When we see a dreaded blotch of acne on our skin as adults, we tend to conduct a surface-level investigation into the problem—as in, the surface-level that is our skin. Surely it’s a clogged pore, or deviation from our cleansing and moisturizing routine, or abnormal stress that is to blame for the outbreak, right?
Perhaps not. While issues at the skin level can cause or contribute to adult acne, underlying issues including gut health can as well. As you work to rid yourself of dreaded adult acne once and for all, you must check out all potential causes, including an imbalanced gut microbiome.
There Are Many Causes of Adult Acne. Your Gut Could Be One of Them.
Healthline explains that adult acne can arise from:
- A genetic predisposition to acne
- Blocked pores
- Sudden hormonal changes
- Contact with irritants such as razors or harsh liquids
- Contact with hair or skin products that do not agree with your biology
- Emotional or physical stress
- A variety of other factors
When it comes to imperfect skin, these are the usual suspects. Often, though, the cause of poor skin (and the pathway to better skin) lies in the region you probably least suspect: your stomach and small intestine.
Your Gut and Skin Have a Relationship—And It Could Be Toxic
The Journal of Clinical Medicine explains that “Acne…has close connections with the gastrointestinal tract.” When the microbiota of your gut respond to stress, poor diet, and other disruptions, your entire biological ecosystem suffers. One result of imbalanced gut health, the journal notes, is inflammation of the skin, including but not limited to acne breakouts.
So, are you in tune with your gut? Consider whether you experience other symptoms of imperfect or downright poor gut health, including:
- Chronic fatigue
- Frequent burping
- Inconsistent or painful bowel movements
- Frequent nausea
- Weight fluctuations, especially those that appear inconsistent with your diet and exercise habits
Even if you don’t have obvious signs of poor gut health, your bout of acne could be reason enough to check in with a gut health specialist.
Gut-Specific Changes That Could Help You Achieve Clearer Skin
If you’ve tried, and tried, and tried to rid yourself of adult acne to no avail, it’s time to consider new approaches. As you come to terms with the possibility that a chaotic gut could be causing your acne, you might:
- Change your diet to include more fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-rich foods that encourage gut health
- Drink more water, which promotes general health as well as a healthy gut and skin
- Try probiotics, which restore a healthy bacterial balance to your gut
A healthy gut is the first step toward a healthy life. Your skin is crying out to you through your acne: Look at your gut, for both our sakes!
If you want to learn more about the benefit of probiotics in achieving healthy skin and alleviating other harmful symptoms of a troublesome gut, read this article and more on Gut to Know.
Leavitt, Jennifer and Jessica Timmons. Reviewed by Amanda Caldwell. “Adult Acne: I’m a Decade Past Puberty—Why Am I Still Breaking Out?” Healthline. Updated February 16, 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/adult-acne
Lee, Young Bok, et al. “Potential Role of the Microbiome in Acne: A Comprehensive Review.” Journal of Clinical Medicine, vol. 8,7 987. Jul 7, 2019. https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/8/7/987