The first HUGE step in changing the way you treat your skin condition - regardless of whether we're talking about acne, eczema, rosacea or psoriasis - is how you VIEW your skin condition.
Doctors never really explained the underlying cause of my psoriasis to me, and I was often prescribed steroid creams and emollient lotions to apply on the surface. So, rather than treating what was causing my flares, I was only ever masking the symptoms.
The moment I begin to switch my thinking about what was actually triggering these symptoms I was seeing on the surface of my skin was the moment I was able to treat my psoriasis differently.
You Do Not Have a Skin Condition
I say it often, but you've probably heard quite the opposite so many times, it's important for this to sink in. You do not have a skin condition. Yes, you have psoriasis, but what you have is a GUT condition, the symptoms of which are manifesting on the surface of your skin.
Now you might say to me, "look Hanna .. my psoriasis is right there! On my arms, my legs, my tummy. I clearly have a skin condition". But I'm asking you to think about your psoriasis very differently, and want to share a number of studies with you right here which I hope will help reinforce that thought process.
By using topical treatments such as steroid creams to treat your psoriasis, all you're ever doing is suppressing the symptoms. It's for this reason that often when you stop applying them, psoriasis lesions can flare up significantly.
I'm not just speaking from personal experience, more and more research is finally being done into the gut microbiome - the important bacteria that live in our gut - to investigate the role they play in so many health conditions, psoriasis being just one of them.
Gut and Skin Studies
This 2019 study explores the skin and gut microbiome and its role in common dermatologic conditions. Our intestines (the gut) house trillions of bacteria, paired with other tiny organisms like viruses and fungi, they make up what's known as the microbiota, or the microbiome.
The study confirms that changes to the normal microflora, due to genetic or environmental factors, can contribute to the development of various disease states. The review discusses the relationship between the gut and skin microbiome and various dermatological diseases including acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and atopic dermatitis.
Scientists have only really started to explore this connection over the past few years, so it could be that your doctor has never mentioned it because he or she is quite unaware as to these new studies that explore the close correlation.
I was so excited to read more about this research as it means the strong symbiotic relationship between our skin and gut bacteria is finally being closely investigated.
Gut Microbiome and Psoriasis
Logical common sense would suggest there has to be some sort of correlation between our gut and our psoriasis. It's confirmed that seventy percent of our immune system is housed in our gut. When we're talking about autoimmune skin conditions such as psoriasis, vitiligo and lupus, it therefore stands to reason that the gut would play a role. This study explores the benefits of probiotics for the treatment of psoriasis.
The study confirms that an altered microbiome has been associated with skin disorders in several instances and discusses how to take advantage of this interplay to manage psoriasis - particularly through the administration of a good quality probiotic.
An updated review in 2020 established a significant association between alterations in gut microbial composition and psoriasis.
How Probiotics Help
When it comes to looking after our gut, there are lots of steps we can take. Diet is a very important consideration, as is reducing stress and ensuring we get a good night's sleep. There are also some very specific steps we can take to replenish good gut bacteria, such as introducing fermented food and drinks. And perhaps the simplest of these steps involves regularly taking a good quality probiotic.
Probiotics feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut. Healthful microorganisms support the correct functioning of our immune system, which in turn can help control symptoms of chronic conditions, such as psoriasis.
This study conducted in 2015 shows people with psoriasis have less diversity in their gut microbiome than individuals with healthy skin. I'm also fascinated by the work of Dr Haines Ely who similarly discussed healing the gut in order to heal psoriasis.
How to Treat Your Gut to Heal Psoriasis
- Eat a healthful diet full of anti inflammatory foods
- Get plenty of fresh air and exercise
- Take a good quality Skin Clear Complex Probiotic
- Ensure you get a good night's sleep to allow gut bacteria to replenish
- Reduce stress levels and practice meditation. Stress depletes the gut
- Introduce sauerkraut, miso, kombucha and other fermented foods
In addition to the study notes and further reading I'll add below, I'd love to point you towards some of my favourite resources for boosting gut health! Janice Clyne runs a fantastic Instagram account. She offers fermented workshops up in Scotland and has a blog full of fantastic recipes! A qualified food scientist, I love the recipes Janice creates - so healthful and full of beneficial bacteria.
If you don't have the time to make your own fermented recipes and want to get started on your road to good gut health right away, choosing a good quality fermented foods brand is really key. I enjoy Loving Foods. Manchester based they sell the most amazing raw, fresh, unpasteurised fermented foods and drinks UK wide.
Finally, if you're looking for a quick and simple gut boost to take each morning, I'd highly recommend my Skin Clear Complex Probiotic. Developed specifically for treating skin conditions through using a natural blend of beneficial bacteria and skin specific ingredients, check out the positive reviews for yourself online.
STUDY NOTES AND FURTHER READING
The Skin and Gut Microbiome and Its Role in Common Dermatologic Conditions https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6920876/
The role of gut microbiome in the pathogenesis of psoriasis and the therapeutic effects of probiotics https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6881942/
Psoriasis and the gut microbiome updated review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7350295/
Decreased Bacterial Diversity Characterizes an Altered Gut Microbiota in Psoriatic Arthritis and Resembles Dysbiosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4280348/
Dr Haines Ely treating the gut to heal psoriasis research https://nextstepsinderm.com/derm-topics/healing-the-gut-to-treat-psoriasis/