The gut-skin axis: a breakdown

One key reason that YLW exists is our fascination with the phenomenon that is the gut-skin axis. If you imagine your body as an interconnected web where various systems communicate and influence each other, then the gut-skin axis is a connection worth knowing about. The intricate dialogue between your gastrointestinal tract (the gut) and your skin, it’s the reason why what you put into your body has such an impact on how your skin looks on the outside. It's more than just a coincidence that skin issues often accompany gut problems – there's a scientific explanation behind it.

Your gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, collectively known as the microbiome. These microorganisms include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and more. Whilst bacteria might not sound like something you want to encourage within your body, not all bacteria are bad. In fact, many are essential to your wellbeing, especially when it comes to the health of your skin.

Photography by Matt Krygowksi Words by Joe and Anthony

Gut Health and Skin: The Link

So, how exactly does gut health affect your skin? Well, in a lot of ways - some more unexpected than others. The gut-skin axis operates through a series of intricate mechanisms that impact everything from inflammation to skin barrier function, all of which work most efficiently when the microbiome is in balance. Let's break it down in simpler terms.

Inflammation Control: Ever wondered why your skin flares up during times of stress, or after a junk food binge? Blame it on inflammation. An imbalanced gut can lead to increased inflammation throughout the body, including the skin. This inflammation can trigger or exacerbate skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Nutrient Absorption: One of your gut’s key jobs is processing nutrients from the foods that you eat. A poorly functioning gut might struggle to absorb
essential vitamins and minerals from these foods, leading to deficiencies that can show up in the form of dull, lacklustre skin. On the other hand, a healthy
gut ensures your skin gets the nutrients it needs to maintain and enhance its natural glow. Happy gut, happy skin.

Microbial Diversity: Diversity is key, even when it comes to your gut bacteria. An imbalanced gut microbiome - often caused by factors like a high-sugar diet, antibiotics, or chronic stress - can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, outweighing the good kind. This imbalance, known as dysbiosis, can contribute to skin inflammation, and has bene linked to a host of skin complaints.

Skin Barrier Function: The skin’s protective barrier is like a gatekeeper for your complexion, crucial in keeping essential moisture in, and harmful substances out. The gut plays a large role in maintaining this barrier, meaning that an unhealthy gut can compromise the skin's ability to retain moisture and fend off environmental aggressors, potentially leading to dryness and irritation.

Put simply, for skin that glows with health, it’s as much about what you put into your body as what you apply to the outside, which is exactly what we had in mind when creating YLW’s supplements. Take the Day Pill, which features a trio of different probiotic strains, for a three-pronged approach to supporting skin, gut and mental health (and don’t just take our word for it, they’re all clinically-backed too). The Night Pill, meanwhile, contains powerhouse grape seed extract, an antioxidant that protects against signs of premature skin ageing.