The Gut-Skin Axis: Health from the Inside Out

Gut Health

Right now, your skin is covered with trillions of bacterial cells. 

Don’t panic! If you have been following our series on gut health, you know that healthy bacteria are an essential part of our overall health and wellness. 

The bacteria on your skin is no different. Your skin microbiota is like a microscopic, invisible suit of armor.  This bacterial armor supports a strong immune response that fights harmful germs and assists in healing. 

But, If you don’t polish a suit of armor, it can get rusty and break down. 

In this article, we’ll review the following:

  • The Gut-Skin Axis, the relationship between gut and skin health
  • How both your skin and your gut are important parts of your immune system
  • Why inflammation in the gut affects skin health and vice versa
  • How to take care of your skin through gut health
  • How Betr supports healthy skin by promoting a healthy gut. 

Skin and Stomach…Not As Different As You Think!

“ My skin has dramatically improved. I used to have a lot of dry skin and now I don’t.”

Joyce, Betr success story.

Joyce started the Betr Health program to lose weight (and she did, 20 pounds!), but, Betr also improved her skin. She isn’t the only one who noticed this benefit. Many Betr members report improvements in their skin health.

You might not think that your skin and gut have much to do with each other. After all, one is on the outside, and one is on the inside, right?

Think about what both of these body systems do, though. 

  • Do they both interact with our environment? Sure.  
  • Are they both part of our immune system? Yep. 
  • Do they both contain trillions of miraculous bacterial cells essential to our everyday health and functioning that we need to maintain with the same love and attention we show other body systems that seem more obviously connected to our overall well-being!?  I think you see where I’m going with this.

Because of these similarities between our skin and gut, it’s no surprise their health is also connected. Scientists name this relationship between our skin and gut health: the Gut-Skin Axis (GSA).


Our skin and gut both play significant roles in our immune system and environmental response. The relationship between our skin and gut is called the “Gut-Skin Axis” (GSA).

The Healthy Gut-Skin Axis (GSA)

If you’ve read any of Betr Health’s other articles related to gut health, you may have already guessed that the bacteria in our gut is the sun around which the solar system of the GSA rotates. 

Everything works fine when your gut is full of a diverse community of healthy bacteria (a healthy gut microbiome). Your microbiome(fed by a diverse, high-fiber diet) produces metabolites. Metabolites act as messengers or building blocks for producing hormones and other materials for our body to function correctly. 

An important area that these metabolites affect is our skin. When our GSA is functioning correctly, these metabolites keep inflammation low and allow our skin to protect us from harmful bacteria. It also allows our skin to produce and repair skin cells continually.

The bad news is that when our gut bacteria is off balance, all these processes can be affected.


A healthy gut supports the normal function of our skin. These functions are primarily related to protecting us from disease-causing bacteria in our surroundings and constantly repairing and replacing old skin cells. 

Dysbiosis, Inflammation, and Skin Health

Healthy inflammation works to fight disease and repair cells. If you sprain your ankle, you’ll see swelling, redness, and heat around the injury. These are signs that your inflammatory cells are rushing to fix it. This is acute inflammation, and it’s a normal, healthy process.

Sometimes, though, inflammation goes on longer than it should. We call this chronic inflammation, and it has several unhealthy effects. One major issue with chronic inflammation is that it causes an increase in cell wall permeability in both your gut and your skin. This means the walls between your skin and gut cells let more stuff through. 

Think of your cells like a brick wall.  When they’re working right, nothing is getting through. Chronic inflammation is like a chisel to the brick wall. It scrapes out the mortar between the bricks to allow harmful substances into and out of your gut. This results in an unhealthy shift in the gut microbiome, called dysbiosis. 

When dysbiosis occurs, your healthy gut microbes no longer produce beneficial metabolites. Instead, they begin to produce harmful metabolites. These toxic metabolites increase inflammation and gut permeability. 

Inflammation and increased intestinal permeability cause gut bacteria to migrate to the skin, which can result in redness, itching, and burning or long-term skin problems like acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema

This ongoing inflammation also results in stress, which causes your body to release cortisol, your “freak-out” hormone. Like inflammation, cortisol has a role in normal, healthy functioning. When cortisol sticks around for long periods, though, it has a damaging effect on our immune system. 

Because our skin and gut play a huge role in the immune system, the ongoing presence of cortisol further interferes with their function. This interference, of course, results in more inflammation and keeps fueling the vicious cycle. 

Another way inflammation impacts the skin is by interfering with the building healthy skin cells. In a state of inflammation, your stressed skin will produce weaker cells that can’t fight off harmful substances. What happens when toxic substances get into places where they shouldn’t? 

Finally, there is evidence that the metabolites of healthy gut bacteria can directly battle unhealthy bacteria on the skin. The anti-inflammatory properties of beneficial bacteria keep the skin cells healthy and provide a comfortable environment for maintaining a balanced community of helpful skin bacteria. 


An unhealthy gut microbiome can negatively affect your skin. These effects include inflammation, increased cell wall permeability, and decreased immune function in the skin. This can lead to unhealthy symptoms, chronic inflammation, and disease.

“Maybe She’s Born With it” or…Maybe it’s a healthy gut microbiome.

“I’m 43 years old and I’ve been living my Betr life for 50 days. I’ve lost 25 pounds and my skin is brighter, with less redness”

Rachel, Betr Success Story

We’ve covered how healthy gut bacteria support healthy skin. We’ve also discussed how unhealthy gut microbiome changes can negatively impact your skin health. Now let’s talk about how to improve your gut microbiome and maintain healthy skin.

The Western Diet, heavy in simple carbohydrates and fat, is downright bad for the health of our gut bacteria. Food additives, such as artificial sweeteners, can also alter your gut microbiota. According to Dr. Sudhir Shah, founder of OM Botanicals, “What you ingest is as important as what you put on your skin.”  

The bacteria in your gut need fiber to produce healthy metabolites to support gut and skin health. The best way to feed your microbiota is with a diet containing lots of fruits and vegetables and other high-fiber, anti-inflammatory foods, like those in the Level 1 Betr protocol! 

Take care of your skin: We’ve talked about how caring for your gut supports healthy skin, but caring for your skin to support your overall health is also essential. Because your skin is such an important part of your immune system, keeping it healthy can prevent inflammation and disease. 

Betr Skin Care

“Your body knows how to make the chemicals it needs. Let’s give it the building blocks to do so.”

Dr. Sudhir Shah, OM Botanicals, on Quacks and Hypochondriacs Podcast.

You’re probably already taking care of your skin, right? 

Most of us have a row of serums, creams, and lotions in our medicine cabinets that promise “redness-reducing,” “wrinkle-reduction,” or “anti-aging.” 

Have you ever taken a look at the ingredients? 

Even if you did, you likely couldn’t read them. 

That’s because many skincare products contain plastics and other petro-chemicals produced from crude oil.

In 2004, several reports showed that everyday beauty products,  including makeup, nail polish, and lotions, often contained chemicals without proven safety data. 

In animal studies, some of the chemicals found in these products were even shown to produce congenital disabilities and reproductive problems. 

Betr Health has the same philosophy on skin care as it does on gut health. We believe you should use healthy, natural, plant-based products to support skin repair and health. That’s why we’ve developed the Betr Skin & Body Collection, a natural skincare line designed to feed and nourish your skin!

These products take the knowledge of Ayurvedic Medicine, a traditional practice that has proven safe and effective for thousands of years, and apply it to skincare. 

All the products in the Betr Skin & Body Collection contain naturally sourced vitamins, essential oils, and plant-based extracts to repair and nourish your skin. 


What have we learned about the relationship between our gut and our skin?

  • Skin and gut health are linked through the “Gut-Skin Axis.”
  • An unhealthy or imbalanced community of gut bacteria can cause inflammation and other adverse health impacts on your skin
  • Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is essential to maintaining healthy skin
  • Many of the skincare products on the market contain synthetic, possibly harmful chemicals
  • You should treat your skin with the same care as you treat your gut using natural, healthy products, such as those found in the Betr Skin & Body Collection.

Betr supports total body health, starting with your gut.

After reading this article, you may be asking yourself if your own health hurdles could be related to an unhealthy gut.

Explore Betr's risk-free trial to see if you could benefit from using food as medicine to rebuild your microbiome and realize the healthy potential you never knew you were missing!