing a wide range of innate and adaptive immune functions. Resident skin microbes stabilise the host’s barrier by fighting off pathogens, interacting with immune cells in the skin, and modifying host immunity.

Research shows that inflammation in the gut from dysbiosis releases pro-inflammatory cytokines (‘bad’ bacteria) throughout the body, which results in different forms of skin inflammation.

If you are suffering from persistent skin issues including oiliness and acne, then it may be linked to your gut health.

Is oily skin a sign of poor gut health?

Research indicates that acne has close connections with the gut, as the gut microbiota are involved in the pathogenic processes of acne.

Dysbiosis can also lead to hormonal imbalances, especially with regards to the regulation of oestrogen levels. The gut contains microbes that are responsible for metabolising and processing oestrogen. Oestrogen is the most important hormone in maintaining healthy skin; it activates oestrogen receptors in skin cells to produce elastin and collagen, and to increase cell turnover.

oily skin

The characteristics of oily skin

Most dermatologists classify the skin into 5 different types: oily, normal, dry, combination and sensitive. If you have oily skin, you will usually feel shiny throughout the day around the T zone (oily forehead, oily nose or oily chin), have visibly large pores and be prone to breakouts.

Sometimes your ‘skin type’ will change according to the time of the year, for example many people experience oilier skin during the summer months and drier skin during the winter months. If so, it’s best to adjust your skincare routine accordingly (top up on moisturising products during the winter etc.)

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What causes greasy skin?

Oily skin is caused by excess oil on the face that produces a greasy appearance. Everyone has sebaceous glands under the pores in the skin, but for people with oily skin, the sebaceous glands produce too much oil, which is called sebum. When sebum builds up under the skin it clumps together with dead skin cells and clogs pores, which then swell up and push out the contents from under the skin, forming a spot on the surface. This is why people with oily skin are more prone to acne.

Oily skin is the product of many factors; genetics, your diet, stress levels, exercise, environmental factors, hormones, gut health and the skincare products you use.


How to get rid of oily skin?

In order to get rid of oily skin, you need to use products that are specially targeted towards your needs. These products should remove excess oil, minimise inflammation, balance sebum production and hydrate.

This is the best skincare routine for oily skin with products that actually work:

1. Cleanser for oily skin (face wash): PCA Skin Facial Wash Oily/Problem Skin.

2. Exfoliator for oily skin: PCA Skin Pore Refining Treatment.

3. Toner for oily skin: PCA Skin Hydrating Toner.

4. Serum for oily skin: iS Clinical Super Serum Advance.

5. Face cream/Moisturiser for oily skin: Endocare Gelcream

6. Oil for oily skin: Indeed Labs Clearify Facial Oil.

7. Sunscreen for oily skin: iS Clinical Extreme Protect SPF 30

At night, use this night cream for oily skin: Endocare Cellpro Cream

Every once and a while, you can use these face masks for oily skin: PCA Skin Detoxifying Mask or BiRetix Mask. And this oily skin treatment: Osmosis Vitamin A Infusion.


How do you reset your gut?

Healing yourself on the inside will yield a healthy, glowing exterior (both mentally and physically). This is the best way to get rid of oily skin and will help the products listed above work properly!

In order to heal your gut and restore its natural microbiome levels, follow these steps below.

1. Eat a healthy balanced diet

Nutrition is of course the most important way we can influence our health. The best diet to reduce the overproduction of oil in the skin is one rich in nutritious, unprocessed foods that focuses on key vitamins and minerals. Dermatologists recommend staying away from foods like dairy, refined sugar, saturated fats and fizzy drinks for optimum skin health, because they are classed as ‘allergens’ commonly linked to skin issues like acne and inflammation.

The best foods for improving skin complexion are those high in vitamins A, C and E (fruits, vegetables, eggs and plant-oils), omega-3 essential fatty acids (fish, nuts, seeds), vitamins B2 and B3 (whole wheat products like brown bread and pasta, wholegrains (rice), breakfast cereals, avocadoes, peanuts, mushrooms and potatoes).

Dysbiosis is caused by a poor diet high in artificial sweeteners, too much sugar, saturated fats and excess alcohol. These ingredients interfere with the gut bacteria and disrupt the microbial balance. Think of it as a cycle: bad diet – unhealthy gut – unhealthy body – unhealthy skin. All the vitamins and minerals you are eating will not be effectively absorbed by the gut if it’s not working properly.

2. Consume probiotics (‘good’ bacteria)

These are either available in supplement form, or in fermented foods like sourdough bread, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso and yogurt.

This will also help with other gut issues including digestive issues, poor concentration, mood swings, skin conditions and a proneness to getting ill.

3. Move your body

This does not have to be super rigorous exercise; any form of movement is good! Exercise is great for reducing stress and has been linked to increased microbial diversity in the gut. It also supports a healthy metabolism.

4. Get enough sleep

Sleep is when our body carries out most of its restorative functions. Try to get at least 7 hours of quality sleep and let your body wake up naturally according to its circadian rhythm. This will ensure the natural cycle of the gut is not disrupted

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Can probiotics help oily skin?

Probiotics are microorganisms made up of ‘good’ bacteria that fight off ‘bad’ bacteria in the body. As part of our microbiome, they influence the body’s immune response to diseases, help to digest food and produce essential vitamins.

Research shows that taking probiotics in supplement form or in fermented foods can heal dysbiosis and restore the natural microbiome levels in the gut. In turn, probiotics therefore contribute to better skin health, with proven benefits like the reduction of oiliness and acne.

The easiest way to incorporate probiotics into your diet is through supplements. Effective probiotic supplements will flush out the ‘bad’ bacteria from your microbiome and restore its natural balance. This will build immunity to oxidative free radicals in the environment and restore natural hormone levels, which is the key to regulating oil production.

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What strain of probiotic is best for oleaginous skin?

The best strains of probiotic for oleaginous or oily contain the genus Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus or Saccharomyces. These are the most scientifically studied bacterial strains with the most evidence of skincare improvement.

Advanced Nutrition Programme have a wide range of probiotic and other supplements specifically targeted towards oily skin. These two are the best probiotic supplements for oily and acne-prone skin:

Skin Clear Biome is formulated for stressed and problem skin. It has 5 billion live cultures of four different strains of probiotic bacteria that work together with zinc to support gut health, maintain immunity, soothe irritation and balance oil production.

Coming in capsule form, the Skin Clear Biome should be taken once per day with a meal. The results of continued use are evidenced as brighter and smoother skin with increased levels of cell renewal, which balances oil production.

Skin Youth Biome is another probiotic supplement that fuses together 5 billion live cultures of four bacterial strains with vitamin C to support skin collagen formulation and give a smoother, more youthful-looking complexion.

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects your skin from oxidative damage, stimulates collagen production, brightens the skin, supports your immune systems, and reduces hyper-keratinisation.
The Skin Youth Biome is not only for mature skin – it’s unique combination of probiotics and vitamin C help to support a healthy and balanced gut which is beneficial for skin of all ages, especially oily skin. By repairing the damage caused by dysbiosis, this supplement will balance the oil production in the skin and reduce any inflammation.

One box of either the Skin Clear Biome or Skin Youth Biome contains 60 capsules and is available for £55 on the dermoi! website. That’s an investment in your skin for only 92p per day.

All of Advanced Nutrition Programme’s products are made with 100% natural ingredients.

The best foundation for oily skin

When our skin is oily, dry, or prone to acne it can often make us feel insecure in social situations. We all want clear and bright skin, but this is not the reality for most. Some people like to make themselves feel a little more confident their own skin by wearing makeup. It’s important to wear the right type of makeup with good ingredients to avoid aggravating the skin and to yield the best makeup look. Skincare makeup is an excellent way to improve your skin while wearing makeup as it infuses products with beneficial minerals and vitamins. The best makeup for oily skin will reduce too much shine or greasiness.

The best makeup step to start with if you have oily skin is a primer. The best primer for oily skin is the Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup ‘Smooth Affair Primer and Brightener for Oily Skin’. It reduces excess oil and smooths over the pores to create a semi-matte base for your foundation. It’s vitamin C, green tea extracts and antioxidants improve skin tone, fight bacteria and protect the skin from oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the environment.

Next, the best foundation for oily skin is the Pure Pressed Base Mineral Foundation. It’s an all-in-one powder that combines foundation, concealer, power and sunscreen in one product. It’s semi-mattifying effect is perfect for oily or combination skin because its powder form counteracts shine and smooths over large pores. Infused with algae extracts, pine bark extracts and pomegranate extracts, it provides amazing skincare benefits including hydration and detoxification while giving a flawless skin finish!

Author: Megan Kerr