When your skin goes on the fritz, your first instinct may be to head to the dermatologist’s office—they are, after all, the skin pros. But if the diagnosis starts—and stops—at surface level, you could be ignoring a bigger, underlying cause, says Trevor Cates, ND, a naturopathic physician in Park City, Utah. “Most dermatologists aim to suppress skin symptoms,” says Cates. “But those symptoms can be signs of imbalances elsewhere.”
The key to calming your cranky skin—for good—is to address what the issue is really stemming from, says Cates. Here, we get to the root of 5 complexion woes that go more than skin deep.
Breakouts can start in your gut.
Recent research suggests that an imbalance of bacteria in your gut—too many harmful bugs, too few of the healthy kind—leads to a leaky lining in your intestines. That can release toxins into your bloodstream that cause inflammation in your entire body, which shows up in your skin as a minor breakout or all-out cystic acne, Cates says.
To curb inflammation, and its side effects, Cates prescribes a food fix: a diet rich in fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi (pickled cabbage). “When we eat these foods rich in live, active bacterial cultures, the good bacteria in our gut flourish,” she says. In fact, one study in the journal Nutrition showed that those who drank a fermented drink had fewer acne lesions after just 12 weeks. (In fact, simply balancing the bacteria in your gut can help you lose up to 15 pounds in one month.