Do Rosacea and Dry Skin Come from Your Gut?

Woman with rosacea

When it comes to skin conditions like rosacea and dry skin, our skin might not be to blame. It’s likely that the root cause of such conditions lies beneath the surface of our skin, all the way in our gut.

 

Rosacea on the Surface

Rosacea is a skin condition that some might refer to as “adult acne.” While pimples can be a symptom of rosacea, the complications of the skin condition go beyond that. Rosacea is characterized by:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Visible blood vessels
  • And, of course, bumps and pimples

Those with rosacea often experience flares of inflammation and breakouts, with symptoms suddenly reappearing and disappearing in response to certain triggers. Anyone regardless of sex or skin color can experience rosacea. It is typically more common in women with fair skin, but men tend to have worse cases of the skin condition. (1)

There are many antibiotics and ointments designed to treat rosacea, but they typically only treat the symptoms of rosacea rather than the root cause of the condition.

 

A Faulty Immune System May Be to Blame

The cause of rosacea isn’t fully understood. Stress, anxiety, and genetics are among the few things that are generally considered to be the cause of the condition. But recent research suggests rosacea may come about as a result of an overactive immune system.

Similar to how the immune system overreacts in the case of an allergic attack, the immune systems of those with rosacea produce an excessive amount of antimicrobial peptides called cathelicidins. Cathelicidins are thought to be related to visible blood vessels and inflammation, not unlike the symptoms associated with rosacea. (2)

It’s possible that these cathelicidins are behind the trademark redness and inflammation of rosacea. Given that those with rosacea create a high amount of cathelicidins, it’s possible that these cathelicidins are responsible for rosacea-related inflammation and redness. Even worse, those with rosacea often have high levels of a specific enzyme that activates cathelicidins, exacerbating the problem. (2)

Now the question is: Why do the immune systems of those with rosacea create such high levels of cathelicidins? Maybe their immune systems don’t create antibodies the way they’re supposed to? Maybe rosacea is a problem that originates on the surface and is caused by excessive bacteria on the skin? Maybe washing one’s face with soap weakens the skin’s natural barrier, leaving it more susceptible to bacteria and flare-ups?

Or maybe the root cause of the problem is located in the gut.

 

Targeting Rosacea Through the Gut

If we assume that this excessive production of cathelicidins is the cause of rosacea, then we know what to blame: the immune system. The immune system isn’t functioning the way it’s supposed to function if it’s producing an abnormally high amount of cathelicidins. In trying to protect the body and prevent a problem, the immune system inadvertently creates another problem. But how would we “correct” the immune system?

70% of our immune system is located in the gut, so it makes sense to “correct” and strengthen the immune system by targeting the gut. It also makes sense to do this through diet, but you can’t just start eating healthy food hoping that does the trick. You have to know specifically what’s wrong with the gut so that you can take the appropriate actions to strengthen it.

In order to know the makeup of your gut and where it needs support, you can come in for our digestive tract tests. Our digestive tract tests check:

  • Gut inflammation
  • How well your gut can digest food and absorb nutrients from food
  • The amount of good and bad bacteria in your gut’s microbiome
  • The metabolic status of your gut
  • The presence of yeast

Our digestive tract tests will identify your gut’s weak points so that we will know how best to approach the issue and give your gut and your immune system the support they need. Using the digestive tract tests, we will determine the kinds of food and probiotics you may need in order to seal your gut and rebalance it.

 

The Hormones Behind Dry Skin

Rosacea isn’t the only skin condition that might benefit from an improved diet. While it may not be considered as problematic as rosacea, dry skin can be an irritating skin condition that may find its root cause in an inflammatory diet.

The human body uses cholesterol to produce two kinds of hormones: the sex hormones (namely estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) and a steroid hormone, cortisol. The body produces cortisol to combat inflammation. Too much inflammation (as caused by an inflammatory diet, for instance) can result in a cortisol steal in which the body uses most of its cholesterol stores to create more cortisol. With most of its cholesterol going toward the cortisol production, the body will produce less of the sex hormones as a result. Low testosterone levels may result in dry skin, especially if the skin looks thin and wrinkled.

Dry skin may also be the result of an abnormal reaction or the lack of a reaction to the thyroid hormone T3. It’s possible that the body produces a hormone similar to T3 and that this lookalike hormone occupies cell receptors for T3. With the lookalike hormone in its place, the T3 hormone can’t bind with cell receptors and do its job.

So what can you do? Why does this even happen in the first place?

It may have something to do with your diet.

 

Dry Skin and Your Gut

If your dry skin is related to abnormal reaction to T3, it may be best to start supporting your body by ensuring that your body has enough selenium and iodine. Selenium and iodine are the building blocks for T3, and they would help your body regulate its thyroid levels.

While you may need to change your diet in order to do this, you also need to be sure that your digestive system is working properly. After all, what good is it to eat healthy food if your digestive system can’t absorb the nutrients in that food? If you change your diet to support your thyroid levels, it won’t do you any good if your digestive system can’t absorb the selenium and the iodine properly.

A faulty digestive system could result in a many issues related to malnutrition. If you suspect that your digestive system isn’t functioning properly, our digestive tract test could determine what you need to do in order to seal your gut and get your digestive system back in working order.

 

What You Can Do for Your Gut

Many people don’t have a diet that gives them all the nutrients they need to be fully healthy. The body needs vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to keep it functioning well. So long as the body has the nutrients it needs, its immune system will work the way it’s supposed to. The body will regulate its hormone levels. It will shed old cells and regenerate new ones, like skin cells or the cells of the gut lining, when it needs to.

An incomplete diet may leave the body unable to do what it’s supposed to do. Sometimes part of your diet can detrimental to your body. Eating gluten, for example, can weaken your gut lining and may result in gastrointestinal issues and physical and mental diseases. A weakened gut lining may result in a leaky gut and, by extension, a “leaky” or faulty immune system.

Our dietary tract test would determine which dietary changes may best support your digestive and immune systems. While these changes will vary from person to person, in general, most people would benefit from:

  • Limiting their intake of sugars and grains
  • Eating organic foods
  • Eating more raw vegetables and fermented foods

Fermented foods could introduce many kinds of good bacteria to your gut, possibly supporting detoxification and strengthening your immune system. They could also provide you with many necessary nutrients like vitamins B and K2.

If you or someone you know has rosacea or dry skin, it’s time to step back from the lotions, ointments, and antibiotics and starting looking toward the gut for a real solution. You can come in for a digestive tract test to pinpoint the root problem of your skin condition. From there, you’ll know how to move forward in your diet in order to support your digestive system, your T3 levels, and your immune system. You can eat your way to better skin. So why not do it?

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.rosacea.org/patients/allaboutrosacea.php
  2. https://www.rosacea.org/grants/research.php#Gallo2

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