Skin Health: Not Just Skin Deep. In-Your-Gut Deep. Could Probiotics help?

Beautiful skin may start with your gut microbes.

The health of your skin comes from deep within us.  It is intimately connected with our overall health and the health of our microbiome.  In recent years study of the microbiome, all the microbes that live in you and on you, has led to innovations in medicine and health, including dermatology.

Both the skin and the gut have unique microbial communities. Your skin microbes vary according to where they are located on your body, is it moist or dry? Is it exposed or protected?

Dermatologists are beginning to see the many ways our skin interacts with not only our digestive tract but even our brain.

The Gut Microbiome and Disease

Gut microbiome dysbiosis (‘without balance’), has been linked to many ailments including diabetes, obesity, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, depression, allergy, arthritis and more.

Current microbiome research is hot, hot, hot!  Medical researchers are endeavoring to concretely link probiotics and therapeutic effects in various specialities.  One of those specialities ia dermatology.  Another is neuroscience.  

The Skin Microbiome and Disease

Dermatological and cosmetic treatments including probiotics is a hot trend in the marketplace. Skin cancer, atopic dermatitis, acne and psoriasis have all been linked to a disturbance in the healthy balance of the skin microbes [1]. This balance can be affected by many factors including moisture, pH, location, a person’s occupation and antibiotic use history [1].

Evolutionarily, it is likely our skin microbes have provided benefits to the human body for eons.  Some experts believe that our relatively short history of antibiotic use and western hygiene may be disrupting those functions, thereby causing or contributing to disease [2].

The Gut-Brain-Skin Axis

More than 80 years ago two dermatologists theorized that stress caused the gut to become permeable and that permeability led to inflammation and inflammatory skin disturbances [3]!  Unfortunately, they were long forgotten but now we know that gut symptoms or chronic gut conditions often accompany acne in many patients. Additionally, depression and anxiety are also related to these disorders, hence the gut-brain-skin axis [3].

Contemporary studies hint that acne is related to changes in gut microbial structure, including, possibly, decreases in lactobacilli and bifidobacetrium [3]. One study in 2010 indicated that acne lesions decreased in total number following a 12-week course of oral probiotics as a fermented Lactobacillus beverage [3]. As a result of research like this, many in the dermatological community see an increasing need to recognize diet, lifestyle and stress as important factors to understanding the root causes of this condition [3].  

It is likely that future research and novel therapies in the age of antibiotic resistance will focus on the interactions of the gut, brain and skin for a variety of skin disorders [3]. Future therapies may include oral or topical probiotics as well as lifestyle changes.

Would you skip showers to care for your skin microbiome?

I thought skipping showers was for grumpy teenagers and overworked moms.  But alas, a cosmetic on the market boasting a bacterium called Nitrosomonas eutropha is making inroads [3]. Nitrosomonas eutropha neutralizes the ammonia that causes body odor.

But the catch? You CAN’T wash off the bacteria. No showers.

A journalist from the NY Times took a month to try cultivating this bacteria on her skin.  It took 3 showers to destroy the community of little buggers she had successfully nurtured [4].  She, and others, claim the body odor goes away once the bacteria are established and that skin feels more hydrated and is clearer.  

AO Biome believes in the cosmetic benefits of promoting this bacteria on the skin [4].  But AO Biome doesn’t plan to stop there.  They are looking forward to novel therapeutic uses for skin “microbiomics”, their word for probiotics. AO Biome is seeking future FDA approved treatments for acne, wound healing, eczema, hypertension and more, all through microbiomics applied to the skin.

The future looks bright for dermatology and for us in light of all the exciting work happening with probiotics and our microbiome. There may be topical and oral probiotic therapies used for common skin ailments, and who knows? Maybe your grandkids won’t take showers!

If you want to support your skin’s healthy glow, start from the inside, with H2PRO daily probiotics.





1- Patrick Farris, MD. (2016) Are skincare products with probiotics worth the hype? Dermatology Times. August 8, 2016. Accessed 2/17/2017.

2- AO Biome.

3- Bowe et al. (2014)  Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis: from anecdote to translational medicine. Beneficial Microbes. 5(2): 185-199.

4- Scott, Julia (2014) My No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment. The New York Times Magazine. May 22, 2014. Accessed 2/17/2017.


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