Oral and topical probiotics are becoming the subjects of many new research studies aimed at treating inflammatory skin conditions like acne and rosacea. We are still learning about all the different types of microorganisms that inhabit the skin, as well as the gut and other parts of the human body. Researchers do understand that there is a connection between gastrointestinal microbiota and skin health. This article discusses what we currently know about the link between the gut and skin microbiomes, as well as the possibility of treating inflammatory skin conditions with probiotics.
Do Gut Flora Affect Rosacea?
Scientists have long studied the mechanisms behind what is known as the gut-brain-skin axis. As its name implies, this refers to the complex relationship between the gastrointestinal (GI) system, mental health, and skin. While research has been done that suggests a strong connection between the gut microbiome and skin inflammation, there is more work to be done in this area to gain a much better understanding.
Several studies suggest that it is possible to decrease skin inflammation by altering the populations of living organisms within the GI system. To do this, the right probiotics need to be introduced to the gut via oral ingestion. However, we do not yet know enough to understand which specific probiotics may be able to reduce the systemic inflammation associated with rosacea. Some studies have found that treating hypochlorhydria and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can significantly improve or even clear rosacea symptoms.
The Role of Probiotics in Inflammation Reduction
In essence, probiotics can have a systematic anti-inflammatory effect if administered in the right amount and environment. In the case of chronic inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema, and rosacea, inflammation exists even when the body is not experiencing a threat. There is evidence that oral and topical probiotics could help to stop this unnecessary inflammation from occurring and therefore eliminate the symptoms that show up on the skin as a result.
Probiotics in the gut are known to affect inflammatory cytokines and communicate with T cells, which can inhibit inflammation in the skin. A 2018 study found that two strains of oral probiotics – L. salivarius LA307 and L. rhamnosus LA305 – effectively reduced eczema symptoms in mice. Strains of lactic acid bacteria may also reduce inflammation and help to treat acne. In these same ways, finding the right probiotics to introduce to the gut microbiome could provide an important clue to the long-term treatment of rosacea.
The bottom line is that we still need to perform more research to learn more about the specific strains of microorganisms that inhabit the human skin and gut. Once we know more about the microbiomes of the gut and skin, we should be able to recommend the proper probiotics to help control inflammation and flare-ups on the skin.
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I am certain that new and improved treatments for rosacea and other chronic inflammatory skin diseases are on the horizon. With more time and research, it may be possible to approach the treatment of these conditions by targeting the root cause (inflammation), rather than the symptoms. In the meantime, there are new treatments for rosacea, such as Rhofade™, which can have a significant impact on not only skin symptoms but also the quality of life of your patients.
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