Go With Your Gut: The Link Between Gut Health and Your Skin

If you’ve been battling the same skin issues for months (or longer) it might be time to take a step back and try a more holistic approach. Using face creams, treatments or self-medicating with a hair, skin and nail supplement might be the answer for some, but if your skin troubles persist the answers might lie in your gut.

Poor gut health has been linked to acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema and rosacea. If your digestive system isn’t running smoothly, the evidence could be manifesting itself on your complexion.

We spoke skincare and herbal medicine expert Vaia Pappas to find out how we can heal our gut and get our skin to glow.

How does gut health affect our skin?

The Gut affects our entire body system. Since the skin is the largest organ in the body, it is an amazing diagnostic tool when looking at health issues; in particular the gut.

As Hippocrates stated, “all disease begins in the gut.” If it is not working efficiently it can affect hormones, immunity, general health and the skin.

Why is gut health important for our general wellbeing?

Healthy digestion is vital for 2 main reasons:

1) healthy elimination of toxins and waste, and 2) healthy absorption of nutrients.

What are the signs of an unhealthy gut?

There are thousands but being specific for this interview, bad skin is a major one! Acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea are some of the key skin related signs. Other major ones are constipation and diarrhea, halitosis (bad breath), brain fog, fatigue and reduced immunity.

Is it common for women to have an unhealthy gut?

Yes! I think most people suffer with some kind of gut issues

How will our skin benefit from improving gut health?

The skin would benefit greatly from a focus on gut health as a healthy gut will allow the rest of the body to work properly. In particular the endocrine and immune system, which are the key body systems that can determine overall skin appearance.

What can we do to improve our gut health?

See a naturopath and drink bone broth daily.

What other ways can we improve our skin through nutrition and supplementation?

This is really an individual thing. The worst thing to do is self medicate. The best thing to do is see a health care professional who specializes in gut health. Getting the right type of probiotic and nutrition will really maximize gut health. I believe the Paleolithic way of eating is best for gut health. Dairy and gluten can stimulate all kinds of auto immune responses in the body which aren’t great.

Can you recommend any supplements that can help us maintain a healthy gut?

As I mentioned, this is such an individual thing and people should definitely seek professional advice. I work with a combination of nutrition, supplementation and liquid herbal tinctures that I put together based on specific issues.

When looking for a good probiotic, what are some things we should look for?

There are so many different strains of bacteria found in probiotics.

If you are taking the wrong one for your gut it can actually make things worse. We have a complex gut microbiome with lots of bacteria. That is why you should always talk to a professional when choosing a probiotic who will assist you in getting the specific strain of bacteria that will maximize your health.

There are probiotics specifically for skin, allergies, and irritable bowel syndrome, to aid stimulation of colostrum in mothers and for immune boosting. I love and prescribe Metagenics probiotics in my practice.


Vaia Pappas is the owner and lead therapist of VaiaBeauty salon in Surry Hills. VaiaBeauty is a skincare and herbal medicine clinic that takes a holistic approach to beauty and health.

Vaia is a qualified beauty therapist with a Diploma of Naturopathy and a Bachelor of Health Sciences.


Written by Sophie Howe.