Candida and Acne: The Gut Skin Connection
Acne and Candida overgrowth share many of the same causes, and it is possible that the inflammation caused by Candida could be contributing to your acne. The skin is the largest organ, and the health of your skin is often a reflection of your body’s internal health. The food that you eat, medicines you take, products you use, and other substances that you ingest internally or topically have a direct effect on your skin health. In this article, we are going to explore the gut-skin connection and how Candida could be contributing to your acne.
The Gut-Skin Connection
The gut and skin are important organs that both play a key role in immune system health. They are in constant communication through what is known as the gut-skin axis. The intimate relationship between these organs has been studied extensively, and numerous studies have linked gastrointestinal (GI) health to skin homeostasis.
One of the main regulators in the gut-skin axis is how the gut microbiota (the community of microorganisms in the gut) communicates with the skin and it does this mostly through intricate interactions with the immune system to regulate systemic and local inflammation.
In addition, research suggests that the gut microbiota can affect the skin more directly. In the case of an impaired intestinal barrier, intestinal bacteria as well as their metabolites can enter the bloodstream, accumulate in the skin and disrupt the skin microbiome. Gastrointestinal disorders are often accompanied by skin manifestations and the gut microbiome appears to play a key role in the development of many inflammatory disorders of the skin.
Now, here is where Candida comes in. Keep in mind the statement written above: “in the case of an impaired intestinal barrier, intestinal bacteria as well as their metabolites can enter the bloodstream, accumulate in the skin and disrupt the skin microbiome.”
Candida are a type of yeast that naturally live in the gut. Their populations usually stay at levels that cause us no harm, and are kept in balance by healthy bacteria in the gut. When gut bacteria are harmed, due to dietary or lifestyle factors (such as stress, antibiotics, alcohol, processed foods, etc.) it allows Candida populations to grow beyond healthy levels. These yeasts then invade other parts of the body and lead to an infection. The medical term for this infection is Candidiasis, and it is one of the most common types of fungal infections that people suffer from.
Usually it is caused by a certain type of Candida yeast called Candida albicans, but other types of Candida can cause an infection too. To learn more about this common fungal infection, read our blog "What is Candida Albicans? Understanding Fungal Infections."
Can Candida Cause Acne?
Does Candida cause acne? Not necessarily, but Candida and acne are often connected because Candida can disrupt the lining of the intestinal wall, which can allow toxins to bypass this lining and enter into the bloodstream, where they then manifest as disruptions in the skin. When candida causes acne it is sometimes referred to as "candida acne."
When Candida cells begin to grow hyphae – the long branches that grow out of the fungus – they can invade the cells in your intestinal lining, creating inflammation and permeating the membrane that prevents harmful substances from leaking out. If these openings become too large, they allow all kinds of toxins and undigested food particles to pass from your gut into your bloodstream.
The health of your intestinal lining is so important, and Candida can cause serious damage to your gut lining. This is why it is important to clear a Candida infection as soon as possible.
Acne & Gut Health
Acne is one of the world’s most common skin disorders, and it is one that unfortunately shows very visibly on the skin of the face, which oftentimes impacts one’s self-image and sense of self-esteem. Because of this, people are often desperate to find ways to treat their acne, and more often than not, they seek to treat it by applying topical remedies.
Certainly, topical care is important for cleaning the pores of the skin, but it is essential that we also address the health of our body, as acne is often a manifestation of an internal imbalance. Researchers have found that there is a clear link between gut issues and skin problems. Gut imbalances are one of the root causes of acne, and Candida overgrowth is an incredibly common gut imbalance and a major contributor to acne.
As mentioned, Candida can damage the lining of the intestinal wall and lead to increased intestinal permeability. Although the gut walls are supposed to allow a certain amount of nutrients through into the bloodstream, it becomes an issue when the openings in the lining of the gut walls become large enough to let toxins and other harmful substances through.
This condition of increased intestinal permeability is also known as ‘leaky gut’. Leaky gut occurs when toxins leak from the gut into the bloodstream, causing both systemic and local inflammation. This in turn can cause skin problems.
Numerous studies have shown that patients with acne have higher levels of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) endotoxins in their blood, and react to certain bacterial strains that people without acne do not, which suggests that those with acne also suffer from increased intestinal permeability.
Further research shows that both gut microbiota and probiotics can go a long way in reducing the inflammation, blood sugar balance, oxidative stress and emotions that are linked to acne. Researchers are finding that management of the intestinal microflora could hold significant potential for treating acne.
By caring for the health of your gut, you can help to clear up your skin. Just as the gut-skin connection showed us that poor gut health can lead to poor skin health, it shows us that good gut health can create good skin health.
How to Reset Your Gut to Clear Acne
Cleansing your gut may be the ultimate solution to your Candida acne. If your acne is caused by a gut imbalance, which often times it is, then doing a total gut reset cleanse can be a great way to improve not just your skin health, but your overall health, as the gut plays such a critical role in our total wellness—from immunity and brain health, to energy and stress.
To cleanse your gut completely, you will want to follow this process:
- Following the right diet
- Cleansing the gut
- Recolonizing the gut with healthy bacteria
Step 1: Following the Right Diet
We don’t want to say that there is really a single diet that is the “right diet” as it is clear that everyone has different bodies, different genetics, different circumstances, different food sensitivities, and different diets that work for them.
In general, the best diet for you is not going to be the best diet for someone else. There is no one-size-fits all diet. There is, however, a certain type of diet that one should follow when trying to cleanse the gut of an overgrowth—whether that overgrowth is from Candida, parasites, or bacteria.
Many of these organisms, especially Candida, feed on sugar as their primary fuel source. So, you’ll want to cut out all forms of processed or added sugar, and also significantly cut back on natural sugars, opting for lower glycemic fruits like berries, figs, pomegranate, etc.
When you cut out sugar, you’ll be cutting out the main food source for Candida. This will weaken the Candida and prevent their population from growing. You can see our article “Candida Detox Diet: Anti-Candida Foods” for more information on what foods to eat and what foods to avoid.
Additionally, you will want to include more foods in your diet that are known to improve gut health. This includes foods rich in dietary fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics, as well as foods that lower inflammation.
Dietary fiber is the part of plant-based food that mostly passes through your digestive system without breaking down or being digested. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water, and includes plant pectin and gums. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water, and includes plant cellulose and hemicellulose. Most plants contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, but in different amounts.
Be sure to get plenty of both types of fiber in your diet. As soluble fiber dissolves, it creates a gel that may improve digestion in a number of ways. Soluble fiber may reduce blood cholesterol and sugar and help your body improve blood glucose control. Insoluble fiber attracts water into your stool, making it softer and easier to pass with less strain on your bowel. Insoluble fiber can help promote bowel health and regularity.
Good sources of soluble fiber include:
- citrus fruit
Good sources of insoluble fiber include:
- whole-wheat flour
- wheat bran
- green beans
You’ll also want to add prebiotic foods in your diet. To understand what prebiotics are, we need to have a good understanding of probiotics, as they both work together and support each other. Probiotics are live bacteria that live in your gut and can also be found in certain foods and supplements. These bacteria strains are helpful to digestion and gut health, help to keep the community of microorganisms in the gut in balance, and offer numerous health benefits, which is why they are often called “beneficial bacteria” or “good bacteria.”
Probiotics help to protect the gut from harmful bacteria strains and maintain balance in the gut microbiome. Supplementing with probiotics (link product) is a great way to restore and maintain balance in the gut, especially when used alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Prebiotics are indigestible carbs (mostly from fiber) that feed probiotics. In other words, they are foods that we cannot digest, but our gut bacteria can. When we eat these foods, they go to our lower digestive tract, where they act like food to help the healthy bacteria grow. Both prebiotics and probiotics are important for our gut health. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria, prebiotics are food for these beneficial bacteria.
Examples of prebiotic foods include:
- dandelion greens
- jerusalem Artichoke
- jicama root
Step 2: Cleansing the Gut
The next step is to include herbs and foods that specifically kill harmful organisms in the gut like parasites and Candida. You will want to do this alongside step 1. The average person has up to 30 different types of parasites living in their body. These unwanted bugs can wreak havoc on our gut health. Candida are also very damaging to the gut and a very common infection.
To kill these organisms, your best solution is to take herbal supplements that are targeted for killing these specific organisms. For example, our Parasite Detox Tonic kills over 100 different parasitic organisms and is a concentrated extraction of 3 anti-parasitic herbs—wormwood, green black walnut hulls, and cloves.
Our Candida Cleanse Tonic uses 7 clinically-studied herbs that help eliminate Candida and return their population back to normal levels. These herbs have been shown to specifically kill Candida yeast, among other types of fungus, and can drastically reduce Candida populations, helping to restore balance in the gut.
Taking these 2 supplements along with the right diet can help to completely clear the gut of most parasitic, fungal, and bacterial infections. The next step is to repopulate the gut with healthy organisms.
Step 3: Recolonizing the Gut with Healthy Bacteria
The final step in this gut reset protocol is to repopulate the gut with beneficial bacteria through supplementing with a high-quality probiotic. Candida, parasites, and other organisms are kept under control by the beneficial bacteria in the gut. The ideal balance of gut bacteria is 90% good and 10% bad bacteria, but most people are out of balance due to poor dietary and lifestyle factors, and have the inverse ratio of 10% good bacteria and 90% bad bacteria. This creates an environment in the gut that allows Candida and other organisms to thrive.
To keep Candida populations under control after a cleanse, it is recommended to supplement with a probiotic for a few months. Our Zuma Nutrition Multi-Strain Probiotic features 30 billion culture forming units (CFUs) and eight unique strains that promote the right ratio of gut bacteria, helping to keep Candida populations under control.
Exactly how long one should follow this protocol depends on the severity of their Candida infection. Generally, it is recommended to follow it for at least 90 days, but perhaps longer if the infection has not cleared and symptoms of candida still remain.
Treat Your Acne for Good
The first step to clearing your acne for good is to understand that your gut is intimately linked to your skin. You cannot see inside your gut, but you can see the effect an unhealthy gut has on your skin in the form of acne and other skin rashes.
While it is of course beneficial to wash your face, exfoliate your skin, and clean your pores. You also want to treat your acne from inside, with a healthy diet, probiotics, exercise, hydration, low-stress, and a healthy lifestyle. This ensures your body and skin are at their healthiest and also helps to prevent Candida and acne.
Candida overgrowth acne is common, and Candida also can be extremely harmful to gut health, which causes inflammation and further skin issues. To heal your skin, focus on healing your gut. Try the gut reset protocol that was covered in this article and focus on eating a healthy diet, and following a healthy lifestyle. All of the skin care products in the world cannot cure an imbalance in the gut. Don’t neglect this important aspect of your health, especially if you wish to have clear skin.