The gut-skin connection: how altered gut function affects the skin

I’m preparing for my talk at the upcoming Wise Traditions Conference in Santa Clara, CA on November 10th. I’ll speaking on the “gut-brain-skin axis”, a fascinating topic that I’ve been exploring for some time. I hope some of you will be able to come to the conference, but I thought I’d share a little slice of my research here for those of you who can’t. (If you don’t make the conference and want to watch my entire presentation, I believe the Weston A. Price Foundation sells DVDs of the talks after the fact.)

I’ve discussed the gut-brain axis several times on my radio show, and I’ve at least mentioned the triangular connection between the gut, brain and skin. In this post I’d like to go a little deeper on the gut-skin connection. Researchers as far back as 1930 suspected a link between gut and skin health, and modern research has now confirmed the importance of this relationship. And as a clinician who works with people on these conditions, I’d go as far as to say this:

If you want to heal your skin, you have to heal your gut.Tweet This

Associations between gut disorders and skin conditions

Epidemiological evidence shows a clear association between gut problems and skin disorders. A recent report indicated that small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a condition involving inappropriate growth of bacteria in the small intestine, is 10 times more prevalent in people with acne rosacea than in healthy controls, and that correction of SIBO in these individuals led to marked clinical improvement. (1) 14% of patients with ulcerative colitis and 24% of patients with Crohn’s disease have skin manifestations. (Interestingly enough, a study just came out showing that a drug normally used to treat psoriasis is also effective for Crohn’s disease.) Celiac disease also has cutaneous manifestations, such as dermatitis herpetiformis, which occurs in 1/4 of celiac sufferers. Celiacs also have increased frequency of oral mucosal lesions, alopecia and vitiligo. (2)

How altered gut function impacts the skin

Intestinal permeability (a.k.a. “leaky gut”) causes both systemic and local inflammation, which in turn contributes to skin disease. In a study way back in 1916, acne patients were more likely to show enhanced reactivity to bacterial strains isolated from stool. 66 percent of the 57 patients with acne in the study showed positive reactivity to stool-isolated bacteria compared to none of the control patients without active skin disease. 1 In a more recent study involving 80 patients, those with acne had higher levels of and reactivity to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) endotoxins in the blood. None of the matched healthy controls reacted to the e. coli LPS, while 65% of the acne patients had a positive reaction. Both of these studies suggest that increased intestinal permeability is an issue for a significant number of acne patients. (4)

Speaking of permeable barriers: most of you have heard of leaky gut by now, but what about “leaky skin”? The main function of the skin is to act as a physical, chemical and antimicrobial defense system. Studies have shown that bothstress and gut inflammation can impair the integrity and protective function of the epidermal barrier. This in turn leads to a decrease in antimicrobial peptides produced in the skin, and an increase in the severity of infection and inflammation in the skin. (5)

The gut flora also influences the skin. Substance P is a neuropeptide produced in the gut, brain and skin that plays a major role in skin conditions. Altered gut microbiota promotes the release of substance P in both the gut and the skin, and probiotics can attenuate this response. (6) The gut microbiota influences lipids and tissue fatty acid profiles, and may influence sebum production as well as the fatty acid composition of the sebum. (7) This may explain why a Russian study found that 54% of acne patients have significant alterations to the gut flora (8), and a Chinese study involving patients with seborrheic dermatitis also noted disruptions in the normal gut flora. 2

Probiotics improve skin conditions

Another line of evidence suggesting a connection between the gut and skin is the observation that probiotics improve skin conditions. Oral probiotics have been shown to decrease lipopolysaccharide, improve intestinal barrier function and reduce inflammation. The first formal case report series on the value of using lactobacilli to treat skin conditions was published in 1961 by a physician named Robert Siver. He followed 300 patients who were given a commercially available probiotic and found that 80 percent of those with acne had some clinical improvement. 3 In a more recent Italian study involving 40 patients, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum in addition to standard care led to better clinical outcomes than standard care alone. (9) And another recent study of 56 patients with acne showed that the consumption of a Lactobacillus fermented dairy beverage improved clinical aspects of acne over a 12-week period. (10)

The beneficial effect of probioitics on skin may explain why pasteurized, unfermented dairy is associated with acne, but fermented dairy is not. I haven’t seen any studies on raw dairy and skin conditions, but my guess is that it wouldn’t be associated either. Orally consumed probiotics reduce systemic markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are elevated locally in those with acne. (11) Oral probiotics can also regulate the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines within the skin. (12) The fermentation of dairy reduces levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) by more than four-fold. (13) This is significant because studies show that acne is driven by IGF-1, and IGF-1 can be absorbed across colonic tissue. (14) This would be particularly problematic when increased intestinal permeability is present, which as I mentioned above is often the case in people with acne.

Now I’d like to hear from you. Have you noticed a connection between gut health and skin conditions in your own experience? Has healing your gut improved your skin? Let us know in the comments section.

  1. Strickler A, Kolmer JA, Schamberg JF: Complement fixation in acne vulgaris. J Cutaneous Dis 1916, 34:166-78.
  2. Zhang H, Yu L, Yi M, Li K: Quantitative studies on normal flora of seborrhoeic dermatitis. Chin J Dermatol 1999, 32:399-400.
  3. Siver RH: Lactobacillus for the control of acne. J Med Soc New Jersey 1961, 59:52-53.

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Johnny says

    “The most common misconception is that dietary changes alone can cure inflammatory skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis, acne and rosacea. After treating a great many skin disease sufferers and hearing their stories, I have come to understand this is very much the exception, not the rule. The great effort these patients expend to modify their diet often leads to disappointment.” – Adina Stanescu, C.Ac., DCHM

  2. Stephen says

    Hello everyone. I just stumbled across this article while I was researching skin problems I’ve been having. I’ve heard about this gut health connection before but never really researched it. So I wanted to ask those of you that have experience with this your thoughts on the problems I am having. I’m 29 years old 6’2 185lbs in pretty good shape and not overweight. I developed psoriasis when I was 16. My doc said it was genetic but when I looked into it no body else in my family has or had it; not in my immediate or extended. For the first 5 or so years it would only pop up every couple months; now I have it all over my scalp, in my groin area, and armpits. It is most prevalent on my scalp and only in small patches on the other areas. I never had a problem with dandruff then I started getting that about 6 years ago. I always had pretty good skin up until my mid 20s. I would get a small breakout maybe once every 3 or 4 weeks. Now I get small pimples every week and have a lot of blackheads mostly all over my nose. I get small cystic body ance on my side and back that I can’t pop. I never ever had body acne until about 3 years ago. The skin in my butt crack is cracked and tender, I have a very hard time getting it to heal. Oh and now on the left side of my scalp I have about a half dollar coin sized spot where my hair is thinning and the skin feels smooth like alopecia haha that started about a year ago. It’s like some new problem everyday and it’s extremely frustrating. I try to eat well, I cook my meals from scratch. I eat fruits and vegetables daily and drink only water. I do drink beer but only on the weekends. I am very stressed at my job and I work very long hours. Sorry for the long post haha any comments would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Chen says

      hi man,
      (hope you’ll see this)
      actually I’m 29 too and few months ago I got alopecia areata (that small coin-like hair loss) on my beard.
      I did quite a lot of research about it and that’s what I found so far:
      1. low levels of vitamin D are highly correlated with alopcia areata (check out this study from earlier this year: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25058999)
      I did a blood test for vitamin D which was about 20 ng/ml (it’s low) and started supplementing in order to bring it to about 40-45 ng/ml and above.
      actually from what I read lake in vitamin D is connected to many diseases (including skin diseases) so making sure your vitmain D is high enough should be on your *TOP proirities*.
      I’ve found this site to be a valuable source for data about vitamin D: http://www.vitamindwiki.com.
      after raising you vitamin D level make sure to supplement with about 100mg/day of Vitamin K2 (MK-4 or M-7) as well (there is info of why in Chris’s website (this website)).

      2. lake of essential bacteria in the gut is probably the main cuase to autoimmune diseases (such as alopcia areata and psoriasis).
      after reading this blog: http://coolinginflammation.blogspot.co.il/
      and taking advice from this page: http://freetheanimal.com/2013/12/resistant-primer-newbies.html
      I’m now conviced that lake of soil-based bacteria is the problem (read about it to underdstand).
      The solution I’ve found (didn’t implement it yet myself – I’ve ordered needed stuff from Amazon but since I’m living out of the US (Israel) it takes some time for me to get it):
      a. taking probiotics – 3 kinds of soil-based probiotics (those which are recommended in the ‘freetheanimal’ website above). also I want to start eating Kefir daily.
      b. taking prebiotic – resistant starch and soluble fibers (to feed the good bacteria).
      c. get out more of the house to soil-terrains (I’ve been studying alot the last year and almost didn’t go out at all during the day) – so I would be more exposed to mud and soil (that way you can get the needed bacteria).

      3. there’s a study that found that onion juice is effective to treat alopecia areata: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12126069
      I haven’t tried it yet but I believe it may be affective for the short run but not necessarily for the long run (without fixing the above mentioned problems) especially in the case you have more than one autoimmune disease which clearly indicate a deeper problem TMHO.

      Anyways (didn’t intend to make it this long but wanted to cover much),
      I really hope it’ll help you, good luck!

  3. Kathy Cervoni says

    I have had Rosacea for many years and it has gotten a lot worse in the past several years. My skin is incredibly dry – Hands, feet and face. My face will feel really dry and tight, like a bad sunburn and then turn red on my forehead. My skin on my forehead will start to flake especially by my hairline and my eyebrows. Its like I get burned from the inside out. I went on the Whole 30 diet last year – Removed everything from my diet except healthy protein ie meat, chicken, fish and fresh fruits and veggies, some nuts and olives and ALL of my skin issues disappeared! I did it for 45 days and have NEVER felt better. All of my dry skin went away and my Rosacea bumps and flaky skin disappeared. It was amazing! I am not on the diet anymore and my skin is worse than ever!

  4. Barbara says

    I had a skin condition called Dermographia………it was horrible. I went to my doctor and an allergist and was told that it was probably caused by stress. I noticed that at the same time this condition presented itself, I was having lots of problems with my stomach. I began taking nearly anything and everything that would help to heal my gut…………..Glutamine, DGL, Colostrum, probiotics. Within a few months the condition vanished. I still use the DGL before most meals.

  5. Tom says

    I was on strong antibiotics as a kid. I’ve been on gluten and dairy free diets while on probiotics but nothing seems to help my eczema and acne.
    Only eczema and acne are shown on my face and no where else and this has been a problem for years.

  6. Jeremy says

    The right side of my hand stays inflamed and has cracking and splitting skin that bleeds often. I do notice if I eat super clean then my hand will heal

    • E says

      I have the same issue one my right hand, I quit eating gluten and use organic soaps and lotions only, 100% better than before.

  7. Rachel Hamilton says

    I have been suffering with painful cystic acne for almost a year now. I have always been acne prone but nothing like this. I am now figuring out that I have a candida overgrowth and am modifying my diet because of it even though I ate pretty close to the paleo diet anyway. My question is on fermented foods and candida. I have read a couple studies that say you should not have fermented foods like kombucha and sauerkraut. Can anyone give me a recommendation?

    • Caleb Barlow says

      Hello Rachel,
      My recommendation would be to avoid it for now. The fermented food is good for your gut (probiotics) but it can also feed the Candida. So I would remove it from your diet and in about a month or so you could try reintroducing it and if you notice any reactions/symptoms that’s a sign that you need to continue to keep it out of your diet. And this applies to all foods that you aren’t sure about, test them out.

  8. caleb barlow says

    There is a definite connection with me. I am suffering from a systemic Candida Infection in my gut along with a leaky gut. This is causing me to react to almost any food I eat. I have been on a super restrictive diet (mostly meats and cooked veggies) for the past 4 months. The closest thing to it would have to be a even stricter version of the AIP diet. One of my reactions is that my hands and fingers will get really dry and lose some of their elasticity. Then my fingers will crack badly and form all of these funky looking lines that can sometimes be painful.

  9. STEVEN says

    I suffered from cystic acne as a teenager that progressed into seb derm & rosacea into my 20’s plus hair fell out when none of my brothers or father have any hair loss(or skin issues). I can’t for the life of me figure out what triggered this. I definitely have some constipation issues and frequent bloating. Mostly 99% dairy and gluten free but symptoms still persist. Gave up on doctors a long time ago.

    • Matt says

      Hello Steven

      You probably were on a course of antibiotics during childhood.

      Try slippery elm powder. 2 teaspoons 3 times per day, away from meals.

    • Cheryl says

      Hi, Steven.

      I am guessing you have leaky gut. Check out the GAPS protocol by Dr. Campbell-McBride as well as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). I had terrible acne and severe joint and neurologic conditions that have plagued me throughout my life but I believe they all stem from leaky gut. A strict Paleo diet has taken much of the issues away, but not entirely. I think I need to heal my gut entirely (I believe I now have SIBO from a misguided attempt at probiotics) and am waiting for test results now. I received massive amounts of antibiotics as a child and, but for the miracle of modern medicine, I would likely not have survived infancy. Good luck to you!

  10. Matt says

    I’m a 27yo guy… been taking antibiotics for my acne since i was about 18. It always kept it manageable, but it never fully cured it. Creams never worked for me… I have the deep cystic acne that starts deep below the skin and forms painful boils as well as the associated whiteheads.

    I ran into this page and was reading about candida overgrowth in the gut. I took the advice seriously, got off the Bactrim. I am pretty strict on the Paleo diet already, so my diet modification didn’t take too much effort.

    In place of the Bactrim, I got the strongest probiotics around – 15 billion units. Its been a few months, but I have not had any major acne breakouts. (My skin is not perfect, but no worse than it was on the Bactrim).

    It blows my mind that the very medication that we take to cure acne could actually be causing it or making it worse.

    • Barbara says

      There is a Ultimate Flora Super Critical 200 billion probiotic. I took it for a skin condition I had…………..worked great.

  11. Cindy says

    Awww Chris! I just got your email about accepting NEW patients and it’s already full. I hope you’ll accept new patients soon!!!!

    So I have rash that comes and goes on my hands (starting last year). I’m 33 years old. I definitely had/have bloatness all my life, bouts of depression, strong sugar cravings, etc. I typically eat a Paleo type diet. I have tried GAPS but not strictly as I am nursing. I am currently reading Sarah’s book on AIP. It seems that I react to nuts and nightshades but its hard to tell with a 3 year old asking me “Why” for the 100th time and my 9 months old needing attention.

    Anyway, I’m rambling but I hope to become your patient one day because I feel that you’re the only one who can truly get to the bottom of this. Thanks!

    • Cindy says

      Forgot to mention. (I’m not being prideful here) I actually have amazing skin (just a few pimples here and there as a teenager). Which is odd to me that I would get this rash on my hands when I have great looking skin everywhere else. I did get a new rash on the side of my left breast when I tried the GAPS about 3 months ago….I thought that perhaps I was detoxing. Strange!

    • MK says

      Cindy, your sx sound a lot like mine. Have a Look at Dr. Norm Robillard’s FAST TRACK Diet for IBS. I stopped eating foods with high fermentation potential and it really cleared up confusion about what foods I was reacting too. Read his blog post on IBS and SIBO. He is REALLY onto something that I think Chris and others will be following. He explains why there are a few foods on some of the digestive health diets that are really problematic for Sibo. I started following his diet and my bloating cleared up in THREE DAYS. And I stopped having undigested food in my stool, no more gas and burping is WAY Down. It is like a miracle. I can still digest well chewed Jasmine rice. He will explain why in his book. It is a really do-able diet as nuts and low-lactose and fermented dairy are allowed if tollerated. Good luck. http://digestivehealthinstitute.org/2012/08/17/sibo-diet-and-digestive-health/

  12. says

    need some advise. live in lake oswego, or. just went on fodmap diet a month or so ago. working well except just had surgery for huge hiatal hernia plus achelasia which means only liquids for min. of 6 weeks. don’t like coconuts but other than that am open for suggestions where can find tasty drinks with some nutitional value. thanks, les

  13. Pat Rini says

    I am sitting here wondering ..I am just getting over a terrible bout of c-diff and have been drinking two glasses of kifer a day to get my gut flora up…and I have notice my the skin on my face looks better…I didn’t have dry patches but a reddish looking face and I was trying to cover up my face skin with liquid make-up.the past few days I have been not used liquid makeup ( after 69 years of using makeup) and I think my skin is looking better everyday ..after reading these posts I wonder if it is the probiotics making my skin better…

  14. Kali says

    I had acne throughout my teenage years, but as my hormones changed (I am female so my male hormone levels are decreasing as I am leaving puberty) I began to get symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. I find this very interesting but I cannot seem to find any websites directly approaching this connection. Does anyone know anything about acne + IBS specifically?

  15. Matt says

    I’m a 27 yo male who has had acne since puberty. I have been prescribed several antibiotics over the years (currently Bactrim) to control my breakouts. It really does work, however I have been developing lots of symptoms which I only recently became informed of.

    Since the Bactrim is indiscriminately killing off my gut flora, I am sure that my gut has some serious issues. It may explain my frequent nausea which always intensifies on an empty stomach.

    I have also ready about Candida overgrowth which can occur when bacteria are out of balance. The Candida fungus releases toxic byproducts into the blood stream.

    To treat this, I am now committing to stopping with Bactrim, taking 15 billion units of oral probiotic per day, as well as adding more unpasteurized/fermented foods to my diet. I also just began taking Caprylic Acid which is supposed to reduce the Candida overgrowth without killing good bacteria off.

    I already eat a pretty healthy diet by trying to stick to the Paleo eating plan. The Paleo plan’s goal is reduced inflammation and optimal gut health and I’m already pretty accustomed to this diet. I have noticed some improvement in my skin since beginning it a few years ago.

    Is there any topical treatment that you or any reader recommends? I usually alternate between Benzyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid facial washes and an occasional dab from my last tube of retinol renewal complex (Clean and Clear Brand, no longer available in stores as far as I know). I have tried things like Tea Tree Oil, however applying any oil to my skin seems two only make things worse.

    • says

      Apple cider vinegar (alive and unpasteurized, with the mother) morning and evening would probably be a good topical treatment for you. Dilute it 50/50 with water and adjust as needed. Give it some time and you’ll probably see good results.

    • LS says

      Hi Matt, you need to stop using all chemicals on your face and begin to restore the natural ph and friendly bacteria to your skin as well as your gut. Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, therefore, anything you put on your skin will sink in and enter your blood stream and affect your organs. You need to re-alkaline your gut and skin and a wonderful way to do this is by using Apple Cider Vinegar and coconut oil. I know putting more oil on your face seems scary but it will actually permeate the cell walls of much of the unfriendly bacteria and essentially “blow it up”. On another note you will want to detoxify your body and help the unwanted bacteria leave so I recommend Epsom Salt baths 3x per week. Lastly, while Paleo is an excellent diet for people who are already healthy, for someone trying to recover, most meat and all sugar types sans Stevia must be eliminated for 1-3 months. Also, you will want to buy everything organic and chemical free for a speedy recovery. In addition to caprylic acid, I highly recommend these supplements and herbs: N-A-C, CoQ10, Zinc, Biotin, Selenium, milk thistle, goldenseal, oil of oregano, pau d’arco, garlic supplement by Kyolic (they make one for candida and digestion), extra vitamin C, chlorophyll, vitamins A,E and B complex. I know it sounds like a lot but recovering from leaky gut takes a lot for your body to correct and it may take months but it will work! Drink tons of water as well and make sure that you allow your body to sweat often! I hope all of this helps. Just remember you will notice a difference in your appearance when your gut heals. The easiest way to figure out what someone is going through on the inside is by how they look on the outside. You will heal. I promise!

  16. says

    This summer I have had a full blown skin rash on one arm, then the other. The dermatologists said I had dry skin. My medical (very holistic) doctor said my blood work was perfect and it had to be something external. I did 3 weeks of gluten free diet and still had the rash. I did discover a bacteria problem in our hot water heater which is now resolved, the rash is some better but still hanging in there.

    About a month ago I had a thermographic imaging breast exam done. The image went from my throat to my pelvic area. The ta-tas are all good but a huge red mass in my stomach/pancreas/liver area and the diagnosis was that I had some kind of “gut” problem. I have changed my diet to diary free (except some fermented yogurt in my green smoothies), lots of dark green veges, fermented veges (sauerkraut…), sustainable seafood and chicken. and an organic Kombucha daily.

    I have not been able to lose weight for the last 7-8 years. I have now lost 3 pounds in one week on this diet. My rash is considerably better (at least until I had wine last night).

    There is a lot to this gut-skin connection. I think I may have been headed toward an auto-immune problem had I not begun a focus on my digestive system.

    • Cindy says

      Hey Gail,

      How did you find out that you had bad bacteria in your hot water heater?

      I got my hand rash shortly after replacing our hot water heater but never thought about that until I read your message.

      Any other you have will be greatly appreciated! -Cindy

  17. Cheryl Lenton says

    Been putting on cream and Oitments perscription for is severe psoriasis.. He can’t use Bo stuff or anything else. He has had cancer and stintnts in heart plus light treatment so this is it if he wants knee replacement surgery. Sincence then I now had small lump on throat below jaw that everyone said looked like spider bite. No redness and it won’t go away had it for3weeks.

  18. bing says

    after two weeks of lactoferrin and peppermint oil caps this red spot between my eyes i had for years cleared up, so did my beard ‘dandruff’. could this mean my gut improved a little as well?

  19. Amy Gilroy says

    I made my own Kvass (fermented beet drink), but it CAUSES Rosacea flair-ups, which runs counter to the findings of this article. I am wondering, if I push through and keep drinking Kvass, which is supposed to help gut flora, will the Rosacea eventually dissipate?

    Thank you.

  20. angela says

    I have had constipation problems all my life, in my thirties my doctor showed me my colon is about 8-9 feet long, now in my f40’s I have been tested by a functional doctor who says I have a leaky gut, ulcerative colitis, adrenal and thyroid problems and hypoglycemia. I have been on a strict paleo diet (with no beans or nuts etc.) since May, acne gone. Not even medication for acne was working.

  21. Jo says

    I had this horrible rash on my left hand which kept coming back over the last few years and was slowly spreading. It was like a dry red scaly rash which I just couldn’t get rid of know matter what tried and only on my left hand. Vasaline was the only thing that was slowing the spread down. Even the doctors didn’t know how to get rid of it. Then about a month ago I just randomly wanted to try the 3 litres of water a day challenge after reading an article on facebook and within about a week the dermatitis was gone!! All the creams i bought from doctors and all I needed was a water detox for a month. So anyone suffering any kind of dry skin or dematitis seriously try the 3 litres of water a day!!

  22. says

    Since our clinic switched from allopathic (traditional) to functional medicine, we no longer treat acne with anything but high powered probiotics and dietary changes (usually grain free/casein free). It does wonders for complexion problems and other A/I skin conditions. No more meds!

  23. Kim says

    Hi Chris,

    I’ve had rosacea since a small child along with constipation. I’ve also been very depressed and fatigued my whole life. Ive also suffered from sinus infections and put on antibiotics most of my adult years 2-3 times a year and also antidepressants off an on for migraines and depression. The last 9 months (since menopause started), my life has been a nightmare. My depression couldn’t be worse and if I had to pick one reason for it, that would be due to my rosacea among many other health issues! I have to admit I’ve abused my body all my life with the worst foods (comfort food) fast food, gluten, sugar, salt, dairy, cheese and processed foods and never ate fruits and veggies… Inhaled my food.

    I’ve done so much studying in the past 9 months and I truly believe that if I can heal my gut, my rosacea would heal too although my doctor and family don’t agree. I’ve cut out dairy, wheat and gluten for the most part since the last 9 months and my sinus issues, migraines diminished until recently (beginning of July) had an infection (due to being off my multi vitamin and stress from not sleeping for months… I was seeing a chiro/nutritionist which was a waste of money and then getting sick.

    I’ve also stopped taking all medications since last December as I truly wanted to heal naturally. I’ve done the 10 day master cleanse twice earlier in the year which didn’t help any.

    To date my depression got so bad I’ve admitted I needed help so I am back on an anti-depressant and metronidazole cream for my face… This is the first time I have ever used this cream and it’s been 4 weeks since using it.

    I need some advice (from anyone who can help me). I’m 47 years old and so want to be ‘normal’.

    How can I heal my gut? And is it possible to heal it while on an antidepressant and metronidazole?

    By the way, in June for the very 1st time in my life, I believe I experienced what it felt to have a normal bowel movement for a week or so. I was eating a lot of fruit (smoothies), etc. Currently, I have been eating lots of fruits and started exercising 20 minutes a day the last 3 out of 4 days. I realize after all these troubled years I’ve experienced, things are not going to happen over night. I am hanging on to a string and am seeking some hope no matter how anyone feels around me. Thanking anyone for a reply in advance:(. I feel so alone.

    • Beth says

      You might want to consider working with a trained practitioner to do the GAPS diet or the Nutritional Balancing program. Both require commitment, but I think you’d be amazed. Best of luck to you.

    • finndian says

      You sure seem to be showing a lot of magnesium deficiency symptoms. Thats to be expected if you have gut issues… magnesium and B vitamins. Looking back I’ve struggled with magnesium deficiency my whole life but just figuring it out in the last 7 or 8 years. It was food allergies this entire time! Oh well, better late than never, huh?

      I had frequent sinus infections too… no surprise that antibiotics drive down magnesium levels even further so thats a vicious cycle. Drinking alcohol is a quick way to lower mag levels too. Anyway…infections, insomnia, migraines, depression, constipation… absolutely, had all that! I had more classic signs of magnesium deficiency as well. Exaggerated startle response and sensitive hearing, sensitivity to bright lights, panic, adult acne and skin sensitivity.

      What kind of magnesium supplements and what mgs have you taken? I couldn’t restore my levels orally because my gut was in such bad condition…. I needed IV’s of magnesium even after 6 months of 1200mgs of magnesium glycinate taken daily in divided doses. Its a tough thing to overcome…. add to that that if you are indeed profoundly magnesium deficient then you are potassium deficient as well and they need to be cured together.

      “The range of pathologies associated with Mg deficiency is staggering: hypertension (cardiovascular disease, kidney and liver damage, etc.), peroxynitrite damage (migraine, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.), recurrent bacterial infection due to low levels of nitric oxide in the cavities (sinuses, vagina, middle ear, lungs, throat, etc.), fungal infections due to a depressed immune system, thiamine deactivation (low gastric acid, behavioral disorders, etc.), premenstrual syndrome, Ca deficiency (osteoporosis, hypertension, mood swings, etc.), tooth cavities, hearing loss, diabetes type II, cramps, muscle weakness, impotence (lack of NO), aggression (lack of NO), fibromas, K deficiency (arrhythmia, hypertension, some forms of cancer), Fe accumulation, etc. Finally, because there are so many variables involved in the Mg metabolism, evaluating the effect of Mg in many diseases has frustrated many researchers who have simply tried supplementation with Mg, without undertaking the task of ensuring its absorption and preventing excessive elimination, rendering the study of Mg deficiency much more difficult than for most other nutrients.”

  24. Autumn Monroe says

    What about rosacea guys? I’ll be honest, the comments were a hundred miles long so it might have already been addressed. I am twenty three and have had acne for years. But now? I’m getting little broken capillaries under my eyes. It MIGHT be rosacea. It might be genetic (my father has them). Docs tend to say there is no cure and they don’t know the cause. But, is it POSSIBLE that it’s linked to diet/inflammation? I really feel hopeless about my face a ton. As if there’s not a million more things to be insecure about at twenty three years old!

    • penelope says

      Hi autumn
      if they are broken capiliaries, not rosacea is very much a cosmetic thing. sensitive skin, sun damage, sudden hot and cold (maybe spicy food, I cant remember) I think estheticians call it couperose. People get a kind of laser treatment where the blood is pulled out to the surface of the skin, scabs up and falls off. You look drastic for a few days but it’s supposed to cure it if you then take steps to prevent. I had a friend who was incredibly fair haired and skinned and she had the treatment. get a diagnosis first. There is a big difference between rosacea and broken capilaries and all kinds of other skin erythema (redness). And yes, lots of people have talked about rosacea. Take the time to read through the comments, I learned alot.

  25. nb says

    Hi Chris,

    I’m curious if you have ever come across individuals with Tinea Versicolor (or similar fungal infections) and if you have found wether there is any relation to the gut. I’m 37 years old and have had it in my upper torso as long as I can remember. Dermatologist usually have prescribed topical fungal medications and have warned that it can not be permanently cured, meaning that it would (and it has) come back after treatments. I have learned to live with it and have it relatively under control, but I have always wondered if it’s connected to what we eat.

    Thank you very much for your work.

  26. says

    YES! I know that gut health is related from my own two children… My daughter is an athlete and was injured requiring 2 surgeries and many antibiotics. Her face was broken out badly. The pain meds from the surgeries are also constipating. I had to give her an enima…when all those toxins were eliminated. ….her skin cleared up and was glowing! YES, all health begins in the gut!

  27. Chelsea says

    Hello, I came across this forum because I was wondering if there may be any connection between my recent digestive issues and simultaneous skin issues, so I googled it!

    I was recently diagnosed with seborrheic dermatitis and it’s been really bothering me because I used to have lovely skin, and I just don’t feel like myself. I also have been having horrible heart burn, and got an endoscopy done around the same time I saw the dermatologist, and the gastroenterologist said that he could see a lot of bile in my stomach, and I am now waiting for the results of the biopsy.

    I have had heartburn since I was a young teenager, and I have also had slight eczema since that age as well, but I never did anything about either issue, and I definitely never made the connection between the two. But recently, both skin and gut have gotten so much worse (surely due to major life changes that have caused me much stress) and I can feel almost instinctively that the two are related. When my heartburn is worse, my skin is worse.

    I take probiotics because I have also been having constipation, and the probiotics really help me stay regular. They do not seem to relieve the heartburn at all, though. I’ve used coconut oil as a skin moisturizer very frequently over the past four years, but it honestly does not seem to help when I have a flare-up of seborrheic dermatitis. No cream or anything seems to make it better. I have been using ketoderm cream every day since seeing the dermatologist. My skin got much better for two weeks, then I had another flare up. I don’t know what brings it on. My cheeks get red and burn, especially when I put cream on them, and I get flaky dry skin on my cheeks, chin, eyebrows, throat, and behind my ears. It’s like having dandruff on my skin. I also get flare-ups on my scalp, where it becomes so inflamed and itchy that scabs develop and it hurts. But sebiprox shampoo has helped to keep that under control.

    I don’t know anything about Paleo, or this website, but your information is very interesting, and hopefully I can find something that will help me understand what I need to do to get all of these issues under control.

    PS. I eat rather healthy, but perhaps more fat and sugar than I should. I was also a vegetarian for 12 years but started eating a little meat one year ago.

    PPS. I have definitely noticed that my skin flares up when I drink alcohol. Not all the time, but when it does flare up, the reaction is almost immediate- one beer, one glass of wine, and my cheeks are red and bumpy and burning.

    • Phil says

      Sulphites and food additives can cause these problems – wine is loaded artificially with them now, as are other drinks like cider. Even things like apples in the US are shipped from Canada in baths of sulphites so they arrive at the super-market fresh and won’t bruise or rot. Preservatives int he bread and most other non-fresh foods are often hidden. A fresh veg organic or known source diet and check your water doesn’t have sulphites in, as it often does.

    • Matt says

      Hi,

      I have heartburn too! I am trying to figure that out… I usually get it whenever I’m hungry or if I had something spicy (or worse, if I get hungry after something spicy.) my girlfriend who is a nurse seems to think I have a hiatal hernia. I have been taking heavy doses of probiotics lately which has not really helped. I also try to stick as close to the Paleo diet as possible, which is helps reduce inflammation in the body.

      I have pretty terrible acne too, however my skin has seen improvements lately. I quit the Bactrim (antibiotic that I was taking long-term for acne) and my skin actually got BETTER! I notice my skin gets extra irritated when I have dairy and when I use certain topical acne cream and then go in the sun. Thats a bad combination that will dry you out and make you flake bad, especially in winter when its dry and windy.

  28. Lisa says

    I have been suffering horribly with vitiligo for almost 5 years, after it being pretty much dormant for about 15 years prior (I developed it at age 14). My medical doctor and dermatologist haven’t offered much advice, only prescribed a cortisone cream and have told me that there is nothing that can be done and I will sadly die with this disease. Ultraviolet light is a treatment, but with so much covering my body and having to take an oral medication to make me even more sensitive to the sun, doesn’t seem like a sensible solution since my white patches would then be bright pink and most likely painful. I have recently started to work with a Naturopath in hopes that she can get to the root of things as it is starting to adversely affect my life and being able to do things with my kids. I have to stay out of the sun as no amount of sunscreen and constant reapplication will keep my unpigmented skin from burning. People often stare and ask if I’ve been burned because of the way my exposed skin looks. I am having my thyroid tested and will be going gluten free and perhaps this will make a difference. Is there any link to vitiligo and other things like yeast intolerance or certain vitamin deficiencies? Any advice would be most helpful as I am at a loss….

  29. Melissa says

    I have been suffering from skin break outs and sores that are slow to heal. My upper respiratory and sinusis have been affected plus internal abdominal pain. My doctors have been useless. They have treated me for scabies, folliculitis, MRSA, now they want to assume I’m crazy or don’t want to run tests because it will drive up the health care system. Yeah that’s right can you believe a doctor said that to me. I have been tested for lupus, MS. I do have IBS and have suffered with dermatitis and gastrointestinal inflammation. After almost a year I have been doing my own research. Something is feeding on me. First on the inside then comes to the skin. I treat the skin with apple cider vinegar which helps tremendously and ivermectin does kill but it keeps returning. One thing is after taking the ivermectin I haven’t had one outbreak of dermatitis or had an episode of IBS. I think I have had this longer then I thought. I came across an article about the leaky gut and I thought I hadn’t taken my aciphex for awhile. I also started taking some proboitics. In three days I was better not healed completely yet but feel I’m on the right track. This diet thing is so hard. How long do you have to be on it. I eat pretty good but this thing craves sugar and it is so hard to refrain. Since I have been able to keep my skin at bay now I’m having major pain in my left side and middle of my rip cage. Would love to hear a response.

  30. Brian Self says

    Paleo Autoimmune Protocol made my skin clearer than I ever remember it being when I stick with it.

    In my experience what Chris is saying holds water.

  31. Nick says

    I have long had a very sensitive intolerance to gluten despite no IgA markers indicating celiac disease. This has been associated with a serious skin rash (not dermatitis herpetiformis) and hormonal disturbances (diabetes, etc.).
    I am currently being treated with strong corticosteroids to improve my skin condition. Interestingly this is having a powerful daytime sedative effect, which my doctor denies can possibly be related to the steroid treatment, but which clearly is connected to it (when I skip the treatment the effect goes away in a matter of a few hours). It triggered the thought of a poor skin barrier i.e. leaky skin in association with the leaky gut apparent from the gluten intolerance. Has anyone experienced anything similar?

  32. Katy says

    I’ve never had horrible stomach pains or stomach upset from eating any foods. So I’ve never considered myself as having a gut problem or IBS or such.

    However, for one or two years (yes, really!) I have had large and tiny scabs (from nicks and spider bites) that were healing very, very slowly. Also, the “new” skin was often very rough.

    Before these bites and scabs, I had already been cleaning up my eating as informed by Weston Price Foundation principles. I’m eating simpler, less processed foods, weaning off the junk food. I drank raw milk, took coconut oil, CLO, and I occasionally took a probiotic with multiple live strains. My overall health has improved, but not my skin.

    Then I read an explanation online that went something like this: if your skin is the largest organ in your body, then surely if you have issues on your skin’s outside, then there are issues on its inside. I decided to focus more on gut healing then I had before.

    Three weeks ago, I started taking Bio-kult, building up slowly. I also have been eating more bone broth, and really limiting the sugar. My body has definitely been detoxing, but I am keeping it at a controlled pace. In the last few days, the scabs on my arms have started drying up and healing normally. There has been more change in my skin in this time than in months or years before. I am convinced there is a gut-skin connection!

  33. says

    Started taking oral probiotics about two weeks ago, and although I feel much better and the constant bloating and water retention have subsided just a tiny bit, but now the skin on my fingers began peeling, and no I am not in a swimming pool or even prolonged exposure to water.

    I am not worried but would like to know if anyone else had this problem, how long it lasted and if it ever went away?

    • d pope says

      My finger tips have been peeling (it is not just dry skin) for years. While on antibiotics and probiotics for a systemic strep pneumonia infection (6 weeks) the peeling stopped. Now one week into metronidazole for C. diff without probiotics, the peeling is back. I’m going back on the probiotics to see if the peeling stops. The peeling follows unprovoked yellow callusing.

  34. janks says

    I desperately need any advice please. I don’t have the funds to go to a natural doctor/homeopath/naturopath etc. I have been to one last year. But I really stuggled to pay for it. So any help that you can give me would be great.I feel like I want to give up hope.
    Here’s the thing. I got treated for candida last year(last few months of 2013) and after about 3 months I successfully got rid of my candida. I followd the diet and got herbal medicine from a homeopath in pretoria. My symptoms was: inability to concentrate, brain fog, memory loss, acne(adult acne-moderate), folliculitis(on my legs), scalp sores, fatigue, teary eyes (also burning eyes sometimes). I got sick of my acne that didn’t want to go away and also my pimple-like bumps on my legs. Whether I shave or not(but worse when I shave). And I was also just tired of feeling the way I felt(sick and tired, literally).
    I have been on antibiotics (for acne, tetralysal and purbac when I was in high school) and also on birth control pills(for my acne, 2years ago approxiamately). This was all before I went to see the homeopath. I weigh 52kg and I am 1,68 m. I don’t smoke. Drink occassionaly. But only moderately. I eat healthy most of the time but I do indulge in junk food or less healthy food sometimes. I drink a lot of water(we filter our water). I drink tap water in little amounts, not everyday, only when I am not at home.
    so that said. I have a few other symptoms now. And a few symptoms is gone(that I had when I had candida).

    I have the following symptoms:

    Ringing in ears(hissing)
    Dry skin (mostly my legs)
    Itchy legs(mostly my lower legs and it is worse at night)
    Still acne(not severe, but mostly on my chin, and jawline and around mouth)
    Scalp sores(sometimes, it comes and goes)
    Low blood pressure(I tested it a few weeks ago)
    High cholesterol
    Hungry feeling(shortly after I eat)
    Not soft stools, rather hard(and hard to pass also)
    I also have acne on my butt(sometimes severe sometimes mild, on and off)
    I wake up in the early morning and struggle to fall back to sleep(so a bit insomnia I guess)
    And I get pain in my leg bones at night while I sleep

    I feel really miserable because of all this. I did a bit of research and I feel it can either be candida(again), hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, or metal toxicity. I don’t know. It can also be malabsorption(just my opinion). But have a feeling it is metal toxicity.

    Please help me. What do you think it is? What can I do about it.. Any natural remedies or natural supplements you would suggest(vitamins or supplements or food). Please I am desperate. I can’t afford expensive stuff and I really need help. Let me know if you need other info regarding medical history etc…

    Currently I am taking vit D3, vitC, Solar’s natural antibiotic and a multivitamin/mineral supplement that’s yeast free, gluten, lactose free and soy free. I have been taking this for 2 weeks or so (because of my symptoms.)And I am taking swedish bitters. I also drink green tea sometimes.

    Let me know what you think.
    Thank you so much for helping me.

    • MK says

      Candida and SIBO symptoms are often confused. If you have alreayd treated your candida, look at SIBO. Follow the Fast Track Diet for IBS to curb any SIBO sx. GIve it 3 months. Avoid sugar almost always, especially while trying to get to a better baseline of health. The Fast Track Diet limits the amount of food left over in the gut for bad microbes to feed on (and also, candida). It is really easy to follow and can be followed on a budget. Post questions at digestive health institute website you will get lots of support. It can’t hurt and I have seen it help a lot of people. When you can afford a good Chinese Medicine or Natropath go back fo more guidance. When you have sibo you don’t absorb vitamins and minerals and lots of things go haywire. Give it time to heal your gut.

  35. Joan says

    I had a rash around the mouth and an increase of saliva (drooling constantly). I had this rash for 4 months, and had been to four doctors with no help. I found a Holistic web site that stated all my symptoms, it explained too much bacteria in my colon, and to use a probiotic. After three weeks using the probiotic faithfully the rash was gone and the drooling stopped, I continue to use the probiotic. Hope this helps.

  36. Wendy V says

    Hi, Can anybody explain sweaty hands to me? I have a daughter who has unbelievably sweaty hands and feet, can’t find an answer anywhere and would appreciate any help……

    She also has a dairy problem, diagnosed by my homeopath at about 2 years old,

  37. Bethany says

    I went paleo for a few a month in 2013 and after that perioral dermatitis showed up. I have been working on gut issues for about 9 months. I use only steroid free products for cleansing. However, my skin condition recently flared up and I am in an acute state of perioral dermatitis with no end in sight. I take Jarrowdophilus and have for over five years and have gotten rid of yeast in my system. I’m not sure how long I can keep dealing with this and wonder if there is more I need to do to clean up my diet. I have changed it dramatically and eat fruits, vegetables, meats, bonemarrow soup, and sprouted grains but can not get to the bottom of this Leaky gut. Do you have any suggestions of what more I can do?

  38. Elizabeth says

    I have vitiligo. I have done the paleo, autoimmune protocal 2x and each time after about 8 weeks I noticed some repigminting. I was also taking a probiotic and aloe juice. However, I lost so much weight and I had to add back in some grains and dairy to gain weight…I am 5’7 and was down to 95 pounds. I couldn’t gain weight no matter what I did and it got to the point of me having to force food down my throat. After adding foods back in, I have gained weight, but have subsequently noticed new spots and any repigminting has stopped. So…I know it is tied to what I am eating but I have no idea what and I obviously cannot sustain an autoimmune protocal forever…I have not been able to find a doctor who will work with me on this so I continue to experiment on my own. I wish there were more global studies on vitiligo and diet/nutrition/digestion…

    • penelope says

      Elizabeth I’m not sure what “Paleo” you are doing. Hopefully an individual one like Chris K recommends. Take a look at Jaminet and Jaminet Perfect Health Diet. I have autoimmune disease (vitiligo a few years ago too) I found that if I ate starchy vegetables at all meals and then brought some white basmati rice back in, I stabilised my weight and have even been gaining if I want to.

      • Elizabeth says

        Thanks! I just recently heard about the perfect health diet. I will look into it. I have done the autoimmune protocal…elimination diet. No nightshades, dairy, grains, eggs, nuts, legumes or sweeteners. I actually felt great doing it. My joint pain subsided considerably, my brain fog went away and I had more energy. It also got rid of my “chicken skin” on my upper arms which doctors told me I would never get rid of. It was all great until it wasn’t:) Sounds like the perfect health diet might be what I need to keep the weight on. Thanks again

        • penelope says

          Im not sure teh PHD will be any different from what you were doing but (for me) it was helpful to hypothesize why no legumes etc. I went on a similar diet for lupus 25 years ago. I do want to say that the key to not losing too much weight is carbs. Thats why I said make sure you eat sweet starchy veggies at all meals and if you can tolerate it, white rice. The Jaminets and others are calling them “safe starches” or “gentle carbs”. Here is a post from Chris (since you are on his site already) http://chriskresser.com/is-starch-a-beneficial-nutrient-or-a-toxin

  39. Gary Engstrom says

    I added fermented vegetables and began reducing carbohydrates in my diet about 2 years ago. I’ve more recently added liver and bone broth as well. It is hard to pin point exactly what has affected my skin, but my skin is much clearer, and oiler (my hair is also oiler and stronger). Also, I suffered from dry patchy areas caused by a viral infection (like warts but superficial). These dry itchy areas are now gone.

  40. Luke says

    I had undiagnosed stomach problems for 5 years, ultimately diagnosed celiac. During the end of those 5 years, I developed vitiligo on my forehead. Since going gluten free, the vitiligo stopped spreading.

  41. Beth says

    You may want to look into a fecal transplant (nearly 100% effective from all that I’ve read), followed by something like the Gerson diet.

  42. Sherry Lynch says

    I tend to have skin blisters that peel and sometimes bleed. I have been diagnosed with eczema and psoriasis. Never had it TV before. Now when this happens, my digestions acting up or the skin happens months before I end up in ER. I have had c-diff. Skin cancer in the bowel. I need this to end. Last time had worse problems with bloody stool. Irritated lining of colon. I need help.

  43. Mitchell says

    Huge pores not nearly a problem now with probiotics,in my Mid 50s, finally got rid of blotchy red skin ,it is almost totally clear now.

  44. Kay says

    Hi, I would like to know if eating Greek yogurt with probiotics and raw milk on a regular basis would be enough for intestinal health, or if an oral probiotic in addition would be helpful. I’m not sure if any of these food products contain the two probiotics mentioned above (lactobacillus and bifido), but I have heard mixed things about oral probiotics making much of a difference in skin health.

    Someone else here mentioned taking 5,000 mg glutamine, but don’t we get enough in dairy products, for example, if we eat a substantial amount in our diet? http://www.weighttraining.com/faq/which-foods-are-high-in-glutamine

    Another person mentioned a bile-thinning product, but gave no recommendation of brand or name — that would be nice to know.

    I don’t think we’ll know for sure what causes various forms of dermatitis, but we can share with one another what has worked for us. So, if anyone can tell me the answer to my first question whether probiotics might be indicated in addition to rich sources in my diet, I would be grateful, and do you have 1 or 2 brands you can recommend? Many thanks.

  45. penelope says

    ps Johnny, perhaps you should find another forum for your thoughts. You don’t seem to be offering anything other than pessimism and negativity filtered through your own personal experience.

    It’s well known medically that gluten intolerance can produce eczema symptoms. There is a medical term for it: Dermatitis Herpetiformis. Celiacs can react to the tiniest amount of gluten.

    Oh and my “joyful throes of initial remission” lasted from age 21-45.

  46. Soraya says

    Hi, I’m 43 & I’ve suffered from bouts of eczema most of my life, until 3 years ago I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease. I changed my diet & within 2/3 weeks my eczema completely went. So I strongly believe that yes, there is a definite connection with gut & skin. I eat healthily, keep fit & drink lots of water, I also take vits & supplements. Recently though my eczema has made a reappearance, which concerns me as I haven’t changed anything in my diet but I’ve started taking organic supplements with no fillers or binders (pure). I take organic sulphur, vit C, B complex, calcium with vit D & biotin…..is it possible that one of the supplements are affecting me? Any suggestions as the eczema is on my shoulder blades & driving me mad!

    • Johnny says

      “I changed my diet & within 2/3 weeks my eczema completely went… Recently though my eczema has made a reappearance, which concerns me as I haven’t changed anything in my diet…”

      This is actually the classic scenario. Diets can and often do offer short-term relief but they are, in the end, ineffective as the cure they are purported to be, and promoted as. Inflammatory skin conditions such as various types of dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis tend to be highly adaptive diseases and almost always reappear.

      So much praise for various diets for various diets are often written by people in the joyful throes of that initial remission, thinking that a long term treatment has finally been discovered. Check in with them later down the road and you almost always find someone who is again dealing with the skin condition, which has resurfaced, sometimes with a greater vengeance and resilience than preciously witnessed.

    • penelope says

      Hi Soraya
      I can relate, my eczema suddenly returned after years. For me, I’m pretty sure it was associated with perimenopause. Anyway, the obvious first step is to stop taking those supplements. Wait several months. See how you respond. The sulphur is a red flag to me. Good luck!

  47. Tammy says

    I have lichen planopilaris. I believe it was caused from trauma to my scalp. At the same time I developed gut problems/ irritable bowel-like symptoms. I wonder if skin/hair problems such as LPP can trigger gut problems, just as gut problems can trigger skin problems. It seems to make sense to me that if they’re linked, then any one component of the brain-skin-gut axis can trigger another component. If the LPP triggered gut problems, does it make sense to heal the gut in an effort to treat LPP? Many thanks for your response.

    • penelope says

      Hi Tammy
      I can see the way you are thinking about the two way connection but I honestly think in this case, if you look at the way that the skin is an elimination system *after* the gut that your theory is probably not correct. In many modalities, you treat the gut/whole system and the skin improves as a result. In fact there are systems of medicine that suggest that if you suppress a skin condition (eg eczema with cortisone) it will manifest in deeper systems like asthma in the lungs. I know lichen planus is an autoimmune disease but haven’t heard of lichen planopilaris (dermatology is so often just taxonomy). Anyway if its AI then you definitely want to heal your gut/immune system/whole system and then your skin will respond.

      • Tammy says

        I agree that it makes sense to heal the gut. Definitely wise. I suspect that the relationship between gut and LPP is not so straightforward. I’m one of many who developed LPP and then got GI problems thereafter. It’s a system after all, and so it intuitively makes sense to me that there can be some bi-directional feedback involved.

  48. Debra says

    I can testify to the gut-skin connection. I have rosacea and take probiotics. My rosacea is pretty much under control. If I stop the probiotics, the rosacea is worse. You must make sure you buy a good quality probiotic. If you are not sure yours is active, do like I do. When buying a new bottle, I use one open capsule and l cup of milk and make yogurt or kefir. If it ferments–your probiotic is alive!!!

  49. Bonnie says

    I was diagnosed with acne rosacea by a dermatologist. I am 72 and have never had skin problems in my whole life until two years ago, when I became gluten intolerant, sugar intolerant, and preservative intolerant. The medical community in my town is totally clueless as to how to help me, and they are very resistant to anything that deviates from their textbook cases,, so I have had to do my own research to find the answers I need. A vein doctor, who is a health nut, referred me to your website. I feel like I am now on the right track. I have changed the way I eat, gone gluten free, milk free, and preservative free. My H-pylori is gone, and I am back to about 90% of what I used to be. I just wish the doctors would get on board with this. Thanks for the work you do. I read everything you write.

  50. Johnny says

    I was completely dairy free for about 3 years straight. This did absolutely nothing for my eczema. Then added to this, I went gluten free, then completely grain free, then nightshade free, and so on…
    My skin never improved even slightly. Chronic inflammatory skin conditions are most often genetic in origin, which is why they never respond these types of interventions. Short of re-writing your genome, there is nothing that can be done in terms of reversing these conditions. Diet has absolutely no effect on a genetic condition. This is the equivalent of someone with dwarfism believing that a diet can make them grow to a normal height. It is absolute lunacy and I truly feel sorry for all of the credulous people that submit themselves to this nonsense. They are just inviting more frustration and dashed hope. People on this message board describing skin conditions disappearing after adopting a special diet or eliminating a particular food were clearly dealing with a type of allergy. I would call that psuedo-eczema, as it may present similarly but it is not the same disease process as an inherited case of eczema, psoriasis, xerosis, dermatitis, ichthyosis, etc.

    • penelope says

      Johnny, you experimented with diet and nothing appeared to affect your eczema, however this cannot be extrapolated to everyone else. No matter how much scientific language you use, it’s still not scientific. There are many many people who discover that dietary interventions make a difference to their medically diagnosed eczema and when they reintroduce a food, it flares up. Just as an example, my childhood eczema flared up terribly when i went to stay with my cousin’s who had just got a milkshake machine in the 70s and we were making lots of milkshakes. My skin settled down when I went back home to my usual diet with dairy products but much less milk (just 1/3 cup max on my cereal every day. Casein is a well known trigger for eczema as well as gluten and gliadin. That is not to say that all eczema is affected by dietary changes or any other single factor. But I feel sorry for anyone listening to you when their child has terrible eczema and they think that they can do nothing to help it. You may call something that doesn’t fit with your beliefs “pseudo eczema” but I am more likely to believe my dermatologist, who performed a biopsy before she confirmed my childhood diagnosis of “eczema” or “atopic dermatitis”.

      • johnny says

        “But I feel sorry for anyone listening to you when their child has terrible eczema and they think that they can do nothing to help it.”

        There is something they can do to help it- use steroids, both topically and systemically. Yes, it will only help it, if it is not an allergic reaction. Genetic skin conditions cannot be reversed. If you believe they can, you set yourself up for a lifetime of the misery of frustration. Go and get a workup with an allergist. See if your skin inflammation is the result of an allergy. If it is not, diet interventions will make absolutely no long term effect. This may sound unduly harsh, but such is the reality of genetic disease.

        • penelope says

          The problem is Johnny, you seem to be very blinkered in your view. I HAVE BEEN a child with eczema and I have used topical steroids. So has my sister. She used more, she got asthma BTW. I have been a young adult with exczema and resolved it without steroids for about 30 years. Then is returned at 48 and again I have resolved it without steroids. I have also been to an allergist and as I said in my post, he was disappointed I had no allergic reactions whatsoever (only to the control). Not dustmite, not cockroach feces which is very common in Sydney Australia. So get off your personal hypothesis that its genetic and the ONLY thing that helps is topical steroids. And stop defining anything that doesn’t fit your own hypothesis as “pseudo eczema”. Nothing is purely genetic. Have you heard of epigenetics? Get with the new century dude and stop spreading falsehoods in disguise as “the harsh truth”. PS in Germany they treat it with Vitamin B12 cream and stress management. Then there is Omega 3, many studies… probiotics… I could go on and on. By all means enjoy your hydrocortisone but leave the rest of us to explore the wide world of alternatives and complimentary medicine. Most people who use steroid creams (especially on children) find that its only palliative and isn’t enough. That’s why people try everything else that you disparage.

        • Deborah Chisholm says

          Steroid use actually CAUSES skin problems such as perioral dermatitis down the road by thinning out the skin and making it susceptible to irritants and chemicals. That is a scientifically researched FACT. Stop spreading bogus information! Many people, including myself, have found diet and skin to be DIRECTLY related. A gluten free/lactose free diet doesn’t amount to squat if you are still eating processed junk (which includes gluten free alternative foods) fast food and/or lots of sugars. I noticed you didn’t mention those…

    • Andrea Winchester says

      Johnny, I am sorry your dietary interventions did not work. I wonder if you have a reaction to chemicals or additives in products you are using such as laundry soaps, body soaps, lotions, maybe even the water supply to your home has been contaminated? Or the pipes that carry the water? What kind of fabrics are your clothes made of? Could their be some kind of industry near by (a factory) that leaks toxins into the environment? Many homes are built with toxic chemicals in furnishings such as the carpet, the furniture, etc. Maybe you suffer from chemical sensitivities.

  51. DANIKA says

    Hi Chris,
    I’ve been reading many of your posts regarding the gut skin connection. I’ve been dealing with a severe case of perioral dermatitis for almost two months now. I’m 100% committed to healing my gut, as I know it’s caused from leaky gut…I have lupus and have been on prednisone many years. I have completely eliminated sugar, dairy, wheat, all grains, fruit and am following a pretty strict GAPS diet. I’m basically eating vegetables, raw and cooked, meat, bone broths and eggs…lots of ghee and good fats as well. I’m taking probiotics and fermented cod liver oil faithfully. My question is why don’t I see any improvement with this radical adjustment to my diet and life style? I understand it will take time but I don’t understand why it’s not at least improving slowly? Is it just a matter of time or could there be something in the very limited foods I’m eating that is aggravating it? Any advice would be helpful. I don’t want to give up oh healing my gut but it’s very discouraging. On the flip side, my lupus is doing well, my hair and teeth and nails are beautiful, so why the continued terrible skin issues for 8 weeks…?

    • Johhny says

      Hi Danika. Your lack of improvement is not unique. In fact, it is the norm. You are not improving because chronic skin disorders, such as dermatitis, are rarely caused by gut conditions. Furthermore, they are rarely ameliorated with these fad diets. I bought into this gut-skin connection early on in my own personal battle with a chronic skin disorder and through my own experience and extensive research from a wide variety of sources, I can confidently say that it is largely a fallacy. To present this supposed connection as though it is universal, even is an implicit way, demonstrates a serious misunderstanding of this issue. I can only assume it is propagated by people that have little experiential knowledge and are riffing off misapplied theory. The bottom line, chronic skin disorders do not respond to gut therapies for the vast majority of people that use them. It would be great if these fad diets and regimens like gaps, primal, paleo actually worked to reverse chronic skin disorders but they do not.

    • finndian says

      I found that 24 hour cortisol tests showed what time of day I came into contact with something that caused a stress reaction and the resulting cortisol spike. With you I could be something you’re eating or exposed to… helpful to know what time of day it happens or which meal.

      Diagnos-tech expanded GI panel stool test checks for anti-bodies to a number of food proteins, bacteria levels and parasites. Its a very useful test if you think you have leaky gut. You should be taking 5000 mg of L-glutamine daily as well to help rebuild the stomachs mucosal layer.

      Both doctors that helped me reverse my leak gut recommended Mediclear plus by Thorne. I use it to this day for upset stomach. Its like a fire extinguisher. Good luck!

      Don’t listen to Johnny… he’s a downer.

    • penelope says

      Hi Danika,
      I only just saw your post and I want to encourage you to persevere. I have SLE and a few years ago my childhood eczema just flared up horribly. It was disturbing my sleep and I would get up and put ice on it for awhile and try to go back to sleep. I almost went nuts eliminating different things from my diet (I have been on a diet for lupus for 26 years but had slacked right off). I also started getting perioral dermatitis and eczema on my face. It looked so bad that some doctors thought it was allergy but I had no reactions to the allergy tests. Its a detective job living with autoimmune disease and I want to encourage you to completely ignore Johnny who is not really offering anything constructive to this forum. Take heart in the fact that your lupus is doing well and you feel better in yourself and your skin and nails etc. A healthy gut is paramount to someone who has AI and I’m sorry to say, my eczema took months to improve and was quite confusing. I started getting paranoid about food (and dust and other things) but I persevered and am now completely clear. Remember that eczema is also AI so it’s connected to lupus but we don’t know how. For me I think it was perimenopause hormones that triggered this but I really don’t know for sure. The Perfect Health Diet (Jaminet and Jaminet) seemed to confirm and extrapolate on my Dr’s original diet for SLE from the 80s. I currently eat no seeds grains legumes or nuts except for some white basmatic rice that I brought back in after 8 months. I recently brought (home made organic high quality) ghee in as well but that is my only dairy product. If you want to hear about my diet in more detail you could email me if you like. let me know on here if you are interested. I’m following this thread.

  52. Soni says

    I had severe acne as a teen and it lasted well into my thirties. I saw a skin specialist that put me onto roacutane but I still suffered from both rosacea and outbreaks. I’ve been experimenting with eating half a cup of raw sauerkraut and taking probiotics in the last month and have already noticed a huge improvement in my skin.

  53. neil says

    I developed seborrhoeic dermatitis at 19 years of age. It was very severe and I lost most of my hair as doctors would not refer me to a specialist for something as “simple” as hair loss. I have had a great deal of abdominal surgery and it is now clear I have suffered from SBIO most of my life. I have always noted a one-to-one relationship between the health of my scalp and the health of my gut. I try probiotics but with limited success. Happy to hear of any other treatments for SBIO that might be recommended. Could you send me a copy of the Chinese research article?

  54. Alister says

    The *only* truly noticeable side effect of a paleo-kefir (decently high fish) diet was improvement in skin condition. On a mostly vegetarian diet I was using hand lotion 15x a day, and less than a month after changing the diet “hey! I’m down to once a couple of days” and 5 years later, I use hand lotion maybe once every two or three months.

    As you can tell from the above comments that reflect the rest of the medical field, there are many diseases that share certain similar symptoms. The cause of your skin problem may not be diet. I had a rash that turned out to be laundry detergent sensitivity. My daughter had a rash that was strep. Other kids have a rashfrom poison ivy. My Dad got a rash from yellow food dye. I would be extremely surprised if acne or dry skin had only single causes. Best wishes, don’t give up.

  55. meg says

    I have for sure noticed this, and I have been diag’d with IBS, Systemic candida and PN from taking a too strong antibiotic with caused gene expression in mdna and the other matters. I started taking probiotics and monolaurin w olive leaf. They help. However, fermented food esp Sourdough Gluten free, causes tingling and stomach upset, foggy head etc. I think this is what they refer to as die off, and I then break out, goes away within 3 days. I eat NO processed foods, NO otc meds. Eat GF and organic very low carb starch sugar.

  56. Kurt Gray says

    GO GLUTEN-FREE! Before I started listening to Chris I read Wheat Belly by Dr. Davis. I went gluten-free and about 90% Primal at age 54. My face and skin looked better in about 6 weeks and I had acne at some level most of my life. I told my 23 year old daughter who had struggled with acne for years to try it…again, gluten-free has worked wonders for her. Her acne cleared within 2 weeks! She still eats a lot of carbs but the gluten-free approach has changed her whole attitude!

  57. Peter Bilton says

    Hi, I have a history of ulcerative colitis for the last 14 years at least. 6 years ago, I started to get eczema and initially it was all over my body, it then settled back to a mainly legs. In 2012, I ate a bowl of coconut cream yoghurt that I had cultured from water kefir. I made the mistake of eating the whole bowl, as did my partner. My partner had no issues, but I had severe vomiting for 6 hours the next morning, migraine for a week, and chronic fatigue and weight loss (13kgs). My eczema disappeared completely! I assume that the die off from the pathogenic bacteria in my gut produced a toxic substance that went through the lining of my intestine (leaky gut) and into the portal vein to the liver. My liver was overwhelmed. I had ascites and blown up ankles and feet. I have been gradually feeling better. A few months ago, the eczema returned. I would appreciate any information at all on this subject because the doctors and specialists I have seen know nothing of leaky gut and autoimmune issues. Thanks so much. Peter

  58. gia1 says

    Nobody can convince me there is no connection between gut & skin. I’ve seen it on myself. For years I suffered with acne – mostly in the chin area, no sooner would a zit go away that another would pop up. During the same time, a gastroenterologist ordered tests 7 ways from Sunday: endoscopy, colonoscopy, barium swallow, etc. Having ruled out stuff this way, dx’d me with IBS, and said diet would have ‘minimal impact in IBS’ – just avoid stress, eat more fiber – the usual. It wasn’t till months later that I ran across the FODMAP info for IBS… Months into it now, not only does my stomach feel largely better, but the acne has cleared. I’m sure some docs would say it’s simple coincidence- I don’t buy it. Kresser is a great source of info, and a refreshing, logical point of view.

  59. David says

    Hi Helen.. You problem may be not too much bacteria but the wrong sort of bacteria. There are now topical probiotics that can be used for direct application on the skin. They usually use a robust external species like Bacilus Subtilus (also used to promote plant growth and prevent fungal infections and no refridgeratio required).

    As with internal probiotics, the good bacteria stop the growth of pathogenic or problem causing bacteria. Used as a cleanser or cosmetic enhancement, the bacteria eat dead skin and sebum in a natural process that promotes cellular turnover. The lack of healthy bacteria on the skin is often a problem for people with skin issues these days as so many things are anti-bacterial. This creates a situation where any bad bacteria left or landing on the skin can, within hours, take over.

    As I understand it, bacteria are the first layer of protection on the skin, next is the dead skins cells and sebum. Reguarly swamp the skin with good bacteria and slowly they will restore a healthy balance.

    There are a number of products starting to appear. A quick web search popped this up..
    http://www.chrisal.net/pipskincleanser/

    These guys also have a spray for the bed that provides chemical free probiotic control of dustmites. The poop from those little buggers can also trigger all sorts of skin and allergy issues.

  60. Helen Milton says

    I was diagnosed with IBS in 1998, 2001 diary & wheat/gluten intolerance, as a celiac in 2010 and during that time I’ve always had bad skin, it’s always been very dry and flaky and very sensitive. I’ve been on herbs and high dose probiotics since 2011 and yes my skin is better in that it’s not so sensitive but it is still very dry but I still have gut problems. I believe it’s a bacterial over grow however early this year I had some test which came back with adrenal fatigue. I don’t know if the bacteria have drained the adrenals or if the adrenals were already poor functioning thus allow bacteria to over develop.

  61. Bern says

    Is their a significant connection between low stomach acid, roscea type facial rash, food allergies and cognitve problems (foggy thinking).

  62. Brian says

    Ever since i had a skin infection on my face since using a dirty razor, i get breakouts on the sides of my mouth only. I have tried to research this but i never got breakouts in this area before until i used antibiotics and i feel its more then my diet. its never more then 2 or 3 red ones and sometimes small skin colored pimples. only on the side of my mouth mostly on the ride side of my face. and im tired of this. was this because of the antibiotics?

  63. Shirley says

    Chris I recently was diagnosed with high cholesterol (which I refused the medication for as it is expected by eating with Gaps protocol). I did the GAPS intro diet for about 2 months to heal acid reflux. That worked fine and I also lost 15 lbs in the process! I started to incorporate regular food back into the diet while still continuing with raw milk cultured products like kefir, yogurt, sour cream, as well as coconut oil, ghee, and mostly organic fruits and veggies, quality beef, chicken and eggs. I developed a rash on my forehead which didn’t concern me too much as my bangs hid it. Then it started spreading down my nose onto my cheeks and I panicked. I used some antifungal cream without much success. I am still dealing with this rash. I am wondering if it’s the wheat causing my problems. A couple of days ago I decided to again eliminate the wheat from my diet. I read in earlier posts about fats not being absorbed by the body. Then this morning I had mucus in my stool. Do you think this is due to excessive fat in the diet, it not being properly digested, or the previously eaten wheat causing irritation?

  64. Charles says

    In my case I had what was diagnosed as a sub type of Rosacea which I considered to mild to moderate.I had this condition for number of years and was then treated for a stomach ulcer which had a benificial impact on my over all digestive system. It also had a huge influence on my Rosacea to the point where it was non exsistent. After about 6 months I have started to have stomach issues again, although not to the same degree, and I also have some minor issues, at this stage, with my Rosacea. I certainly feel that the two are interconnected.

  65. Brianna says

    Thanks, Chris, for all of the informative articles. I have been working with a nutritionalist and she pointed me to your podcasts and website. It has been a nearly overwhelmingly rich source of information.

    I have suffered from acne since puberty (I’m 28 now), and only birth control kept it at bay (but never completely eradicated it). I curse the modern medical world now, for I was on those poisonous pills for 8 years, doing god knows what to my gut. Not surprisingly, through my journey of health and getting back to natural basics, I abolished the pill and my acne flared up with a wicked vengeance.

    I have now been dealing with the physical and emotional fallout for two years with extremely limited improvement. I have been through paleo, gluten-free, autoimmune paleo, low carb, raw, and even juice and anti-candida cleanses. I’ve been tested for food allergies, hormone levels, etc, and I have Hashimoto’s (thanks to your podcast – I never would have suspected my Armour of containing fillers with cornstarch and GLUTEN!!!). My standard diet is nearly impeccable (organics, grass-fed, lots of veggies, etc), though I do stray from time to time, and I’ve found sugar and alcohol result in the most flare-ups. I’ve tested negative for SIBO, though I strongly believe I have issues with candida, and my gut transition time is far less than optimal, so I know this is my ultimate issue. Taking apple cider vinegar/betaine before every meal has helped with digesting food, and my skin is REALLY soft and smooth.. but my acne stubbornly remains! I even do the castor/olive oil wash at night with the occasional honey/cinnamon mask.

    I’ll keep experimenting, and I’ll try focusing on some of these recommended minerals and vitamins, but I must say, I’m close to giving it all up for hopeless. I’m sick of all the eliminations from my diet, and I feel simply miserable whenever I’m actually doing something that shows some minimal improvement for my skin (which is why I never stick with it for long…). So far, I’ve had no luck with two naturopaths (one specializing in gut health), three acupuncturists, a nutritionalist, and drowning in self-driven internet research :'( I’m new to your site, though, so perhaps there’s something here I have yet to try….

      • Brianna says

        The inactive ingredients of Armour:
        calcium stearate – “carboxylate of calcium that is found in some lubricants and surfactants; also the main component of soap scum” (Wikipedia)
        dextrose – “Referred to as high fructose corn syrup, invert sugar and corn syrup” (Livestrong)
        microcrystalline cellulose – “a term for refined wood pulp and is used as a texturizer, an anti-caking agent, a fat substitute, an emulsifier, an extender, and a bulking agent” (Wikipedia)
        sodium starch glycolate – “the sodium salt of carboxymethyl ether, of rice, potato, WHEAT, or corn origin” (Drugs.com)
        opadry white (titanium dioxide) – food coloring (Wikipedia)

        Lots of scary stuff.. which is why I’m working to get off it :)

        • Finndian says

          Almost all sources referring to the Armour formulation say no gluten. I take the Canadian version of Armour called ERFA thyroid with far less ingredients anyway.

          Based on my experience you are trying to get off the one thing that can reverse a lot of your problems once you reach the right dosage. Gut transit time, low stomach enzymes, candida and acne… classic under-treated hypothyroidism.

          If your body temperature is chronically low then chances are you are still suffering hypo symptoms. Good luck!

          By the way… I’m not seeing where Chris says that Armour has gluten in it.

          http://chriskresser.com/3-steps-to-choosing-the-right-thyroid-hormone

          • Brianna says

            He mentions it briefly during this podcast:
            http://www.askthelowcarbexperts.com/2012/03/10-all-things-thyroid-thyroid-101-chris-kresser/
            While talking about Armour changing their formula, about 55 minutes in.

            I appreciate your feedback. I’ve been on Armour for years, and I’m convinced most of my symptoms are more derived from candida and poor gut health than thyroid, though I know they’re both extremely similar and very interwoven (chicken or egg?? :)). (I have always had low body temperature, too…) Other techniques haven’t worked well for me, so I’m trying to get my body back to absolute bare basics and work up from there. I was on a high dose (3 grains daily), and I have brought it down to half that (over the course of several months), without noticeable adverse effects (the acne has remained unchanged). This lends credence to my experiment, so I’ll keep going and hope for the best.

            Also, per the aforementioned podcast, I am also working back in some moderate level of carbs. I feel better when I have some (versus none), so it’s a matter of eating the right ones and all in moderation. It’s a constant journey.

            At least I’m oddly motivated by previous above posts by “Johnny” – hearing him so despondent only makes me more determined to actually beat this thing :)

            • finndian says

              My thyroid problems started about 12 years ago. After a year or more trying to reverse the Hashimoto’s with various doctors and various protocols…my food allergies that had arisen during all this body stress gave me full blown leak gut syndrome. I looked like I had cancer… dark rings, dehydration, incredible fatigue.

              After frustrating and expensive fruitless visits to some of the best doctors around the country I had the same thought as you do; get back to basics. Quit listening to the alternative doctors that wanted only to aggressively treat the ‘symptoms’ of a body in distress (like candida) instead of focusing on finding the root of the problem.

              To me Candida is a downstream problem. Candida for instance can be cleared up with an antibiotic in about 48 hours, but of course will come back if your immune system is impacted by under-functioning thyroid, vitamin/mineral imbalances it causes not to mention the gut bacteria disruption that comes with it.

              Back to basics to me is to clear up nutritional deficiencies with organic food, supplements and IV’s, avoid foods you’re allergic too and balance your thyroid hormone until at least the most notorious of hypo symptom disappear… constipation, dry hair, low body temperature. When I did that the clouds parted after a decade of jumping from one thing to the next to ‘cure’ my ‘mysterious’ health issues. Everyone made their money off of me along the way.

              If one more doctor with dollar signs in his eyes presented another mercury detox to me I was going to choke someone. With my body temperature being chronically low despite 3 grains of Armour it was obvious that I was still hypo… there is just no other explanation. The thyroid is controlling the body thermostat. If the furnace is out you suspect the thermostat first if you’re truly wanting to get down to basics.

              I had a host of other hypo symptoms like you do. With doctor supervision I finally reached the dosage where my body found balance. The color came back to my face… I no longer had a yellow cast to my skin because the beta carotine was now converting to vit-A. My gut transit time corrected itself. I feel better now than I have in ten years. I no longer have adult acne or the sensitive skin that wouldn’t even let me use chapstick or hair products without breaking out.

              The Gluten problem looks like its here to stay according to regular anti-body tests. Avoiding gluten had no impact on my thyroid and certainly hasn’t allowed me to lower hormone dosage. My TPO antibodies show my thyroid is no longer under the intense attack it once was… maybe due to gluten avoidance?? Could just as easily be the correcting of my B12/folate deficiency that I keep on top of that has quieted the gene that causes hashi’s in the first place. Thats a whole different discussion.

              • Brianna says

                I agree candida is a downstream issue. However, I also believe hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s to also be downstream issues, which is why I’m trying to correct the underlying problem. All of my research and years of jumping from one ailment to the next has led me to overall gut health. However, as a disclaimer to any reading this, i certainly do not represent the entire populous, and the “root cause” will undoubtably be completely different for others. For me, I believe I am not absorbing the nutrients I need, leading to a whole host of other issues. I certainly know my diet is near-impeccable, and I should otherwise be the poster child of health.

                Through years of antibiotics and the standard American diet, I have all but destroyed my gut to where it no longer serves me. I have made some progress starting at the beginning of the process, mentally preparing myself to rest and focus on my food, then by increasing my stomach acid with betaine and apple cider vinegar. I have seen slight improvements in my overall health through these measures. Now I’m down to the intestines, and that’s my next area of focus.

                As others have mentioned, I’ve seen many doctors, both western and alternative, and like others, I generally take bits from each that speak to me and have worked for me. No one is like anyone else, and no doctor – no matter the experience – will EVER know your body better than YOU. Part of my process has been to really become in tune with what my body needs, and go from there.

                I do think it’s also worth mentioning that right from the start, I have always tested within the “normal” range for TSH, T3, and T4. However, my first lab results showed off-the-charts antibodies (with a normal range being 20-40ish, I was in the 400s) – hello, Hashimoto’s! My most recent tests, after drastically changing my lifestyle and regular eating habits, are now down to about 62. I’ll be curious to test again now that I’ve decreased my dose of Armour.

                • Finndian says

                  I hear that quite often that people are going to change their thyroid hormone so drastically like they’re talking about cutting butter from their diets. If I cut a quarter to half a grain I would be laid up in a week.

                  My TSH has never been over six and most of the time during the worst of it was in the three range. I don’t look at TSH anymore I only watch free T3 and free T4. Both need to be in the high range of normal for me to function normally.

                  Hashimoto’s maybe downstream but if you have the gene variation that can cause it then you could question what caused the gene to express itself. With the faulty gene you were given a vase with a flaw in it and a stress has caused a crack in the vase and the water is flowing out. This is a different type of fix that’s needed. Research methylation of DNA to try to reverse this event. It’s already a herculean effort to try to accomplish this let alone making yourself even more hypo and then attempting it.

                  If you are really focused on Armour being a gluten source because an acupuncturist may have mentioned it online perhaps you need to switch to ERFA brand from Canada with far less ingredients.. I see no basis for the gluten claim.

  66. David Boon says

    When you say in your article, that the role of the skin is to act as an “antimicrobial defense system”, you give the impression that the skin is antimicrobial rather than it requiring it’s own natural mico-biome to protect you.. I agree that research supports internal probiotics being effective for certain skin issues and overall skin health. But my understanding is that many problem skin conditions are caused by regular assaults on the skin using agents that are truly antimcirobial. Astringents, harsh cleansers, disinfectant wipes/sprays, UV rays, etc, are stripping off the essential layer of good bacteria that is part of our skin’s natural protective mechanism. These topical probiotic bacteria prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria while consuming dead skin and sebum . AND they do all of this without stimulating the over-production of sebum typical of astrigents, etc which must also play some role in the occurance of acne for example. I think there has to be a balance in this where we mjst be more gentle on our skin and supportive of it’s needs.

  67. Kate.fk says

    Dear Natalie,

    Here is Forever’s Canada site for Aloe Vera Gel (not juice which is what I mistakenly wrote above- this may explain why you couldn’t find it) and a local depot will post to you so postage costs will be minimal!
    https://www.foreverliving.com/marketing/Product.do?code=015C

    Here is Bio Kult on Amazon Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/F7054-B-Bio-Kult-Probiotic/dp/B004SH1PAU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373490010&sr=8-1&keywords=bio+kult

    Interested to see how you get on.

  68. Natalie says

    Thank you for this very interesting article. Do you have any recommendations of what brands of probiotics are better?
    I have heard the suggestions of probiotis helping with acne before but when I went to buy some, I was overwhelmed by the varieties and brands (and the cost). I bought the one that was from a brand I knew and was reasonably priced, the Advanced 4-Strain Probiotic by Jamieson Vitamins (http://jamiesonvitamins.com/2699). Unfortunately, it made no difference.
    I feel like there is no hope for my acne… I have had it my entire life; I am 26 now. About 6 months ago, it was suggested to me to try a gluten-free diet to help alleviate stomach issues and low and behold, it worked for my stomach issues. I was hoping it would help with my acne as well, as it did help improve my excema on my hands, but my acne has persisted. I have tried everything available by prescription and was told by the dermatologist that my only option is Accutane. Because of other medications that I am on and various conditions that run in my family, I am not a good candidate for Accutane.
    I often have random people stop me in public to try to give me their tips because my acne looks so bad… and I have gotten to the point of desparation where I will try just about anything.
    I would like to give probiotics another try and would really appreciate some suggestions of what kinds are the best to get. I am from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada so if it can be something available in Canada, that would be ideal. Thank you in advance.

    • Kate.fk says

      I have found that BIOCULT is the best. I have tried several and this is the one that gave me the strongest ‘die off’ symptoms to tell me that the toxic bad-bacteria were being killed and replaced by the good stuff. I also like the Forever Aloe Vera plain juice (cold-pressed), which works as a pre-biotic. It has been the best thing for my acne rosacea and I have heard good things for those using it for regular acne outbreaks.

      • Dee says

        Is the BIOCULT a liquid drink or in a pill form? also do you drink the aloe vera juice or apply to your skin?

        • Kate.fk says

          Dear Dee.

          The Biocult I use is in capsule powder form. If you want a liquid order some kefir grains online and add them to milk (look at youtube for a video)- use liquid the kefir produces as pro-biotic home made drink or smoothie (great with seasonal berries and ripe banana).

          The aloe is best when you drink it. This morning I drank a lot and it also gave me a ‘die-off’ effect, since I had not taken it for 2 weeks! Forever also does great aloe gelly and aloe propolis (propolis is nature’s antiseptic, which bees line their hives with), and these are great to apply topically.

          Let me know how you get on with any or all of these suggestions.

          Kate

            • Kate.fk says

              Cheers Finndian. You are absolutely correct. I have actually followed up several of your tips, including getting scales that measure my water levels. I have very low blood pressure and water levels as low as 40%. The booklet that came with the scales says this is still healthy, but I have been taking potassium and magnesium as you advised, and I have noted a 5% increase. Will keep you posted on further progress :)

              • Dee says

                how much potassium and magnesium are you taking? also does that come as one supplement or are you taking them separetely?

              • Finndian says

                Kate, I love my body water scale; I’m glad its working for you too. Its just a really good way to monitor your body’s balance and to spot disruptions in minerals and electrolyte levels. 45% is still really low… stick with it!

                My water levels stayed low until I dealt with my food allergies… the stomach inflammation is probably what caused the electrolyte and mineral deficiency that in turn brought on the dehydration.

      • Natalie says

        Thank you very much for your suggestions. After a quick online search, I cannot find Canadian distributors for either product :-(

        Do you think another brand of aloe vera juice would work similarly?

        Could you explain what you mean by “die off” symptoms? How long until you experienced them using either product?

  69. Nnenne says

    I noticed my skin started degeneration when I started having tummy upsets, I have a lot of gas in my tummy, I’m always belching, its like my tummy is always churning, never settled and i think there’s a link between this and the open pores on my face. Is there anything I can do to allevaite this?

    • Finndian says

      My open pores closed after I cleared my stomach issues. What was happening is the undiagnosed food allergies were causing B12, potassium and magnesium deficiency. You cannot keep your body water in and the cells hydrated without these electrolytes. I wondered why I craved salt all the time.

      Salt causes the water to stay in the body around the cells to help with the dehydration. with the proper electrolytes all the water is allowed into the cells and that causes the cells to plump themselves. When the cells in the facial skin expand themselves with water the pores close.

      There’s an easy way to check this theory. Buy yourself a body water sensing scale. You can get a good one from Costco. Anything below about 58% body water and you have a problem. Playing with magnesium and potassium and proper hydration will bring that up to a more normal 60%. I was 49% when I was at my worst! Treat the food allergies then hydrate yourself and the pores will close.

  70. Jen says

    Hi Chris, paleo seems to be the only way to completely eliminate all inflamatory symptoms for me. Just eliminating gluten isn’t enough (I’m celiacs), I still get bad inflammatory symptoms from gluten free grains and cereals, dairy etc, despite not being diagnosed lactose intolerant or anything else. Probiotics seems to help sometimes, but not others. The one thing that keeps my skin free from bad acne (even when I do happen to eat dairy and gluten free cereals/grains) is one tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water every day. It also seems to have stopped acid reflux as well. Still a learning process, but paleo has helped enormously.

    • Bryan Mayo says

      Jen,

      Have you looked into testing yourself for food allergies? I found an interesting technique from the 1950s that uses nothing more than your heart rate to detect a sensitivity. From what I understand, this technique is more sensitive than the standard allergy skin test.

      Here’s how the technique works:
      1) Over the course of a week, establish your minimum heart rate.
      2) Then, 30 minutes before you eat a meal, you take your heart rate.
      2) Five to ten minutes after you finish your meal, take your heart rate again.
      3) If your heart rate goes up more than 12 beats per minute, then you may be sensitive to something in that meal (if not, then you aren’t likely sensitive).
      4) You can then break out all the individual ingredients in that meal, eating them one by one every hour, re-checking your heart rate each time to see exactly what you are reacting to.

      I did this with my wife and we found that she was sensitive to store-bought pasteurized milk (a.k.a., containment dairy), but not raw milk. Hope this helps!

      Bryan

      • Jen says

        Thanks Bryan! Sounds interesting indeed. I don’t have a problem with Raw dairy at all, but it’s hard to source in New Zealand! I grew up on a farm so we had raw dairy growing up (and grass raised meat, plus veges and fruit from the garden), but ran into massive issues my first year away from home on hostel food. Thanks heaps for the tip – will give it a go!

  71. Rishi says

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Hi Chris, really interesting paper you have done. I was diagnosed with crohn’s disease and underlying IBS about three years ago and I have had acne for 14 years. Could this be the link as I don’t think as a teenager I had any symptoms of chrohn’s. The acne is predominantly on my nose and I have found an improvement after having to avoid dairy and gluten due to the chrohn’s. Is there a particular reason it is on my nose? Also, I had hoped it would fully go after changing my diet but I still get breakouts even though I am on tetracycline.

  72. Kevin says

    Any information or insight into how an unnecessary overdosing of strong antibiotics, which destroyed my gut flora, can also cause my severe dry throat/throat irritation, even 6 months later?

  73. Greg says

    The other interesting thing I read was when you wash yourself, you wash the Vit D off your skin, as its secreted on your skin surface, then reabsorbed, so if your washing yourself all the time, your losing the Vit D. Maybe that’s why the French are healthier, as they don’t wash as much :P

  74. Amy says

    I have rosacea “acne” (breakouts) as well “unspecified” autoimmune issues, so I do my best to keep inflammation down. One thing I do is take probiotics and drink water kefir, but they seem to have both good and bad results for me. I used to suffer from chronic sinus issues, and the probiotics seem to be very beneficial in this respect. However they do not help my skin issues at all– In fact I have to be careful to limit my probiotic intake, because any time I increase my skin breaks out terribly. Doctors don’t seem to believe this is possible, but I’ve repeated it multiple times, always with the same result. I have to wonder if the probiotics are increasing my body’s inflammation in general. I wish I had a doctor who could help me figure these things out, but noone seems to know.

    • Kate.fk says

      It could be that the probiotics are detoxifying your body and that it gets worse before it gets better. Online I have read that the die off’ effect of probiotics includes fever, breakout of pimples, nausea etc… I get nausea when I increase dose and I have to sleep it off. I have acne rosacea and it gets really bad at times. It first appeared when I went on high probiotic and paleo style diet. However, I am still fans of both these things because they helped my body begin to detoxify. Now I am doing more sport, trying to de-stress (major cause of my health problems) and I still eat very low carb diet with kefir milk and Biocult probiotics. However, the one thing that works 100% to keep red flare-ups away from my cheeks (rosie is good but rosacea feels like cheese grater fought with cheeks) is drinking glass of cold-pressed aloe vera juice and the best one I have found is FOREVER aloe sold online or by independent retailers. It is really pure and they don’t destroy its goodness by heating it. It tasted a bit bitter at first, but my body has learnt to ask for it. When I am hard-up at the end of the month, I sometime don’t re-order my aloe juice and within 2 weeks I have dry cheeks that are getting itchy and I feel the rosacea coming back.

  75. Desi says

    I have struggled with acne since my teen years…about 20 years now. For the past 12 years it’s been pretty manageable. In November I decided to see what treatments were available…thinking there had to be something new. I was given minocycline – same medication I took 20 years ago. It helped a bit but not much, I was very hesitant. I am NOT a fan of antibiotic treatments for any condition unless absolutely necessary. And, I was desperate. After that round, my mother unexpectedly died. I have been stressed and my skin has fallen apart. It has gotten as bad as it was in my teens. Extreme inflammation, large inflamed pustules, and hundreds of comeodones. I am now waiting to take accutane. I feel like this is a gut issue or liver issue. However, I cannot find anyone in my area that treats from that perspective. I am also in an extreme amount of discomfort and embarrassment. I really don’t want to take accutane but I don’t feel like I have a choice. I am feeling so powerless…any suggestions would be great.

    • Lisa says

      Desi,
      There is hope!

      I was in the same boat as you about 7 years ago, and in desperation, almost started Accutane. I am so grateful that I didn’t and that now I can manage my skin naturally. Not only is my skin clear, but my whole body is healthy and I have gained so much from my experience in terms of personal growth.

      Acne is a symptom of an underlying condition, and it has to be treated that way. Removing the acne with drugs will not heal your underlying imbalance, and this imbalance will cause other disease in your body. Autoimmune disease, cancer, arthritis, etc, whatever you are genetically predisposed to, will prevail if the inflammation is not treated from the root.

      You can do a lot of this on your own, even if you do not have access to natural physicians. Read this website and websites like Mercola.com and follow their advice. The grain-free/Paleo diet is an amazingly healing diet, especially for people with acne. It is what keeps my skin clear, as well as enzyme supplements and probiotics. Eliminating gluten and sugar is absolutely essential to healing acne, and it is a good first step.

      If you would like to email me, I can give you more specific details about how I healed my acne with almost no help from any physicians. lisa_landen_thompson at yahoo dot com.

      Best, Lisa

  76. says

    Definitely! I had a terrible time with acne after stopping birth control after 10 years. I used to have flawless skin and then everything that was covered up came out in full force. I am working to reduce chronic inflammation from chronic stress/adrenal fatigue and have been including lots of fermented foods/drinks, clean eating, no-gluten, minimal grains, etc and still have acne for about 1.5 years now. My digestion still isn’t quite there yet and am working with an holistic practitioner for hormone balance/detoxification…The clearest my skin has been is when I’m not having to digest and cleansing with the Master Cleanse.

    I wasn’t able to read all the comments, but is there any research out there relating acne to compromised liver function/hormone balance? Thanks.

  77. Andrea says

    Does meat play a role in Psorasis? I was told that part of the problem is a poor digestion of animal proteins, and to lower my intake by my natural doctor. I don’t believe this, but I’d like to understand it better. Would it hurt to take out meat for a while?

    • Finndian says

      I stopped eating red meat and eventually ended up with a profound B12 deficiency AND exercise fatigue that is only cured with high dose Branch Chain Amino Acid dosing.

      A huge change in diet and expecting only good things was my downfall.

    • Lisa says

      Andrea,
      Taking a break from eating complex proteins like meat does give the liver a chance to “clean house” and will help with acute illness and inflammation. Skin conditions like psoriasis are often linked to a toxic liver/colon, and giving the liver a break can help. Eating this way in the long-term, however, is probably a bad idea. The Gersen Diet is a good example of the healing that is possible when abstaining from proteins. You may want to adapt to a diet specially designed to treat autoimmune disorders for long-term relief. Figure out what your food allergies/sensitivities are, and eat as clean as you can–no gluten, no sugar, low glycemic if you can.
      Best wishes, Lisa

    • Gail says

      Andrea,
      A few years ago I suddenly developed hives, psoriasis and eczema all within a 3 month period. At 55 I had never had a skin issue except for the occasional acne flare up, but suddenly found myself overwhelmed with so many at once. Of course I was given a different cream for each issue, none of which worked. I did some research and decided to try Hulda Clark’s liver cleanse. I must say that my skin cleared up and only after eating large amounts of almonds and cashews did the skin problems return. So, I did another liver cleanse, quit the nuts and I have not been bothered since. I do not advocate doing liver cleanses every two weeks like some do, because they are quite harsh in my opinion. But I do think they can be a tool in regard to keeping skin issues in check. I tried eating clean (and still do) but found that I needed a kick start that the liver cleanse provided.

  78. Lisa says

    Absolutely! I suffered with severe cystic acne for many years, searching high and low for an answer. Antibiotics worked while I was on them, but the acne returned with a vengeance (and damaged my gut even further) when I stopped taking them. When I discovered holistic medicine, I began trying different things and was able to heal my gut. For me, however, diet was just one part of it. I was almost unable to digest any food at all, and had to eliminate most of it for some time, while taking probiotics, proteolytic enzymes in large amounts, and a potent digestive enzyme with my meals containing ox bile and stomach acid. Eating a very low-glycemic diet is very important for my skin health. I drink raw milk and never pasteurized/homogenized milk (although I do tolerate pasteurized yogurt). I avoid gluten completely and limit grains, even in their whole form/gluten free because of how they affect my blood sugar. This regimen began 8 years ago, and while my gut is still not 100% and maybe never will be, I am pleased that I know how to manage my acne and heal myself through diet and ancient wisdom. Thank you for promoting this important information. Someday I hope all dermatologists get on board with this, too :)

  79. Nina says

    I’d love some advice and or insight on my situation. I am 27 years old and have been dealing with perioral dermatitis for the past 7 years on and off. Just this past year, my stomach has been hurting when I eat almost anything but now I believe I’ve narrowed it down to dairy (major gas and rumbling) and fiber. I am curious if they are connected and if I should go see my doctor. I’ve seen a dermatologist about my skin and tried a few things that have worked then quit working. First oral antibiotics then steroid creams. I’m willing to adjust to any diet necessary to fix my skin!! I’m a young, professional in sales and need good skin! Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

    • Lisa says

      Nina,
      Try an elimination diet or have yourself tested for food intolerances. Dairy, grains, sugar, corn, soy and egg whites are good foods to eliminate and add back one by one to see if your symptoms improve. Eating a whole-food, low glycemic, grain-free diet such as the diet this website recommends may be just what you need. You could try and see what happens.
      Best wishes,
      Lisa

  80. Kate says

    Dear Chris,

    I started the GAPS diet two years ago to get rid of chronic recurring cystitis. I had low grain, high fermented foods, and high meet broths etc… I also took a probiotic and fermented kaffir milk. However, I started to get dry itchy patches on my cheeks. I thought it was eczema developing. I have since left the GAPS diet after 8 months on it. That was over a year ago. I still eat fermented foods and only fermented dairy.

    However, I still have the dry cheeks and recently they have become red and itchy and I think it is acne rosacea. Is it possible that I have aggravated my gut flora with the changes? How can I settle things down?

    • Lisa says

      Kate,
      It’s also possible you are having a reaction to the detoxification your body is going through. Sometimes when we are healing, symptoms get worse for a while or new symptoms appear. Yeast and candida emit toxins when they die off in our bodies, which can make a person feel sick or have other unpleasant symptoms. Make sure you drink lots of clean water to help with the detox. You could also be needing more of certain nutrients, such as fats (coconut oil is great for skin conditions), or more digestive enzymes to help digest your food. Another suggestion is to get yourself tested for food allergies and intolerances and avoid the troublesome foods. You mentioned you eat low-grain; I suggest cutting out grain completely, as this is greatly helpful in skin conditions. Grains that contain gluten should be completely eliminated, whether fermented or not. Dairy could very well be a problem for you, too, whether fermented or not. Try cutting it out, along with grain, and see what happens. Make sure you have your thyroid checked, too, to make sure that’s not an underlying problem.
      All the best, Lisa

  81. megan says

    Hi Chris,

    I just discovered your writings and your podcast and am really interested in the conversation about the gut-skin connection. In one of your recent podcasts you mention that phytosphingosenes can be helpful in treating acne/acne scarring as well. I’m wondering if there are any products with phytosphingos out there that you would recommend? My initial searches on the internet haven’t turned up anything available in the US.

    Thanks so much!
    Megan

  82. Linda says

    After seeing a Nautropath about my vitiligo (I’m 55 years old) I found out I have Leaky Gut. My vitiilgo started out in my early 20’s as a little 2 x 2″ patch on my back to spreading all over my body. I am more than 50% vitiligo. I’ve asked Doctors and Dermatologists about it and they’ve given me cream prescriptions and suggested going under lights everyday. I refused those treatments and opted for the Nautropath. I’ve been doing various cleanses and restricting my diet. Gluten free, wheat free, egg white are only a few of many food sensitivities I have. I would like to know if after curing my Leaky Gut will my Vitiligo go away and hopefully my pigment returns. Has anyone else experienced this?

  83. Danielle says

    I have been diagnosed with chronic Gastritis since I was 19. I’m now 29 with terrible cystic Acne flare ups, as well as hairloss. Usually, it all comes on with my Gastritis flare ups. No doctors have ever helped me. I was wondering what type of “diet” I can try to help heal my gut? I don’t drink any soda or eat a lot of processed/fast food. I do eat a lot of dairy though. Any thoughts?

    • Lisa says

      Danielle,
      Have you heard of the GAPS diet? That may help your gut heal. In the meantime, you could avoid dairy and grains completely, as these are difficult for the gut to deal with. Also take probiotics and digestive enzymes, and eat whole, organic foods that are gently cooked and not from a box.
      Lisa

  84. Daniel says

    Hi Chris

    Just curious, do you buy into the “face mapping” concept i.e. the location of the breakout predicts the particular area organ/function that may be lagging within your body?

    I’d like to put some faith in this, but it seems that there are various “maps” out there that often disagree with one another. This must somehow be related to acupuncture?

    Thanks.

  85. Adrien says

    Hi Matt and Finndian,

    Thanks for your replies.

    Matt :

    I’m taking one tablespoon of organic nori seaweed everyday since a month to get enough iodine, the Vit A I’m using is Country Life, Gluten Free, Vitamin A, 10,000 IU.

    Finndian :

    Thank you so much for your exhaustive reply and for your words of encouragements.

    I’m drinking enough water but I might be potassium deficient so I will look into that.

    I’m a little reluctant to take that much Vit A for a few weeks, maybe I will try it for a few days, I will add liver to my diet too.

    I checked Mediclear Plus and there’s a lot of ingredients in it, it’s hard to tell which one helped the most, the amount of L-glutamine is quite low so I’m not sure it’s that one.

    Don’t worry if I ever cure myself I will do my utmost best to help other people to cure themselves too.

    Thanks again and good luck to you too!

    • Johnny says

      Though it is not spoken of often, chronic skin conditions are among the most difficult medical conditions to treat and nearly impossible to reverse. Long standing inflammatory skin conditions are some of the most recalcitrant, i.e. treatment-resistant, conditions one can possibly confront, from a medical perspective. Nutritional interventions, diet, and supplementation routinely fail. Statistically, one has a better chance of beating an aggressive cancer or reversing late stage cardiovascular disease than eliminating a chronic skin condition. The paleo diet has become quite the latest fad diet for addressing various skin conditions. From my research I have gleaned that some people are helped but most are not. For those that are helped, the improvements usually wane with time and the skin condition eventually returns. Various other diets have produced almost identical effects in people- an initial improvement (sometimes to near complete clearance) followed by a slow and gradual return of the skin condition. Why therse skin conditions follow this particular trend is unresolved and obviously problematic. Skin conditions are well known to respond in this manner with topical interventions as well. Speak to someone with a severe chronic skin condition and ask them how many times a topical compound produced great results initially, only to become completely ineffective with time. Skin conditions seem to have an incredible way of “adapting” to various treatments. Thus, chronic skin conditions remain one of the most resistant diseases to treat, much less reverse. From my personal experience of over 15 years of battling numerous inflammatory skin conditions- I have come to the conclusion that they are indeed wholly incurable and, in my case, wholly untreatable. This includes my psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and acne. Almost all of my integrative doctors eventually told me to just seek counseling to learn coping strategies for learning to live with it. I have followed the advice to the best of my ability and have utterly abandoned hope of ever reversing my skin conditions. Diets, supplementation, cleansing/fasting, topicals, meditation/stress reduction, hypnosis/NLP, light/laser therapy, etc have been 100% completely and totally ineffective at even slightly improving any of my skin problems. Accepting the inevitability of my skin condition is only thing to do.

      • Zorica Vuletic says

        That is very interesting thing you say. I am starting to learn a little bit about immune deficiencies (whether that incorporates auto-immune or not).

        I would no doubt believe that diet alone or even w/ supplementation can cure some things since as you say it some how ‘adapts’. I would of course advocate for next best thing: that which might minimize the hazards. For example you would probably find some foods or allergens to worsen your condition versus others.

        When you say supplementation, does that include those of the hormone variety, BHRT? I don’t want to insult you by suggesting this, but it is a possibility which might not have been explored yet.

        But if it’s an immune deficiency then you can’t replace the missing antibody …so what do you do? I guess try to build up all the other immune anitbodies in the body to help offset the deficit, unless if you have more than just one immune antibody deficiency.

        My heart goes out to you. I would not wish to have any skin conditions. I think skin is the worst to have and not even GI and joint pains can come close. (Although obviously they cause pain, duh).

        Good luck!

        Also, do you do rotating therapies then to try to keep one step ahead of immune problem from adapting?

        • Johnny says

          Hi Zorica, I spent months with numerous allergists and had all manner of allergy/ food sensitivity tests done. I also underwent elimination diets as well to try and identify any hidden food intolerances. As far as hormone therapy, I spent time with an endocrinologist and had a complete hormonal panel completed, and they checked out as normal. Anyways, I’m a 32 year old man,mso not exactly a candidate for hormonal replacement therapy and I have never read anything about that in terms of inflammatory skin conditions. I spent years trying to correct suspected immune imbalances and/or autoimmunity. This was addressed through an auto immune diet along with supplementation such as sterol/sterolin, arabinogalactan, etc.

          Yes, a chronic severe disfiguring skin disease is among the worst diseases a person could possibly endure. And yes, I do have physical pain with this skin condition as well- perpetual burning, chapped skin, painful pustular sores, etc. Yes, you are right, there is no condition that even comes close to the level of suffering you will endure with a condition like I have. I would be overjoyed to switch places with a person that has digestive or joint pain rather than skin that is hideously infected all the time.

          Add to this the fact that I also have severe sunken scarring from years of this untreatable skin infection. This has only compounded the degree of suffering.

          I don’t engage in any treatments for my skin any more. I have entirely given up on healing my skin. I know that my skin condition is entirely untreatable and no longer waste any time or effort engaging in a losing battle trying to heal my skin. It is an absolute exercise in futility. Like I said, I am taking what ended up being the advice from most of the practitioners that I sought help with- learning to live with it. The vast majority of the 20+ practitioners that I visited all ended up being thoroughly convicted that my skin condition is wholly untreatable seeing as it never even slightly responded to any treatment in over 15 years. So no, I do not rotate therapies. I have given up trying to heal my skin. Now I focus on learning to live my life with a debilitating and disfiguring condition.

          • Zorica Vuletic says

            Johnny I would be hard pressed to see if they even checked a full range for hormones. I am under the impression that sometimes proper hormone functioning can affect immune system too. I do not gaurentee this is ‘the answer’ or anything like that, but I think it would be a possible avenue to explore. Although as you already mentioned it would be tough to get ‘medical help’ with this since they would likely dismiss you as ‘young male wtf do you need about hormone replacement’. This is where turning to online sources might help. If it’s possible to get tests whether through normal dr or pay out of pocket (if you have financial resources) and knowing your lab values then you can try to source from online.

            Also another thing to look at is cortisol patterns. The 24 hr cortisol saliva test. I would imagine with your condition that your cortisol is tanked. Stuff like that. So it seems ‘unrelated’ but when the skin stone is turned over with no result (and that includes the allergists and diets etc.) then it’s time to look at the next stone. So yes, give up on the skin condition. Don’t look at that anymore. Try to look at the hormones and cortisol instaed. Pretend you’re looking at those independent of your skin condition (if that makes sense).

            I don’t know what Kresser says about this….and if you can get a consult with him? But tell him you’re not interested in the ‘allergy’ aspect of it since you already did that strategy. If he doesn’t do that, then look for dr. or ND or etc. for someone with experience on hormones and adrenal health etc.

            p.s. I am sorry if it seems in any way that I am minimizing your suffering. I do not wish to come across as a know it all. I only have the desire that out of anything that I say can be useful some how some way. As I said I could never even imagine a skin condition, ever.

            So please I hope my message is understood as compassion and somehow useful.

          • finndian says

            I’ve read your posts where you reject the thought of infecting yourself with a parasite to reverse your skin condition despite numerous studies showing that it can be very successful. If it doesn’t work, you take a drug to kill the parasite. So, you haven’t tried everything. You also keep mentioning how many doctors you’ve been to. I’ve been to as many doctors for my gut problems that brought on a slew of food allergies and caused the gene for Hashimoto’s syndrome to express itself. I was a mess and looked like death warmed over.

            There is not one particular doctor that ‘cured’ me. I cured myself… I took a bit away from each doctor and pieced the puzzle together and treated myself. I’ve prescribed and gotten injectible B-12 despite doctors trying to stop me and mega dosed nutrients that I was deficient in and slowly rebuilt my health. Doctors are not trained in nutrition… if they have any knowledge at all they learned it after medical school and I’m finding its a rare trait. They prefer to call a ‘mysterious’ condition untreatable or ‘idiopathic’. Love that word, idiopathic…. in other words… the idiot couldn’t figure it out.

            We are living in time of great innovation just at the time you have given up. Fecal implants and parasite introduction may be disgusting but apparently it works. Methylation and stem cell treatment to reverse is scarring is being done with great success. I know you’re discouraged and won’t listen to this but my comment to you is the no doctor is going to cure you, you must cure yourself and you certain cannot give up at 32 years old.

            Just the facts of the text below from a couple studies would have me megadosing L-carnitine for a while. Especially if you eat little or no red meat.

            “When the skin is exposed to a “triggering” stimulus, such as UV radiation, an irritant (e.g. soaps or fragrances), or to allergens, the cells in the skin produce a variety of inflammatory “hormones” called cytokines and chemokines. These “inflammatory messengers” bind to specific receptors on target cells and stimulate the production of additional inflammatory signaling “hormones”. Some of these cause vasodilation while others activate nerve cells. Still other cytokines cause immune cells to leave the blood and migrate into the skin where they then produce more inflammatory hormones, as well as enzymes, free radicals, and chemicals that damage the skin.”

            “More recently these studies were expanded to examine the ability of L-carnitine to modulate cytokine production at higher doses.”

            Good luck!

            • Johnny says

              Hi Finndian, In terms of the parasite “cure”, there is no demonstrable evidence that it reverses chronic skin conditions. I have no desire to travel to a mexican clinic for insertion with parasites. Hell, why not just try every unconventional “cure” being proffered? When I say I have tried everything, obviously this means within the bounds of conventional, integrative, and mainstream naturopathic medicine. Obviously I have not tried “everything”- i have not tried goat urine enemas, megadosed yellow-bellied caterpillar embryos, or conducted a seance to enlist the help of deceased ancestors. I guess I have to draw the line somewhere. So yes, you are correct. I have not tried *everything*.

              I have tried to cure myself. I researched every day for years on end. I have megadosed numerous nutrients on my own. Interesting enough, carnitine was one of them. Half of the treatments I have tried have been initiated by myself, through my own research. No, I have not relied solely upon doctors but sought help from them in addition to my own constant comprehensive research and tireless experimentation.

              Whenever I mention scarring, I know someone will always remind me that we now have stem cell treatments so scars will be history within a couple of months. Unfortunately that is not the case. The overseas clinics that are offering stem cell treatments right now do not offer them for scarring. You may wonder why this is. I have been in contact with numerous stem cell clinics and they have all informed me that stem cells do not restructure existing dermal scars. In short, it doesn’t work. But that doesn’t seem to diminish the ubiquitous legend that stem cells will erase scars. The current leaders in stem cell research admit that we are a long long time away from knowing how to harness stem cells for the remodeling of scar tissue. Methylation for removing scars? I’ve never heard of that. Can you cite some evidence for that.

              • finndian says

                Johnny, talking about parasite therapy like its a bunch of weirdo’s in Mexico kinda indicates you are not keeping up. See… I’m the type that reads the research then I’m on the phone with the doctors involved asking question. I don’t wait for it to come to me. I bulldoze with questions and if it didn’t pan out or didn’t pass my BS meter I moved on. I think you need to keep your eye on the research… if this is autoimmune with you it might help.

                http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/11/whipworm-immune-regulation/

                My friend was terribly scarred when burned during a laser resurfacing for minor acne scarring on his face. It was an erbium laser which shouldn’t have done what it did but in the wrong hands he was scarred for life. To compound things after the laser burn there was an ensuing bacterial infection that consumed facial fat and he was disfigured even further.. it got worse over the following 3-4 months.

                After a lawsuit won him 30k he went about trying to restore his face… after many appointments with some of the best surgeons in the world he settled on the Dr Coleman in NYC. He’s an expert in facial fat grafting. The doctor mentioned that the stem cells in the harvested fat would help the scarring over time, that was his theory anyway. I was with my friend during this appointment. We were more focused on flattening the dents and divots caused by the fat loss and every surgeon in L.A. said this was the guy with the best fat grafting technique. He had demonstrated years of cases of permanent results. My friend wanted a permanent fix without having to resort to silicone fillers.

                He ended up having the surgery with Dr Sabeiro, she is trained in the “Coleman” techique and shares Colemans office space with him. She is the only female plastic surgeon in Manhattan believe it or not. She is cheaper and thats why by friend went with her.

                I saw the facial fat damage and the scar tissue before and then for the following 3-4 years. I saw the tightened scar tissue relax and flatten and improve dramatically in that time. No, its not gone now but he looks amazing. The fat has stayed and I do believe that the stem cell have something to do with the flattening and smoothing of the scars.

                Both doctors would love to enrich the fat with stem cells before layering into the skin but it is still illegal in the US and very highly regulated inside and outside of studies. If you can get your skin under control I’m telling you its amazing what a good surgeon can do and stem cells are restoring scarred heart tissue studies as well and I’ve seen it work with indented facial scars. Go to lipostructure.com to see some of their fat grafting work… I believe they show a slice-type of facial scar before and a couple years after and its very faint.

                I didn’t mean methylation for scarring. I was talking about trying to stop this out of control gene expression you have that is reeking havoc on your skin.

                • Johnny says

                  Finndian….

                  Really, I don’t care about trying to heal my skin anymore. I have given up. People find that so abjectly disconcerting and they simply cannot wrap their heads around that reality- that someone gets to the point of stopping the wild goose trying to treat a wholly untreatable disease. It may be unfathomable for you – I don’t doubt that it is. I guess it goes against the crusading, conquering spirit of humanity, but at some point you just give up and give in to that which is inevitable.

                  dermal fat grafting is NOT a permanent fix for scars. The fat is invariably reabsorbed by the body. Granted, the rate of reabsorption varies per individual, but it is absorbed nonetheless. I followed numous individuals at acne.org who had various fat transfers done on minor acne scarring and their scars returned in full. In addition to that fat transfers being temporary, even then it doesn’t remove the scars. It just softens their appearance for a period of time. As you said, “No, its not gone now…”
                  Scarring is permanent, period.

                  But of all this is a moot point, really. With an untreatable skin condition, the scarring is just the icing on the cake.

      • Melissa says

        Johnny I would not give up nor would I believe anything the doctors told you. They said for me to live with it too but I ended up in emergency and begged the doctor for ivermectin which helped kill a lot of the parasites but without healing the leaky gut the problem comes back. Doctors most are useless unless they have gone through this themselves or God has given them mercy towards His children. I have found one recently who is going to be helping me get back on track but so many before him the story to long to tell and to disgusted to even mention the lack of knowledge and bed side manner. God Bless you in your walk.

  86. Adrien says

    I have extremely oily skin since about 8 years, and seborrheic dermatitis because of it.

    I highly suspect my skin and other health problems are due to a leaky gut and my plan has been elaborated with that in mind.

    Here’s my current plan :

    – Diet : Autoimmune Protocol since nearly a month, and no FODMAPS since 2 weeks, (Very low/ no carbs Paleo diet for 3 years before).

    Macro ratios : 60% Fat, 25% Protein, 15% Carbs.

    – Supplements : Vit A, C, E, B complex, Magnesium, Omega 3s.

    Vit D3 10,000 IU + Probiotics since 1 1/2 month.

    Beef Gelatin + L-Glutamine To heal gut, since a week.

    These days I’m experiencing with 50,000 IU natural Vit A per day, it seems to lower the inflammation and my skin looks better, but no change in sebum so far.

    That’s an awful amount of supplements but I look and feel worst without them at the moment, I will stop as soon as I’m better or healed.

    I wash face with an aloe vera lotion 3 times/day and hair with a coconut oil liquid soap everyday with okay results, any better ideas?

    Walking 1 hour everyday since two months has improved my overall health.

    I’m planing to add :

    – Relaxation techniques like Autogenic Training, because I realized that stress might affects me very negatively.

    – Offal meats to my diet.

    – Weight lifting at least once or twice a week.

    Could taking Gamma Linolenic Acid rich oils like evening primrose oil be helpful?

    Is there anything else I can do specifically against oily skin?

    Please tell me if I’m on the right track, and if there’s something that I’m missing.

    Thanks.

    • finndian says

      Adrien, I admire your determination in getting this under control. I’m not telling you to do this but if it were me I’d do a couple things. I’d make sure you don’t have a problem with dehydration. When I had gut issues I’d have terribly sensitive skin. I know for certain the gut issues disrupted my electrolytes and I became potassium and magnesium deficient. As a result my facial pores were constantly open because of the skin not being fully plump and hydrated. I fixed the issue by curing the deficiencies and suddenly the dirt and bacteria couldn’t enter the pores any more to clog them. I got an inexpensive body water sensing weight scale and saw that I didn’t have proper body water levels and I took action.

      The second thing I would do is quadruple the vitamin A for a few weeks and get the dose closer to the prescription levels used to treat severe acne. The danger would be if you do this for months ad months… but I’d be damn curious if you see improvement in just a few weeks.

      The most valuable thing I’ve learned from the thousands of dollars I spent going to doctors when I was at my worst (I’m 90% better now) was the one product that helped my gut inflammation was Mediclear Plus once or twice a day. The ingredients look just like a simple vitamin drink but let me tell you it was like pouring water on the smoldering embers in my gut. Its got curcumin in it and I’m not sure if that is what does it but it was along with L-glutamine this stuff is what stopped the turmoil in my stomach. I paid hundreds to one doctor who prescribed it to me. He was right.

      When you cure yourself and I believe you will, be a good person and stay on the internet and tell other how you did it… there are so many people profiting on people that need help and its so disgusting!

      As for the suggestion about the iodine… I megadosed that for a few months. There are some forums that tell you how to do it. The idea is that your acne is a result of too much bromine in your body tissues and its irritating the skin… its added to bread and other products. The megadosing of iodine will displace the bromine slowly and but as the bromine leaves your body through urine and sweat… you’re skin may get worse before it get better… this is over a number of months.

      Google Dr Abrams and Dr Brownstein if you’re interested in megadosing iodine and need help… couple good forums that can answer questions.

      Good Luck!

    • MK says

      Look at Norm Robillard’s Book Fast Track Diet. I curbed my SIBO symptoms dramatically and he points out some foods from SCD, FODMAPS, GAPS, Paloe and even, yes, AIPaleo and other digestive health diets that can be VERY problematic fo SIBO. Having said that, he says some of the foods to take out can be confounders so once they are removed, you can actaully have things like low lactose dairy, nuts, and all things paleo, except sweet potatoes and apples, pears, a few of those things need to be left out for a while. http://digestivehealthinstitute.org/2012/08/17/sibo-diet-and-digestive-health/

  87. alberta says

    many years of over-actived oil glands on face & scalp. tried it all-dermatologist, anti-biotics special shampoos. dr. told me to wash face with nizoral, another said head&shoulders. works for a while.
    the best result i’ve had is baking soda. after washing my hands i sprinkle a very small amount of arm & hammer on my wet hands and rub in gently on my face. leave it on for 10 mins, then rinse twice a day. skin is in the best shape ever.
    acv mixed with water sprayed on scalp 10-15 min. before rinsing helps somewhat.

  88. Johnny says

    I have horrible skin and have been actively trying to heal it for over 15 years. I have been to over 30 doctors, derms, naturopaths, etc. I have literally spent years focusing on my gut with absolutely no benefits whatsoever. I have utilized every probiotic I have ever found, eliminated grains, sugars. I was on the paleo diet for about a year. I have done all manner of fasting and cleansing, etc. My entire body is still covered (head to toe) in the most angry, inflamed chapped skin year round. I am also covered in acne on my face, chest, back, upper arms, shoulders, scalp. This combined with the most severe seborrheic dermatitis you could ever imagine in those same areas. I have been to numerous integrative doctors who specifically have focused on gut issues including an incredibly expensive time with doctor le galland in manhattan. Nothing has ever helped. My skin is as raw, oozing, and pustule-laden ever. I have to admit, I get pretty frustrated when I hear people speak about the cause of skin conditions being digestive. I have spent years and have gone way beyond anything that anyone has ever done here and my skin is as bad as it has ever been. My severe dry scaling skin, severe pustular acne and derrmatitis are not digestive, as those interventions never even produced the tiniest of changes in my skin. I know that my skin condition is incurable and I will suffer with it every day for the rest of my life. So far it has been 15 years of literally unrelenting torture. My suffering has only begun. So for anyone reading this, not all chronic skin conditions are gut related. Mine is a perfect example. Some will have these conditions for the rest of their lives. So many people on here make it sound so simple….heal your gut and your skin problems will go
    away. Not so.

    • Beth says

      Johnny, one thought is to explore your situation from another angle: dental materials. Many mysterious maladies can be traced back to conventional dentistry procedures and not only the toxic materials used but the resulting issues they can trigger from smoldering infections, poisonous anaerobic bacteria, disrupted meridians, harmful electrical currents, etc. You may want to find a holistic biological dentist. It’s worth a try, good luck to you.

      • Johnny says

        I have explored every avenue over the past 15 years. All derms, naturopathic docs, integrative docs just shrug their shoulders and tell me to that I just have to learn to live with it since my skin condition is wholly intractable. The vast majority of the practitioners I have seen over the years ended up essentially giving up and saying that they are completely stumped by me. My skin literally does not respond to anything…including environmental changes…I have lived in many different areas and that does not alter the situation at all. My skin condition is completely hopeless and I have already given up trying to heal it. I know in my heart that it is a physical impossibility. I know people may scoff at that, but some things you just know. I am as sure that this skin condition is untreatable as I am sure of anything. I just came on to warm others not to fall for what is becoming the cliche catch-all diagnosis that skin condition=digestive condition. I don’t even try to heal my skin anymore- that is an incredibly useless waste of time and effort. Some things truly are hopeless.

        • Beth says

          I hear your frustration and I empathize. It still may be helpful to explore the options suggested by Matt, above, and Britt, below, as well as mine if these are not on your already long list of explorations.

          • Johnny says

            Let me try this again since my last comment was deleted. Thanks for your advice but I really have given up trying to heal my skin. I know that it is completely impossible. I just wrote to keep others from falling from the utterly pervasive myth that skin condition=gut condition. More and more people with chronic skin conditions that have been led to believe this are finding out that it is an abject fallacy.

            • Matt says

              Please read the book I recommended.

              I understand that you’re very upset. Once upon a time I also had terrible skin.
              The steps that helped me were:
              1. Going gluten free.
              2. I would make water kefir everday. My grains would grow to an extra cup each day. I would then swallow the all the surplous grains (300 ml) each day. Never drank the liquid though. I did that for about 2 months. And it completely changed my gut bacteria. No matter what I eat now the colour of my stool is the same as that of water kefir grains. lol!
              During those 2 months I didn’t even need to brush my teeth the bacteria were protecting me from head to toe. No bad breath or plaque – that was awesome.
              3. I now supplement with the probiotic strain LP299V 10 billion cfu/day. This strain is incredibly good at reducing IL-6.
              4. I’m going to infect myself soon with Necator Americanus.

              If it’s the last thing you ever do read the book.

              • Johnny says

                My skin problems are not gut related. I spent years on that silly wild goose chase. It is also not related to dental work, environmental mold, and anything else that either I or any other the 30+ ( mostly integrative) doctors could think of. I am taking their advice and just learning to live with it. It is entirely untreatable. Thus, I have given up trying to treat it. It is most certainly genetic but either way compeltely and totally intractable. I have given up trying to find something that will treat it. I know, deep down, no such thing exists. It is a burden I will have to carry until I die. For those, like me, that spent years desparately trying to find some kind of connection between their chronic skin condition and an assumed gut connection but have found nothing and still continue…that is because you have fallen for the skin condition=gut condition myth.

                • Emma says

                  The skin/gut connection is not a myth. Maybe not the absolute truth for everyone. I’m sorry that you haven’t found your cure. But nothing in life is black and white. If someone has a skin problem, I do think it is worth it to try dietary changes, like the SCD diet, the paleo diet, the elimination diet. It takes extreme effort and time, but it can help. Maybe not for everyone.

                  For me its true. I have Celiac and Alopecia. I have to scrutinize everything I eat, for the rest of my life. I wish I could eat anything I wanted. I have discovered gluten and soy are issues for me.

                • Nilofer Kreonidis says

                  We must all sound like broken records to you but let me quickly share my story – not about skin but related. I have a 20+ year history of migraines. They started when I was 21. Horrible, awful, 10-13 days a month. No regular doctor helped. Alternative docs sorta helped. Not until recently did I learn that celiacs who went gluteno-free also saw a resolution in their headaches. This info. passed to the migraine folks. I went gluten-free and 70% of my headaches resolved. I am not celiac positive but the hyper-glutenized foods that I believe began in the early 90s are wreaking havoc on LOTS of people. Look at the labels of almost every Peppridge Farm or Arnold bread: the first ingredient is of course something like “whole wheat flour”, the 4th ingredient will be “wheat gluten”. These breads are not the breads of my youthe. They add extra gluten in order to make it doughy and chewy. These heavy duty proteins are the culprit. So different from “self” proteins, and in our diets so much, our immune systems attack them but also any protein in our bodies that look a little like these proteins. Gluten wouldn’t be an issue if we ate it as often as spinach. But, we eat typically eat it multiple times a day, every day. Also, dairy is much like this. Foreign proteins that are immune systems get the opportunity to respond to often. My son had eczema, after removing dairy, no more. Hope this helps, but if not, good to rule out.

                • Johnny says

                  I was eating paleo for ages…before that completely gluten free, grain free, sugar free, common allergenic food free (nuts, eggs, soy, etc). That is just the tip of the iceberg. It was 16 years of tirelessly working on treating my skin before I gave up. I never seven recieved the slightest benefit from anything I ever did. If you knew my whole story, you’d agree that my skin condition is untreatable. You’d tell me to just learn to live with. I had dozens of self-assured doctors who essentially promised me they would get to the bottom of this only to tell me that it must be genetic because it is the most unresponsive condition that had ever seen. This skin condition in no way responds to diet, nutrition, supplementation, drugs, cleansing/detox, stress reduction techniques, etc. Hence, I know that there is nothing that I can do to change my skin.

                • Matt says

                  Hi Johnny

                  How old are you?
                  Does anyone else in your family have this type of skin condition?
                  What about other auto-immune conditions like type-1 diabetes?

                  Have you ever had your gut bacteria characterised?
                  If not, do it. The American Gut Project is recommended.
                  I think it’s $100 they will send everything to you.
                  http://www.indiegogo.com/americangut

                  I bet they’ll get back to you and tell you that you have the weirdest gut bacterial profile.

                • Lisa says

                  I would also add to Matt’s comment to try proteolytic enzymes in large quantities. This was the winning ticket for me. I took 21 tablets of Biotics Intenzyme Forte per day, divided into three doses (6 at a time) on an empty stomach. Also no dairy, no grain, no sugar whatsoever. And you have to do it for a very long time. A parasite cleanse and candida cleanse and any other cleanse you can do is also essential, plus eliminating all processed foods including vegetable oils and foods that are allergenic, which varies from person to person. Another part of healing that seems to be forgotten by this thread is the emotional aspect. Read Louise Hay, learn how to heal yourself from the inside out and about the power of attitude and self-love. If you believe you will find an answer, you will. If you believe there is no answer, you will be misguided and lead only to things that do not work. Love yourself, have gratitude, and trust that the answer is there. Keep your eyes and heart open and aware and it will come to you.

              • dee says

                You are absoultely crazy to infect yourself with Hookworm. I got it from a trip to the Dominican Republic 5 years ago and it wasnt discovered for 3 years. That’s 3 yrs of that thing living inside me and destroying my skin and body. Its still reeking havoc on my body as I have severe rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis and daily breakouts of pimples. I agree with Jonny, I feel hopeless too. I tried the Paleo diet, anti candida diet and did two types of intolerant testing (alcat and Leap) and strictly followed all these diets and my skin is worse than ever.. In fact it was better when I ate crappy. Diet is not the end all be all like everyone says. It just doesnt work for everyone. It is a daily struggle for me to even continue on this planet. I too have gone to ever derm, specialist, naturopath, homeopath, holistic, accupuncture, chiropractor and have no money left and bad skin. Maybe if chris reads this he will respond to me directly and offer me some shred of hope because I dont want this life!!!

        • Jul says

          Hi Johnny,
          IT’S ALL ABOUT EATING QUALITY ANIMAL FAT!!!! I used to suffer from really bad dandruff/psoriasis/dermatitis/arthritis/depression for over 15 years. I too have tried many avenues for healing. Doctors couldn’t help me at all and most weren’t allowed to give me any dietary advice. I strongly believe diet is related to the disease as a number 1 factor. The body can filter out toxins and deal with bacteria and repair skin, hormones, genetics etc, but if the proteins, fats, nutrients, water aren’t coming in then the body withers and malnutrition, bad bacteria, fungi, cancer, skin diseases, parasites take over. The body can heal itself, the skin, the bones, tissue! All you have to do is feed it. Have you ever wonder why so many people are healthy? Why so many people seem to be able to eat many different foods, do hard work/exercise, grow thick hair, have great skin, look good, eat grains, even sweets, etc. The answer lies in FAT – animal fat. The most highly prized foods of ancient cultures was any food high in pure animal FAT – fish, beef lard, etc. And also fatty animal organs such as liver, kidneys, and fish eggs, etc. These foods are also the worlds most NUTRITIOUS and nutritionally assimilable foods. North American Indians sometimes hunted large beasts only for their FAT and organs, like kidneys, livers, and tongues – they highly prized these! Inuits would NOT have survived without FAT in their diet. The human brain is 60-70% fat. People who take higher doses of fish oils also find that it helps their depression! Fat helps to store nutrients in the body. FAT helps to feed and moisturise skin, cells, etc. Raw fruit & vegetables/greens help to detox the liver/kidneys during spring/summer/diet change but they should not replace animal FAT consumption, followed by moderate-low amounts of daily meat/protein (eat fatty meat), and more vegetables. It’s great to avoid grains, dairy, legumes, nuts, starchy veggies, alcohol, and sweet fruit for a while at first. This makes you more thirsty and forces you to drink more pure water and eat more vegetables (lightly cooked), proteins, fats, and some raw salads. This diet, together with sleep (rest and fasting at night), gentle exercise, stress- free, fresh air, mineral baths, will heal your skin and repair your body. You need to supplement with ORGANIC animal fat/omega3 oil and reduce plant oils until it’s 1:1 ratio. Eat lots of fatty fish, fatty lamb, fish oils, pure animal lard, chicken skin/fat. Buy fish oil, cod liver oil, butter oil, primrose oil, and lecithin (fat emulsifier) and take them a spoon each, take all together, once a day after small meal, before bed. You will see your skin, nails, hair, energy, brain, working better than ever!
          Never ever give up! All the best…….Jul

    • Britt says

      Hi, have u ever considered your environment. Had similar skin issues as u describe. No food changes helped. Ended up being mold toxicity, twice the upper. Took a while to figure out since my house doesn’t look moldy anywhere. Had some pipes leak. Functional medicine md helped put the puzzle together. Hope the best for you, don’t ignore your environment

  89. marc Johnston says

    I have had dry skin for years and the last 5 years it has turned severly itchy in certain spots and at times drives me crazy.I have tried many topicals including jojoba,cortisone cream,florazone and many other items with temporary relief at best.I have been gluten free for one year;with no noticeable improvement,and went off dairy for two months with no help.I have been to Homeopaths,Naturopaths.They all throw their hands.I think it is environmental/allergen based.I take Krill oil and various other nutrients and probiotics.Any ideas?Marc

  90. Todd says

    Chris,

    I have had rosacea since I was probably 10 years old. I have photographic evidence and painful memories of my bright red cheeks. I also suffered from acid reflux at an early age. I can remember have toast and orange juice for breakfast and suffering all day with “heartburn” as early as 2nd grade. I’m a 38-year-old male. I also have suffered from recurrent styes (hordeolum) for as long as I can remember. All of those symptoms have improved since I moved to a Paleo diet last year. The redness on my face is almost not even visible and it’s very rare for me to flush like I used to. I followed your suggestions with HCl and digestive enzymes and that has completely eradicated my GERD symptoms. About 3 weeks ago, I was hospitalized with bacterial meningitis. It came on quickly and scared/surprised me. I’ve been feeling great since changing my diet and wasn’t expecting something like that. It turns out the culture revealed Staph Aureus. Being a fanatic researcher, I learned that styes are caused by S. Aureus. I actually had a large stye just a few days prior to being hospitalized with the meningitis. It was large and uncomfortable and I made the terrible mistake of popping it by rubbing my eye. My infectious disease doctor was surprised to see S. Aureus on the lab report. At the time, I did not know about the correlation with the stye. To bring this full circle, I understand the styes are associated with rosacea (ocular rosacea). Do you have any suggestions for me? I have had massive amounts of IV antibiotics as well as oral antibiotics as a result of the meningitis. I want to ensure I do whatever possible to prevent a recurrance. If popping the stye caused the staph to get into my bloodstream, what mechanism allowed it to get into my cerebrospinal fluid? Lastly, I’ve read about some possible correlations between rosacea, styes, and IgM deficiency, which would make one more prone to infection. Am I on to something here?

  91. Christina says

    Chris,

    Do you have a certain brand of probiotic that you recommend? I have tried the Bio Kult (GAPS) and Dr. Mercola’s. Some are refrigerated, some are not. Very confusing! And, some have mg stearate in them. It is difficult to determine a reputable source. SBO or not is another one? Thank you!

  92. Zorica Vuletic says

    Does this apply for possible candida infections (of the intestine/gut, not vaginal)? Sometimes I hear conflicting information regarding probiotics and fermented veggies and Candida (or Small intestine bacteriall overgrowth).

    Thanks.

  93. LB says

    I have been gluten free for almost a year now to treat Hashimoto’s. Things are going well except one oddity. For the past 1 – 2 months, I frequently have a rash on my face from the bridge of my nose down the sides of my face to my chin. It makes kind of a tear-drop shape. No one I’ve talked to has ever heard of or seen this before. It will appear in the late morning or early afternoon and seems to be around for a few hours. Sometimes I don’t notice it unless I look in the mirror, other times it feels tingly or even a little warm, not often itchy. I keep thinking that it’s some type of food allergy but can’t figure out what it could possibly be. I’ve also wondered if it’s due to excess supplements (B Vit, adrenal rebuilder, omega-3, rhodiola). Anyone have any knowledge or experience with this type of a rash?

  94. Margaret says

    Any advice on Vitiligo?? Diet, exercise but what does one do to retrain this body to do its job in regard to the melanin producing and pigment of skin cells. Please Help

  95. Emma says

    I started having weird autoimmune symptoms like dry eyes, dry mouth, fatigue, bowel issues in 2011. After spending months at different doctors and receiving no diagnosis, I started to get a little rash on my scalp. I was diagnosed with a form of scarring alopecia called Lichen Planopilaris. I started a gluten free diet to support my skin toward the end of 2011. I felt a little better but I still had other issues and didn’t feel healthy. Finally in July of this year I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. I think my undiagnosed Celiac kick started my Alopecia. Unfortunately it may be a battle for life. A gluten free diet didn’t make my gut feel much better and I was suffering from mal-absorbtion so I started a Paleo diet in August and my stomach is much better. I think I have less systemic inflammation but I still pray for a healthy scalp free of this painful and itchy rash that I have had for nearly a year. I have been under a good dermatologists care but this condition tends to be chronic. I have been in touch with other LPP patients who get some relief from paleo. I have only had a little relief to my skin.

    • Beth says

      Emma, you might try doing the elimination diet called the GAPS Intro for a month or two and see if that helps. It can be very effective at healing leaky gut, which may be an underlying cause for your scalp issues. I know another Celiac who is experiencing significant healing this way. Good luck to you!

  96. Limak says

    Hi Chris,

    Healing my gut has definitely improved my acne, but I would like to have your insight on this.

    Is it possible that being hypothyroid can impair gut function leading to SIBO and other bacterial overgrowths? This would also likely lead to vitamin/mineral deficiencies further exasperating the problem, correct? I believe that I may be deficient in B12 and K2 but I don’t want to supplement without further testing.

    I ask this because I will soon be visiting a naturopath and hopefully have some testing done for my thyroid and for SIBO, hopefully an organic acids test as recommended by you. Is there anything I should specifically mention or any specific tests I should have done?

    Thanks,
    Limak

  97. says

    Has anyone had success treating psoriasis? A close family member has it and it seems that sometimes diet is not enough. Would love to hear anyone’s experience.

    Looking forward to your Wise Traditions Conference talk!

    • Des says

      Hi Lisa, I have a client who suffers from a bad case of psoriasis. Although it hasn’t cleared completely, the inflammation has gone down ten-fold with diet alone. The foods that seem to make his condition worse are: red wine, all dairy, gluten, sugar, eggs, toxic seed oils (soybean, canola, etc), dark chocolate, nuts, flour and beer. I’m his personal trainer and when he has had a bad eating week, I can see it written all over his body. Lately, I asked him to eliminate dark chocolate because cocoa is way too high in omega 6 and therefore worsens his inflammation, not to mention the sugar which, even in small quantities does its damage, and he has seen dramatic results. don’t underestimate the power of a clean diet. A diet of meat, bone broth, fish, vegetables and some fruit may seem boring to your family member, but having smooth skin overrides the ‘boringness.’ I tell my client that it’s never boring to be healthy. He’s also lost all his belly fat eating this way, a nice bonus. Also, I’ve encouraged him to buy Green Pastures high vitamin cod liver oil butter/blend to see if that helps even further. Good luck!

      • says

        Thanks Des, there should be more trainers around like you!
        I’m definitely not “underestimating the power of a clean diet” but I have still not heard a testimonial of someone completely clearing psoriasis on diet alone.

        Thanks for the tips, it sounds similar to something I would advise (paleo type diet with an autoimmune protocol) but testimonials are useful when encouraging people to give up so many foods.

        • says

          Des is soooo right, eating clean, especially the bone marrow and broth soups are great healing foods, make sure it’s pastured livestock for the good omega balance and nutrients in the fats!! Also remember when giving up foods you love, they are really just cravings and when they go away you then start to control your foods and therefore your life too…

        • Des says

          You’re very welcome and thank you for your kind words. It’s an ongoing battle, but when this individual gets it right, it shows.
          It’s Chris’s site that got me into looking outside the box. Excercise is important, but nothing has the potential to heal like proper food (and the right attitude).
          Once you eliminate all these foods, as daunting as it sounds, something miraculous happens; you stop craving them! I have little reason to eat this way, yet I do because I see the benefits. Plus, I feel free from the burden of all prccessed foods. I eat the same sort of foods every day, and I feel great. My skin is clear (I had flare ups before) and I just feel human again.
          Good luck!

  98. says

    Absolutely true. My story is too long to post here as a comment (plan to blog about it soon) but the bottom line is this: A severe flare-up of a skin condition exacerbated by stress left me with a painful, stinging, burning, swollen and scaly inflamed epidermis, and I didn’t want to go back to the standard treatment regimen of drugs, particularly the antibiotics. I wanted to fix the cause, not the effect. Knowing I had an overactive immune system (connected, of course, to gut issues), I decided to work on that—and the quickest way I could figure was via a raw-milk-only diet to reestablish friendly gut flora, etc. One month on that and it was like I had new skin. Major caveat here: This was clean, healthy raw milk (and raw fermented milk products). All the skincare recommendations for “no dairy” should be “no PASTEURIZED dairy.” Major difference. The clean raw milk heals—the pasteurized dirty milk harms.

    • Beth says

      Your story is very interesting and encouraging. Thanks for sharing.

      Like I often say, raw milk is nature’s original probiotic food.

  99. Isabel says

    Oh, YES I’ve noticed a connection…I got sick with bacterial (yeast & ? ) overgrowth in 2007 and something from a bad chicken in 2008 and have spent 4 years healing…and everything I was sensitive or allergic to came right out in my face, different times and spots for different things…like a map!
    Everyone thought I was nuts when I said it was my gut and sensitivities/allergies. SO glad to read this!!

  100. says

    Chris,
    Healing the gut over the past 5 years has been key in healing my body from a horrific skin condition and immune system breakdown! The road has been long but I am grateful for all the healing that has taken place. Here is my story:

    In the fall of 2008, I broke out into these horrendous skin rashes all over my legs. They were painful, hot and terribly itchy. I saw multiple dermatologists and doctors, applied various creams and took various medications…all to no avail. No one had a clue what this mystery rash was. Months went by and the rash spread to my arms, torso and neck. My energy levels dropped, my hair started falling out, I was gradually dropping weight and needless to say I became very scared and angry. I was still trying to work as a physical therapist and I was exhausted and miserable. I didn’t know what to do…I was desperate for answers and relief from the pain and itching. I would never have imagined that I would continue to experience these couple for the next few years!! The rashes were unbearable, but sadly it started getting worse.

    In the late summer of 2009, I came down with an awful infection of my mouth, throat and tonsils. Doctors would give me an antibiotic and then the infection would return in 3 to 4 days after finishing it. The infections returned with a vengeance 4 times in a month and a half, leaving me mostly bed bound and having to go on short term disability at the age of 29!! The doctors didn’t know what to do. I was terrified! It is scary and does crazy things to your mind when you don’t know what is wrong with you. Here I was…a formally vibrant, fun-loving, high-level athlete stripped of everything I took for granted. My body was gaunt, sickly and plagued with rashes. I dropped to a size 1 pair of pants and I could barely walk down the street, let alone play a 90 minute soccer match. I lost my fun-loving personality to fear, anxiety and anger. I was a mess! I soon realized that conventional medicine had nothing to offer me…no relief from my pain and no plausible explanation for my symptoms. Thus, began my determined and desperate efforts to regain my health. By the grace of God, I came across an article about natural solutions to drug-resistance infections and started taking wild Mediterranean oregano oil. I thought, “What the heck! It couldn’t hurt, right?” The infection went away after about a week and for the first time in almost a year I got a little relief from the burning and itching of my skin. Halleluyah!

    I began pouring over books and doing tons of research about nutrition, health and healing. For the first time I started thinking about what I was putting into my body and how it might affect me. I had an innate sense that my body was toxic and it was imperative that everything that came into and on my body needed to be clean and of the highest quality. The more I learned, the more astonished and dismayed I was at the toxins (chemicals, pesticides, hormones, etc) that are present in our food and environment. I came across the Paleo diet and the Weston A. Price foundation and I really started to understand the importance of food in healing and overall health. I was fascinated to learn about the vibrant health of our ancestors that were eating their traditional diets and how far we have strayed as a society from eating REAL FOOD! No wonder we are so sick! No wonder I was so sick! I grew up eating sugar, fast food and lots of refined carbohydrates. My cooking included mac and cheese from the box and cereal for dinner. I always thought about food this way…I could eat whatever I wanted because I was thin and a good athlete. I never once thought about how the quality of food affected me or could potentially affect me long term.

    I always understood the importance of movement and exercise, however realized I needed to slow down. I was an athlete and I was used to pushing my body to the limits my whole life. I didn’t understand the value of rest and relaxation. Over-exercise without adequate rest will eventually break down your body. I began walking and doing yoga, versus the hard-core workouts I was accustomed to. I learned of the value of sleep and slept as much and as often as my body would let me. I began seeing holistic doctors and various alternative practitioners. I went through a battery of tests and found out I had multiple food allergies, parasites, fungal infections, heavy metal toxicity, etc. The list goes on. Basically, my immune system was severely compromised.

    I finally turned a corner when I learned of this term called “leaky gut” that was likely contributing to a lot of my symptoms. It made sense considering that your gut is 70-80% of your immune system. I needed to heal my gut!! I took steps to begin the process of healing my gut (and I am still in the process) with diet, rest and supplementation. For the first time in a couple years I started to get relief from the rashes and they slowly began to go away….and bit by bit symptoms started to improve and I started to regain my health. My diet consists of a Paleo diet, minus nightshades and chicken eggs. I eat plenty of healthy fats, bone broths and fermented foods. 5 years later I have no more rashes and I was able to celebrate this year on beaches of Costa Rica…bare legs and bikini!! My journey has inspired me to help others and now have a blog with my husband called: http://www.paleosecret.com.

    Chris…Thanks for all your research and work getting the word out about healing the gut and healing the body naturally!!! You are my “go to” guy for sound nutrition information and research. Healing my gut saved my life and my skin!!

    Sincerely,
    Brenda Walding, DPT, FDN

    • Melissa says

      Wow! Your story sounds so much similar to mine. So sorry you went so long undiagnosed. I still haven’t been diagnosed either but had come across an article for leaky gut and since I had problems with my stomach over the years and taking anti acids I thought what the heck I will try taking some of my anti acids and then some probiotics and within three days what a difference. Like night and day. I really can tell a difference now by what I eat. The more I stay away from carbs he better. I believe it is leaky gut with candida. Thank you for sharing your story. God Bless

  101. Lynne says

    Hi Chris, something is going on with me but I have no idea what. I have always had great skin, spotty when a teenager re very oily but as I have got older it means my facial skin looks good, fewer lines and wrinkles so a youthful appearance that belies my age. I also have never suffered from eczema etc.
    I started an evolving Paleo diet approx 18months ago, changing as I have learnt more.
    First thing I did was to remove all grains/sugar and oils other than olive oil use on salads and using organic virgin coconut oil for cooking and fat from organic grass fed meat.
    Within a few months I developed a very itchy tiny postule rash which turns scaly on the fingers of my right hand which developed less so on my left hand fingers and down on to my hands a little.
    It seemed to me to be like a description of Dermatitis Herpeitformis and yet I didn’t have when eating grains. As if flaring up because of lack of gluten proteins – bemused?
    I have had rheumatoid arthritis for 17yrs but have always refused medication preferring to use diet,
    I wondered if it may be dairy that is the cause of the rash which to be honest I had very little of in previous years but had started eating yogurt for probiotics. I stopped eating thinking it may be the cause but the rash never properly went away even after 9months of no dairy. (lingers on one finger of my right hand) I decided after a while to try raw organic goats milk yogurt and the rash flared and spread immediately after one serving (I could be blaming it wrongly) As a week later the rash is stll active.
    My mum is Coeliac but I have recently been tested and here in the UK they state that I test negative for DQ2 and DQ8. Even so I will still not be eating grains, but wonder if the rash could be caused by even the A2 raw goat yogurt and once eaten can cause an immune response that lasts for a long time, re my hand never quite healing. My rheumatoid symptoms also are worse when I have the intense rash. Oh also I have been taking colostrum for approx 6months hoping to gain health benefits, I understood that this was safe even if there may be a problem with dairy (I do not know that I have a problem with dairy which I did consume occasionally and as I have said never had a skin issue before starting Paleo) Can skin issues start when the body is suddenly deprived of gluten proteins – almost as if the Herpes virus is fighting for survival – that is what is going through my head. Have you ever heard of this before?
    I would reall appreciate your thoughts.

    • says

      It sounds like dyshydrotic eczema. I have this.
      I’d recommend trying an auto-immune paleo diet and see if it helps. Dairy can be a problem for eczema for me

  102. Denise says

    Going paleo, doing cleanses (ReNew Life’s different topics), cutting out GMO foods, eating organic/range raised, only using soap where the sun don’t shine, most recently adding lots of plain raw goat yogurt and milk has greatly improved my skin. The ecxema above my lips has just recently disappeared. Granted, it was greatly inflamed for several months, but that was due to the body eliminating it. For my horses when I put them on herbs they say to expect healing to take place at the rate of one month for every year of the disorder. Everyone that has posted how trying something and it didn’t work in 1, 2 or 6 months, you need to keep at it until the toxins are dealt with by the body.

    Best Wishes and follow your Intuition!

  103. says

    I have a friend with psoriasis on her forehead. She ‘knows it comes from within’ (her words), but she doesn’t seem to want to address it. I think she is scared to change her routine of scrubbing the dickens out of her face every day, because she knows that works and gets her through her workday without a flare up. I mentioned trying a probiotic as a start and she was like no no no way. Would you have any advice for her on how to proceed? I don’t want to push the issue with her, but I can it is controlling her daily functioning. She is also addicted to the tanning salon, I get the feeling she feels it hides how her skin looks.

  104. Pam S. says

    My rosacea didn’t really flare up until after I began a paleo diet last year. Since then I’ve been diagnosed with SIBO and I can absolutely say my skin clears up somewhat after being on antibiotics (I’ve been on two rounds so far.) The problem is after I’m done with the antibiotics about 2 weeks later my gut symptoms and breakouts return. Unfortunately being on a SCD diet hasn’t made much of a difference for me, and taking probiotics only worsens my skin if they include any bacteria from dairy. It is great that so many people report a diet change as being a large help but in my case it hasn’t.
    I do believe in the gut-skin connection, but it isn’t always easy to figure out and apparently not always easy to heal the gut barrier. But I am going to keep trying!
    I’ve been to a dermatologist as well and she has me putting a bunch of creams on my face, and of course that hasn’t done much of anything.

  105. NK says

    Hi Chris
    My twin toddlers and I react to dairy by getting eczema. For me, eating dairy and then using dish soap seems to bring out eczema on my hands. Dish soap alone does not cause a problem. In the past I gave my boys raw milk from an Amish farm, hoping that this would help but it did not make a difference. I now give them dairy less frequently and they are able to tolerate it better. They can tolerate more dairy in the summer than the winter it seems before eczema appears. They are both gluten-free at home (I am gluten-free in order to avoid migraines – but celiac negative).
    Not sure if this is helping or not but I usually start their meals with the meat portion, then give vegetables and then a starch at the end. I do this for several reasons, mainly to make sure that they don’t fill-up on carbs and ruin their appetite, but also feel that instinctively, this is how we would have eaten before the availablitly of so many grains. Does eating meat increase stomach acid right away and therefore kill off bacteria that might set-up camp in the small intestine?

  106. Kj says

    Hi Everyone!
    I am a firm believer in probiotics! My mother is 64 and she has concerned me for a while with her over use of antibiotics. She seemed to always have a cold of some sort. I finally convinced her to start using a probiotic called PB8, and not only has she not been sick she also has more energy, and her SKIN has a glow that I have not seen in a long time! I also have a 9yr old son with eczema that has shown improvment with a kids probiotic!

  107. Kerry says

    I have psoriasis and know that I have a leaky gut, so I’d bet if I could find a way to heal it I’d see improvement. I recently started eating mostly paleo. I plan on starting a sugar detox on 11/1 so hopefully if I add a probiotic too I’d see improvement. Do you have any probriotic brand recommendations?

  108. Emanuel says

    Hey Chris,
    this study: “And another recent study of 56 patients with acne showed that the consumption of a Lactobacillus fermented dairy beverage improved clinical aspects of acne over a 12-week period. (10)”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez/20692602
    is about “Lactoferrin”-enriched products. Lactoferrin can be found in significant amounts in colostrum. Do you prefer colostrum to treat acne vulgaris?

  109. Latifa says

    I’ve noticed big improvement to my skin since going paleo. Butter is advertised as good fat but I noticed some pimples as soon as I introduced butter in my diet. Does Anyone have the same experience with butter?

  110. Brittany says

    I am very dairy intolerant. Is it okay to drink kefir? or will it cause more problems?
    Recently tried some homemade kefir from a local raw milk farm and it did not make me feel very good.

  111. Des says

    Hi Chris, I regret I won’t be able to come to the talk in November which upsets me deeply. My work schedule simply does not permit. Will you be giving a talk next year and if so, do you know what the talk will be about?

  112. NTA says

    I have been on GAPS diet for almost four month. I believe the condition of my seborrheic dermatitis has improved. I still have ocasional flare ups, which could be related to die-off, environmental conditions like sun and wind, or, perhaps, something else. To heal the skin on my face, I treat it with diluted apple cider vinegar. I don’t use any soap on my face and it’s much better this way.

  113. js290 says

    Brown rice and sorghum causes psoriasis on my elbows within hours. Corn to a lesser extent. I’m guessing my receding gums were related to this as well. FWIW, my gums no longer receding. No obvious skin reactions from wheat, though. Prolong exposure to gluten causes arthritic pain in my fingers.

    I think raw tomatoes may cause some issues for me as well. But, there may have been confounders the last time it happened. Not worth verifying at this point.

  114. Anna says

    I suffered moderate acne from my late teens (it was especially bad when I was pregnant and after my daughter was born) until I went strict Paleo at age 34. I was 100% strict for only 1 month but it cleared up the acne on my face, and the red raised bumps that I always had on my upper arms. That was five years ago and since then I have followed Paleo eating with varying degrees of strictness/slackness. When I move further away from Paleo my skin starts to break out again. Dairy really affects my skin. Loren Cordain has a great e-book on Acne.

  115. valerie says

    Hi Chris, I have personal interested in this topic for many years as I suffered from a terrible “itchy arms” syndrome. During the summer of 2003 I noticed I had a little itchy spot on my arm, without realizing it I would scracth til it bled! Over a few years it advanced to cover the entire front of both arms, from the wrist to the tops of my shoulders. No where else on my body. At times it was almost unbearable, often I would awaken at night with bleeding sores. If the itching was mild I could control it with antihistime ointments, if it was persistent I could take one, then two oral antihistimines (benydrl). I went to dermatologies but refused the treatment of steriod creams. Once I found that I could get relief from Accupunture I started using that approach. This condition escalated over a period of 5 years with the worst year being 2008.

    Do a google search on “Itchy Arms” and stand back!!! WOW!!! With research I was able to eliminate all of the “usual” causes for having itchy arms. What was so odd was that it would onset in mid – late summer and resolve ON ITS OWN (??) at some point in the early winter (mid Nov – early Jan). So weird!! It would vanish almost over night!? I could not connect the itch directly to the sun but I do think there was some connection so I started using lots of sunscreen on my arms and keeping them well covered.

    When I finally found your website and began learning about the gut brain connection I had my first AHHA moment, it all started to make sense. I used to get stomach aches, gas and indigestion, and have loose stools often. After a lifetime of antibiotics and a convential diet, I was learning something very new!

    I began making MAJOR changes to our diet cause I discovered Dr. Weston Price and read his book. I began to think that I might heal! And I did heal —- Each year for the past 4 years the itch has diminished more and more. I did not itch at all this summer!! None, zero, zip!

    Starting in 2007:
    1. I have almost reach our goals of a GMO FREE 100% organic diet. 100% grass fed meat and dairy and pastured eggs (now from our chickens); ZERO industrial seed oils; We almost NEVER ever eat out. We still eat corn and gluten, but in small amnts and always properly prepared according to wise food traditions. Here are the other changes we have made:
    2. I have been making and consuming raw milk kefir and other naturally fermented foods daily daily.
    3. Supplements: FCLO/HVBO for the past 5 years. last falls began taking extra Carlsons Vitd3 (fall-spring) liquid minerals from Trace Elements, Dr. Rons Organ Delight 3 times a week in winter, Dr. Rons iodine supplement. Regular epsom salt baths late fall in to the spring, and I use Mag oil on my skin often.
    4. This year I started purposefully getting more sun from mid March til now – I come home at lunch time and work in my yard in a skimpy tank top and short shorts for 30 minutes to an hour (shower 1-2 a week). I used to use tons of sunscreens and covered my skin with clothing for many years. I still cover up after I get my daily dose of mid day sun, and use mineral sunscreen on my face and back of hands (California Babies).

    More good news –

    Illness: Both me and my husband used to get sick all the time!! at least once sometimes 2 or 3 times a year with some kind of bug and often taking antibiotics for some intracable cough or sore throat. The year we started making the above changes we were both sick multiple times and on antibiotics – me 2x jeff 3x that year! In the past 4 years Jeff has not been sick at all!! I’ve had one mild strep infection that cleared on its own last winter. We both used to take antibiotics for infections like bronchitis that would not clear on thier own (we live in a very cold snowy climate) Neither of us has taken antibitoics is 4 years.
    .
    Lastly, my adult acne has improved greatly, I used to get lots of small comodons and black heads, and i now enjoy excellent bowel health, no indigestion, no gas or bloating, an occassional loose stool.

    This is a long post but I want to point out that I have healed immensely since adopting this approach to diet AND QUICKLY!! Esp. adding naturally fermented foods, eliminating all GMO foods, 100% grass fed meat, and taking our FCLO/HVBO!!

  116. Carin Johnson says

    I’ve had acne since a teenager, not bad but at least a couple every day of my life for the last 12 years or so, kind of embarrassing as a 28 year old. I switched to Paleo eating earlier this year and within a month my skin cleared up completely. It’s been about 5 months now and I’m a firm believer. We went on vacation and I indulged in a lot of breads and the like, and by the time the week was over I had a little pimple on my chin. Back to grain-free eating and back to clean skin!

  117. Julia says

    About a year ago, I discovered I’d been suffering from the parasite E. histrolytica. I was severely malnourished and underweight, and had leaky gut. Since ridding myself of the parasite, I’ve gained weight and am absorbing nutrients properly (I also still supplement with a high dose of probiotics). However, since I appear to have resolved my leaky gut, my skin has actually gotten worse! My forehead has had a permanently bumpy appearance for over a year, and my nose and chin often break out as well. I don’t have acne rosacea or a severe case of acne, but I am still frustrated. Is this a release of toxins I accumulated while suffering from the parasite? Or is it something else?

    • Beth says

      Julia, thanks for sharing your story. How did you determine you had this parasite, and what steps did you take to eliminate it?

      • Julia says

        Beth-

        I was misdiagnosed with Crohn’s disease over four years ago. The SCD diet (very similar to Paleo) really helped alleviate my digestive symptoms, but I was emaciated and could not keep on any weight. I discovered an organism of “unknown taxonomy” through a stool test a few years later. If you are in the NYC area, I highly recommend Dr. Cahill if you think you have a parasite; he is one of the top parasitologists in the country. After three weeks of antibiotics (yes, I know, not ideal, but I offset this with lots of probiotics), I finally began gaining weight! I started absorbing nutrients properly again. Parasites can be difficult to kill, and I don’t regret taking antibiotics.

        I guess I am still eliminating toxins I had stored up during the time I was infected. Not sure, though. Does anyone have any ideas as to why my skin is actually more prone to breakouts now that I’ve IMPROVED my gut function?

        • Chris Kresser says

          Possibly this: though the antibiotics killed the parasites and that improved your gut function overall, they also altered your intestinal microflora in such a way that is predisposing you to skin breakouts. It may be a question of rebuilding your gut post-antibiotic treatment.

          • Julia says

            That’s a good point, Chris. I actually supplemented the antibiotics with 1 packet of Probiotic 225 every day of medication (225 billion CFU a day). It’s been about a year since I went off medication, and I am still supplementing with 225 billion CFU every other day. Do you think my gut is still being rebuilt? I am 17, and my parents think my breakouts are just a “teen” issue. But I don’t think acne at any age should be considered normal.

            • Onur says

              Could that be due to an imbalance of the intestinal flora ? Maybe the problem is not a lack of the probiotic strains she is supplementing, and maybe they are even too much in her already, maybe she needs other strains and/or a better diet instead… Only speculating…

        • fallpinn says

          Diagnos-tech’s “Expanded upper GI panel” will name that “unknown” parasite. Dr Stuppy a parasite specialist here in Los Angeles believes that the stool tests that don’t name the parasite and list “unknown taxonomy” instead, are worthless.

          • Julia says

            I actually had a more comprehensive at examination with Dr. Cahill in NYC, who named the parasite E. histrolytica. He is one of the top parasitologists in the country, and I am parasite free now so I am not too concerned.

  118. says

    I have had Hidradenitis supporativa for a couple decades. It got worse as my overall health worse. Didn’t improve when I went gluten-free (though many other symptoms did go away). Didn’t improve when I went paleo/primal (I still have a bit of dairy). Then, while reading one of Mark Sisson’s books, I came across a story about a woman with HS…but it didn’t mention whether or how she got rid of it. Fortunately, I found her blog and learned that she has been able to put her HS in remission by following a nightshade-free diet. Of all that I’ve cut out of my diet, losing peppers and tomatoes has been the hardest, but I do notice that when I stick to it, I have no new breakouts and when I cheat, I have a break out within 24 hours.

    • dc says

      Thanks for the info. If you don’t mind my asking, how long has it been since you cut out the nightshade? Are you still doing paleo-style, or just no nightshades?

    • Brittany says

      Hey Alex – There are lots and lots of articles discussing the gut-skin-brain connection in the medical literature. Celiac, Crohn’s disease, and Ulcerative colitis (GI autoimmune diseases) all have widely characterized skin manifestations that are taught to every medical student in the world and each of these entities have associated neurologic disorders (headache, seizures, neuropathy, depression, etc). This is a well-established phenomenon. Just do a pubmed.org or more thorough google search and you’ll see that the “gutflora” site was not first posting on this. It’s been described in medical books for > 50 years. Chris does a great job though of digesting this information and sharing it to a broader audience. I think many doctors don’t emphasize the skin findings as much as they should because for people with gastrointestinal or neurologic diseases following a subtle skin rash can be a great way of self-monitoring their disease state. Looking at a rash improve with favorable dietary changes provides positive reinforcement and can help people adhere to a diet who have GI or neurologic/brain symptoms that improve only in a delayed manner. Cheers, Brittany

  119. Wendy says

    Hi, Chris,

    Great article. I’ve learned so much from you.

    What type or brand of probiotics would you recommend?

    Thanks,
    Wendy

    • Chris Kresser says

      I like Therbiotic Complete from Klaire Labs, VSL #3 and Jarro-Dophilus (for those who need a shelf stable option).

  120. Margaret says

    I hope one day you’ll come to Sydney, Australia to give a talk.
    My face used to be red and blotchy but is now clear because I’ve stopped eating nuts.

  121. allegra says

    that’s so interesting! i’m 13 and i use these prescribed facial creams given to me by my dermatologist, however i came across your article when my dad showed it to me and i wanted to know exactly what foods i should eat and which i should avoid to get rid of my acne (i’m vegan so i don’t drink or eat any eggs, milk, cheeses etc) also, if acne is caused by the gut, then how come my prescribed creams are working? finally, i’d also like to know when i’d start noticing changes? thank you :)
    p.s. sorry if my questions were already mentioned in your article its just that i’d like clearer information on it.

  122. Des says

    Hello Chris, as always, great article.

    What do you think about kombucha as a source of probiotics (to treat blemishes) for someone who prefers not to eat dairy? Or is dairy the best probiotic option? Should I be concerned about the sugar (in kombucha)?

    Thank you kindly,
    Des

  123. Ann says

    Hi Chris- I have been doing paleo on and off for the last nine months. I use to also get acne and notice when I consume dairy, I tend to have more acne. One thing I had experienced, and wonder if you could speak about this, is when I consistently went paleo and cut sugar for two weeks or more I experienced increase itchiness, small bumps and what my doc explained was contact dermatitis on my chest, hands and feet. It was a scary experience for me, and initially wondered if it had something to do with my diet changes. I thought, maybe the toxicity is getting out of my body. The first time this occurred, I took medication and it lasted for a month. It has not occurred since that time, but I realized I go on and off paleo in fear it may occur again. Have you known anyone who has had this experience? Do you think this may have been related to my diet? Is doing paleo on and off harming me more than helping me? Any recommendations? Thank you so much for the education you provide!

  124. says

    I’ve been on Paleo for over 6 months now and I must say that bad skin on my shoulders significantly improved. I get a pimple or two during my period time. I also wanted to say that I had been struggling with bad skin on my shoulders for almost 20 years. It had started when I was 14 and stopped after being on Paleo for only 4 weeks.
    What’s even more interesting for me is my eyes are getting better, too. I’ve had miopia since I was 6. It’s a pretty bad case because my left eye is -7 and the right one -6.5. I’m not saying that my contacts are too stong (not yet , but I hope they will be :-) )but sth really positive is going on with them . I’ve never experienced such clear vision before. Is there anybody that that could share the same experience with me? Is it possible that my eyesight will improve?

    • Sarah says

      The autoimmune protocol, from a Paleo perspective, can be found on many sites. I have referenced ThePaleoMom.com most often for my own education. Click on the link “Autoimmunity” and you will see several articles.

  125. Bridget says

    I’ve always had soft and fairly blemish-free skin, even when I was a teenager. I got a gift of a facial once and the woman who worked on my face said I had great skin and great pores and that I was blessed because I’d never had a facial in my life and didn’t really need the one I got. I’m 58 now and younger women envy the smooth softness of my skin. If gut problems and skin problems are related, can I think that my gut’s in good shape based on my skin?

  126. Sam says

    I had what was diagnosed as severe rosacea that triggered by exposure to sunlight. I would get red patches on face and arms, that would itch a little and go away on their own after 5 to 6 days.
    I went Primal two and half years ago. This condition simply went away in about six months.
    Recently, I went on a cruise to the southern Caribbean, nothing happened for the first 3 days, despite eating a bit poorly. On the 4th day, I had some local food from a beach shack, and I had a severe reaction on my arms, not face. I have since returned, went back to my eating habits and it has completely gone without any medical intervention.

  127. Brittany says

    I had a small single patch of eczema on my elbow for 5 years before I developed GI symptoms, was treated with antibiotics for SIBO, got worse on antibiotics and eventually was diagnosed with “Idiopathic malaborption.” Nonetheless, I suspect that I have an autoimmune process/inflammation, like celiac. I started SCD-Paleo-GAPS and my eczema disappeared x 2 years by narrowing my diet to veggies and meats (no dairy, no nuts, no fruit, no grains, no sugar, no nightshades, no coconut), but despite these changes, I’ve still had GI symptoms all along. I now have lots of work stress and despite adhering to my ridiculous diet, my GI symptoms are worse and my elbow eczema is back for the first time! I wish I could break this “vicious cycle.” ;-) It is nice to hear about everyone else’s experience and glad I’m not only one with the gut-skin autoimmunity. Thanks to Chris Kresser for this forum and great dialogue.

  128. Lainey says

    I’m not precisely what in the paleo approach has ‘cured’ me, but after 7 years of chronic hives, 2 years of alopecia and 12 years of psoriasis and bouts of rosacea, I am now skin disease free. I eat primal rather than paleo, and I heavily supplement with probiotics. I don’t care which specific alteration, whether its grain elimination or the probiotic supplementation taking care of the SIBO, or a combination of both. I don’t care. It’s worked, where every single other approach from immunologists, or endocrinologists, or general practicikners couldn’t solve, despite their best efforts. There is definitely a gut, skin axis…now I just need the brain to kick into action :-)

  129. Jen says

    I have been on a strict diet ( meat, fish, eggs, shellfish, vegetables, fruit, water ) for 6 years and my eczema ( which I have suffered from since a baby had gone ). However I do believe the effect of stress on the nervous system has a very important part in skin problems. Due to the fact that I have high levels of anxiety at the moment my skin has broken out in dry, red, itchy patches particularly on my face, hands and legs. What helps me the most is calming the nervous system with meditation / yoga.

  130. Jan Beck says

    Thank you for the information. I’m 52 and had what appeared to be normal teenage acne for most of my life. After discovering I was pre-diabetic and a change to a low carb diet, I realized, my skin was clearing up. What a bonus!!! After a couple of years my teenage sons who also suffered from horrible acne, also decided to make the change to a primal lifestyle. They too happily lost weight and their skin cleared up. I was at the grocery a few days ago and the clerk commented on one of my son’s weight loss. But she was really blown away by how beautiful his skin is now. We dont’ have a huge amount of probiotics in our diet. But we are grain free and kimchee is always in my fridge. We love experimenting with new things.

  131. Di says

    Hello Chris, all the way from Australia!
    Firstly, I value greatly your posts as someone who is incredibly interested in wholistic healing. in light of your post, I thought you would like to know about my 22 year old daughter who has had type 1 diabetes for 11 years now and I am moved to write to you after reading this amazing post. She has necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum which is typical to diabetes. Considering the amount of sugar sadly that she must consume, this makes so much sense. Thought you may like to know about the condition to help your research just in case you hadn’t heard of it. It is still rare even in the diabetic community.

    Thank-you for all you do. Kind regards from Di in Melbourne.

  132. Nichole says

    I have struggled with acne all of my life (now in my late 20’s) and have tried everything from Proactive, Cetaphil, Clinique (you name it for over the counter cleansers and moisturizers) as well as prescription topicals and pills. Nothing has consistently worked for me. I have been eating Paleo/Primal now for about 8 months and have seen a slight improvement (although I am not always perfect with my eating). I started taking probiotics a little over a month ago, along with Vitamin D + Calcium, and I have seen a huge improvement! My skin is almost completely clear now and I seriously think the probiotics have made all the difference. I was on prescription antibiotics for years (way too long!) for my acne which I’m sure completely screwed up my gut flora. I think doctors need to start recommending probiotics as treatment for acne.

  133. Heather says

    I have been following paleo somewhat for about 6 months now and recently decided to get more strict with the Whole30. I am 40 years old and have lots of brown spots as well as the vitiligo which I absolutely hate and have been to a dermatologist for as we’ll as used creams for but nothing worked. However, I noticed that the brown spots are peeling off now. I would love to attribute this to Paleo and share with my friends that suffer from the same thing if it truly is making a positive impact like this.I have not noticed a difference in the white spots but really have looked at them too much. Perhaps after the whole30 I will notice something or is it even possible for them to go away?

  134. Jonathan says

    Chris,

    On the topic of gut health, I have a quick question about HCL supplementation. When I use HCL capsules I get a sensation of heaviness and discomfort. Could this mean that my stomach lining is damaged and the HCL is irritating it. I’d hate to stop using it because it does seem to alleviate my heartburn quite a bit. I’m also currently drinking bone broth daily to help rebuild the gut lining.

    Thanks very much, Chris. I appreciate all the helpful advice you have provided.

  135. says

    Thank you for this article. I look forward to your session at the WAPF conference. As someone who has healed chronic hives by healing the gut, I know first hand the lack of information out there about the connection between skin and the gut, so I was so happy to see this article! It is amazing how the body, and the skin heals when you begin by healing the gut. Again – thanks!

    • Shawn says

      Kerri,

      I am trying to do the same at the moment, though its only been months so far rather than years. I don’t suppose you might have any pointers. At the moment I am actually speculating that probiotics are actually the cause, but wondering if it could be because of a leaky gut. I recently gave in and went to a ND on my own dollar and am awaiting some test results for more ideas. The short of it is it started after I stopped a 8 day raw milk fast. No troubles while on the fast. I think colostrum is helping. Tried no grains, no sugar, no fruit for over a month. Had one dose of coconut kefir the other night and had the hives come back stronger again.

      Would love to hear form Chris too if possible. Thanks!

  136. Jodi King says

    So many of the comments and stories sound just like mine! I have had skin Rashes and skin irritations with No DIAGNOSIS for years! Along with all Skin biopsies and steroid creams, nothing got rid of this until I was gluten free and taking probiotics. I know when I have eaten gluten because within a few days I will have rashes on my elbows.
    Thank you for all the informative education you share and can’t wait to purchase your baby code!

    • Sarah says

      “I know when I have eaten gluten because within a few days I will have rashes on my elbows.” Wow, this is me exactly; it’s comforting finding others in the same boat (though I’m sorry you have it too – damn it’s an ITCHY boat huh?).

      I *wish * I had known this years ago, when mine first started. All those years of damage from a gluten-filled diet, without a clue it could be connected to the rash. It’s so good to see the information disseminating, and knowing the others that will be helped.

  137. says

    I’ve actually been blogging a little bit about my Paleo-and-skin journey has been going at inmyskinnygenes.wordpress.com. I’ve been suffering from several forms of acne since I hit puberty, and it became violently worse when I transitioned from a high protein/low fat bodybuilding regimen to a vegan diet last year.

    I’ve been eating “Paleo” since May, and, while things have improved significantly, my skin is still a mess. I saw the greatest improvement when I was eating Paleo but using estradiol to make up for the fact that I’ve had vegan-induced secondary amenorrhea (I’m blaming veganism, because I’m at normal body fat, and no longer do high intensity exercise OR steady state cardio–yoga works for me!) I was taking the estradiol to compensate for low estrogen and slightly low T3…but I hate the idea of putting anything synthetic into my body. Of course, the second I stopped taking the drug, my old skin problems flared.

    I’m eating all the right things–bone broth, liver, egg yolks, raw sauerkraut and kombucha (not at the same time), coconut, etc., etc. and avoiding excess sugars–even from fruit. At this point, I don’t even know what to do to help regulate the ol’ hormones, fix my gut, and get my skin to give me a break.

    Anyone have any thoughts? (Also, I’m trying the oil cleansing method, and it’s is making things EXPONENTIALLY worse, although I’m going to stick with it for another week or so and see if things get any better…)

    • Finndian says

      Interesting, my high intensity workout was slowly killing me. Here I thought I was doing a good thing. It started with sweating out all my water soluble vitamins and mineral and not replacing them at the volume I was losing them and then not having the appropriate amount of proteins especially BCAA’s in order to repair the musculature in a timely fashion before I was at it breaking it down again. I’m wondering if you have lingering protein deficiencies brought on by all that high intensity workout you did.

      High dose Branch Chain Amino Acids (10 grams) taken with P5P before and after a workout and then again before bed has restored me to my old self. You may have over trained until your body couldn’t handle it anymore like I did and then taking away the biggest source of BCAA’s with the vegan diet. Perhaps try high dose BCAA’s for a month since you may have lingering deficiency, see how it effects you and your skin. Sometimes when we think we are fixing a problem we are actually making it worse especially when we start these exclusionary diets… I was red meat free for years not good when muscle is being broken down daily.

      Studies show that estrogen Controls Branched-Chain Amino Acid Catabolism in Female Rats. Whether that works with women as well remains to be seen but meager stores of BCAA’s could be a reason your body is regulating your estrogen in order to spare them?

      • says

        I’ll definitely look into that! When I was training for a fitness competition, I was eating a lot of lean meat and supplementing with BCAAs after the crazy workouts…but I stopped once I started the vegan-and-yoga thing.

        Thanks for sharing your experience!

      • says

        Thanks, Allison–I’ll definitely investigate. I really want to heal my body, and i just couldn’t see the value of eating real food but then shoving manmade drugs down my throat afterward…

      • says

        Thanks for the link!! I thought maybe I was just going crazy…It kills me that I can’t just do something and get the same amazing results as everyone else, but I guess that’s also sort of the beauty of being human, right?

  138. Susan says

    I am a RN that works with young infants. A fairly substantial number of infants on formula have digestive difficulties with it and a very high percentage of these kids also have skin problems. However, I was most interested in your article from a veterinary standpoint. After over a year of trying dozens of dog foods including hypoallergenic varieties, my pup was diagnosed with IBD. Also during this time we battled “hot spots” almost constantly and had a difficult to conquer skin staph infection. Thanks to a well informed vet tech, we put him on a full meat diet and both the digestive and skin issues were reduced by 90%! Is also on a low dose of Flagyl so am interested in the new drug for psoriasis – will ask my vet about the availability for dogs.

    • Beth says

      The trend toward infant formula is tragic with the consequences you mention being the tip of the iceberg with lifelong problems. I wish more people knew about the importance of breast feeding, the importance of the mom’s diet and gut flora, and the alternative of homemade formula using the Weston A. Price recipe and corresponding kit available from Radiant Life Catalog.

      • Beth says

        Susan, do you know about the fantastic new book called Super Nutrition for Babies, by Katherine Erlich, MD? It would be a life-changing book for your patients. It is rich with information, and it includes the homemade formula I mentioned.

  139. says

    I have been doing the autoimmune protocol for a couple months and I am not surprised that my skin is the best it has ever been. Super soft and no more acne. I don’t wash or moisturize my face anymore with anything except occasional coconut oil. Its amazing! I am a firm believer that skin health reflects gut health.

    Mickey

  140. Nita says

    Did you hear this report on NPR the other day? http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/10/15/162821580/doctors-strike-mutating-bacteria-in-teen-acne-battle Fascinating. They are linking acne with a surface bacteria, fight it with anti bacterial ointments, but of course the bacteria is becoming resistant, so they don’t know what to do! Now they are working on creating a virus that will break the membrane and thus destroy the bacteria. I would not even call myself a layman scientist, but this sounds very risky to me.

    The discussion in the comments section is interesting, too. Lots of ancestral nutrition/diet.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Topical probiotics have been shown to be useful in some studies, and I just heard a report recently (on NPR, in fact) on a study where researchers used a probiotic nasal spray to successfully treat sinusitis in mice.

  141. says

    Thanks for this article Chris! I can definitely say that my gut and digestion have a big impact on my skin.

    I’ve had seborrheic dermatitis basically since infancy, acne since puberty, then developed gut problems at 20 (9 years ago). I learned to treat my gut issues with diet, and more recently, I figured out which paleo foods trigger acne – unfortunately they’re fruits, nuts, and dark chocolate. I’m trying to heal my gut barrier so I can someday re-introduce them!

    I still have the dermatitis and haven’t figured out what, (if any?) foods might contribute to that. Commenters – any ideas? I liked the cleansing with oil and honey idea above. I’ve had good short-term success with honey. I’ll have to try adding oil to my regime. Unfortunately the honey only works if I do it daily, which is a bummer when it comes to scalp dermatitis…

    • branko7171 says

      Bacon, mayonaise, chedar etc. cause my dermatitis to flare up. So I avoid those and all greasy food (anything that contains vegetable oil).

    • branko7171 says

      Hey, Chris. I’ve connected my seborrheic dermatitis with greasy food. So I avoid mayonaise, chedar, bacon and anything with vegetable oil.

  142. Keri says

    Chris-
    I know I have a bit of dysbiosis going on, and I have been eating homemade yogurt and fermented carrots with very slight improvement. However, when I have kefir, I *always* get some cystic acne. as well as constipation for a couple days. I don’t notice any signs of dairy intolerance with other forms of dairy. Could this be a bit of die-off from the kefir, or instead a sign I should lay off the kefir?

    • says

      When I tried homemade raw-milk kefir for my IBS made from A1-beta casein milk, my issues always got worse including constipation. I don’t think the fermentation was enough to adequately break down the opioid in this type of casein. I had much better luck using kefir made from A2 sources like goat milk or Jersey milk.

      That said, only 1% of bacteria in fermented products makes it to the intestines assuming you have proper levels of stomach acid and if you don’t, you have bigger problems to deal with. So while I personally consume fermented foods and recommend them for most, I’m afraid you’re going to wait a long time before they resolve your issues, if ever. You will have to find a probiotic and prebiotic that works for you and some sort of antibacterial if you have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

    • Chris Kresser says

      It’s a tough call in that situation. I had severe reactions to kefir early on, but I chose to stick with it because I had confidence it would help me over the long term. I literally started out with 1 teaspoon a day, and it took me about 6-7 months to get to where I could tolerate 1/2 cup. Now I can drink as much as I want without any ill effects. If you’re willing to be this methodical about it, you could continue. Otherwise it might be best to remove it for a while.

      • Keri says

        Thanks for the reply! I live in Latvia, so I’m not sure if the kefir is a1 or a2 type, but kefir is definitely abundant here, so I might try a bit at a time and build up as you did. I’m taking ACV and HCL to help with the stomach acid issue (recovering longtime Prilosec user), and I will also try to eat the dairy apart from other meals to see if that helps. As far as probiotic supplements go, if they are taken around the same time bitter/ACV/HCl are taken, do you think this makes a difference in their effectiveness? I’ve read that increased acidity from ACV/HCl can clobber the bacteria from the pills, but it would seem that I need the extra acid to help digest them as well.

  143. mbdonner says

    I have been struggling with psoriasis for years. I went Paleo a few years ago and saw a dramatic 60% improvement. Went to see Chris (luckily, I’m very close by) and he put me on an immune system diet, just a few modifications of my existing paleo diet. My skin is at about 80-90% normal now. When I “cheat”, I see it within a few days.

  144. says

    2 YEARS AGO I UNDERWENT A SURGICAL PROCEEDURE WHEREBY 9 INCHES OF MY INTESTINES WERE REMOVED. I HAD A COLOSTOMY, WHICH WAS REVERSED AFTER 5 MONTHS. I HAVE SO MUCH GUT PROBLEMS. JUST RECENTLY I STARTED TAKING PROBIOTICS, ANTIOXIDANTS, YOGURT, NUTRIENTS UP THE YING YANG. I NOTICED SOMETHING DIFFERENT IN MY SKIN. I USE TO GET LITTLE BUBBLES ON MY ARMS THAT SEEM TO RUPTURE FROM THE SUNLIGHT, SO I THOUGHT. THEY HAVE ALL BUT DISSAPPEARED; I ALSO HAVE THESE WHITE SPOTS ALL OVER MY SKIN, WHICH I AFFECTIONATELY REFER TO AS FAT, COMING TO THE SURFACE. I AM WATCHING TO SEE IF THIS TOO WILL DISSAPPEAR. I KNOW MY DIET SUCKS, I CAN’T SEEM TO CONTROL MY EATING, AND MY STOMACH IS TERRIBLY GERGILLY AND GASEOUS; SO MUCH SO I FEEL MY INTESTINES EXPAND. IT’S PAINFUL. I SEE HOW THE PROBIOTICS IS MY SALVATION ON THIS SCORE. I AM SCHEDULED TO HAVE, (VSG) BY-PASS SURGERY, WILL THIS CAUSE ADDITIONAL PROBLEMS FOR ME?

  145. Cheryl says

    I thought the Small Intestine was packed with bacteria (both beneficial and opportunistic) and wonder why you say (see below) that it “should normally be sterile.”

    “A recent report indicated that small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a condition involving inappropriate presence of bacteria in the small intestine (which should normally be sterile), is 10 times more prevalent in people with acne rosacea than in healthy controls, and that correction of SIBO in these individuals led to marked clinical improvement.”

      • says

        True, but not sterile either. Commensal gut flora is not evenly distributed throughout our digestive tract. In the stomach and duodenum, the number of cells per gram of contents is much less than what is found in our colon. Here, commensal gut flora ranges from 10 to 1,000 cells per gram of contents.

        Further down the digestive tract, bacterial counts progressively increase reaching their highest counts in the colon where numbers range from between 10 to the power of 11 to 10 to the power of 12 cells per gram of contents.

        • Chris Kresser says

          Yes, I overstated the case with the word “sterile” (which I’ll change now). But the amount of bacteria in the stomach and duodenum is orders of magnitude smaller, as you pointed out.

          • says

            Hi Chris,

            I hope you didn’t take my suggestion the wrong way. I just want people to understand how pivotal these gut microbes are to the health of the enterocytes lining the small intestine. While the state of our commensal colonic gut flora is very important, I feel it’s crucial to stress how the state of the friendly bacteria that reside in the small intestine is equally important. Without them proper digestion is impossible.

  146. JJ says

    One more thing..I have a white tongue which is I am guessing (no doctor has ever said anything to me about it), thrush or a candida overgrowth. I do crave sweet things over salty. I don’t drink sodas daily, but do drink them more than twice weekly. I don’t seem to digest beef very easily. I like eating vegetables and wish I could be a vegetarian or just eat fish–and don’t eat protein often enough–not even daily. When I am blocked up, I may eat one day and skip eating at all on the next.

  147. Zavia says

    Hi Chris, love your work. Despite trying EVERYTHING, nothing ultimately has worked at clearing hormonal acne. Eliminating cooked dairy helped immensely, and I’m six months into raw (75%) vegetarian diet now (i was a mostly raw meat eater for well over a year before switching), which made no difference in acne but has other benefits. Low sugar, avoid grains, avoid all oils except cold pressed olive, organic produce, focus on greens, organic coffee enemas, filtered water, exercise 5-6 times a week, yadda yadda doing everything right but still. Break. Out. Have probioticked for months and months and months, eat fermented foods yet STILL. Started maca for a week on the advice of another vegetarian and two weeks after stopping am still recovering from one of the worst flare ups I’ve had in awhile. However, I am well aware of the likely damage from having taken a prophylactic antibiotic for over a decade for post-coital urinary tract infections, which finally seems to have been corrected by adjusting pH and taking MSM crystals to rebuild tissue. However, I’ve been dealing with acne since late teens (43 now), and while it’s better than ever, this latest setback is depressing. Maybe it’s just genetic damage? Both my grandmother and mother gestated with a heavy sugared diet and both have been overweight and diabetic for most of their lives and altho I was never overweight, I realized in my 30s that I was having symptoms of insulin resistance and made changes. I’m well-versed in alternative approaches and have had some success but not with this. Any advice?

  148. JJ says

    I might add that I am also insulin resistant and have been diagnosed with a fatty liver. I lost my gallbladder in an emergency surgery due to gallstones which I did not know were that bad. I have had hormonal problems including removal of an ovarian cyst. My feet and legs have nerve damage due to spinal surgery. I don’t know if the numbness and lack of feeling to the top layer of skin is due to this or to something else. I have very low energy. I am in post menopause and in my late 50’s. Thank you for your help and time taken to read this.

  149. says

    I’ve been a pretty regular user of OXY 10(benzoyl peroxide) ever since my teens. I am now 61 years old. As a child I was on antibiotics frequently for chronic ear infections (probably actually due to dairy/food sensitivities/…);as a young woman for many years I fought UTIs almost never accompanied by positive urinalysis tests & again was frequently on antibiotics (probably UTIs caused again by inflammation due to food sensitivities + leaky gut). Up until menopause at age 55, I was able to keep my face break-outs under control, but since menopause my face has been a mess. Frequent break-outs with white heads & nothing seems to help, including heavy-duty prescription topicals from the dermatologist. I have been seeing a TCM/functional medicine specialist for 4-5 years. We’ve tried many TCM formulas, putting me on an insulin resistance diet (mostly protein & vegetables with limited carbohydrates). The I.R. diet has definitely made me feel better; probably PCOS involved, too — history of infertility, miscarriages, heavy body hair especially on face, but my face acne continues. My alternative health practitioner has of late had me tested for food sensitivities & for 4 months I have been on a fairly restrictive food rotation diet; after 6 months I will reintroduce foods I am sensitive to gradually. My alternative practitioner also now has me on aloe vera & L-glutamine — titrating up to bowel resistance & 400 mg./day. + probiotics on a rotation basis every evening(right now I take 2 capsules/day) + HCL Betaine(2-3 capsules with each meal). The acne break-outs are still occurring although maybe less frequently & less intensely? ——- Is it possible that my gut is so messed up/leaky that its going to take years to straighten it out &/OR is it possible that as I get older my hormones will even out & my skin will resolve?

  150. JJ says

    I have had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis since age 15 and been treated with synthroid for hypothyroidism. In my mid-twenties, I began to suffer from Raynaud’s disease in my hands and feet. At one point, the bottoms of my toes were blackened with blood that seemed to be drawn to the surface. The doctors were baffled and put me on a medication called Dibenzyline. This cleared it up after a while. But I have continued to suffer from the circulation problem. Several years ago, I started to develop vitiligo. The doctor has done nothing to treat me. In fact, I diagnosed myself–the internist did not identify it. My skin has been especially itchy lately (all over) and I have continued to suffer more hairloss. I gained much weight very quickly about 20 years ago and have been unable to lose it despite hardly eating. My stomach was very swollen for a long time. The food would not move through my intestines, always causing constipation. The blockage is compounded by scar tissue from three surgeries. I have developed acid reflux. Even eating and drinking liquids at the same meal is problematical if I have been constipated. I am unable to control my elimination function. I suffer from depression. I am so frustrated because I have been unable to solve my problems and receive no real help from the doctors. I have been to a nutritionist in the past and still not received adequate assistance for solving my gut health problems. Please help if you can make any suggestions. I am going to go to the links suggested above. I would be forever grateful for your assistance. Thanks.

    • finndian says

      I suffered for over 8 years with all those symptoms as well. Finally forced myself to try Armour because of all the good stories I’ve read online. Suddenly almost a decade of hypo symptoms gone in a few months despite trying synthyroid and Levoxyl with and without time release T3.

      Must be the T1, T2, T3 and T4 thats in Armour. Its been the final missing piece to restore my health. Depression, weight gain, constipation, dry itchy skin, circulation… all undertreated hypothyroid symptoms.

      • JJ says

        Thank you for your input. Are you taking any additional supplements, such as B12, Zinc, Vitamin D?
        Years ago, a doctor recommended added selenium to my diet also.

        I am really suffering so much with the gut problem. I don’t know what to eat because of the poor digestion. Food seems to sit in my gut and not move at all. Then I literally get backed up like a clogged pipe and can not eat with it coming up the other way because of the inability to move my bowels.

        Yes, I do suffer greatly from the brain fog and have been getting more hard spots on my skin.
        It sounds like the Paleo diet would be a good avenue to take. Years ago I was on the diet where meat was eaten primarily. It was before the South Beach and Atkin’s Diet. It was the Scarsdale Diet. I did lose weight with it successfully (but was not nearly as overweight as I am now). Also the Weight Watchers Diet worked in the past. But I feel like I need a change in my way of living..not just another diet. It is kind of like a chicken and the egg type of thing. Which came first? How are others coping with their diets and Hashimoto’s? Thanks again for this excellent forum.

  151. Carol bade says

    This was a great article. I have enjoyed almost flawless skin until I hit my 60’s. I have a large number of seborrheic keratosis spots showing up. Not to mention these red blood blisters as well as skin tags….it ain’t easy getting older! My dermatologist says this is the natural part of aging, and there is nothing I can do or stop doing to affect a change in my skin. I have not noticed my diet having any affect on my skin. I am gluten free and have been for several years. I had little to no beneficial bacteria for an unknown period which has been corrected. Any ideas?

  152. Sandra says

    Absolutely – healing gut = healing skin! I’ve been eating Paleo for 10 months now. I saw some improvement farily quickly. However, the month that I committed to absolutely no dairy and went on a daily fiber supplement to really clean up my gut…that was the month it completely cleared up! Now I only take the fiber supplement when I don’t eat as well as I should (cheat).

  153. Fiona Weir says

    My sister is severely incapaciated by scleroderma and Renauds syndrome. Could her gut condition be influencing these diseases, the same as other skin conditions, or is she suffering purely from an autoimmune deficiency? I should be extremely grateful for your reply and any recommendations.

  154. says

    Chris,

    Good post. I’ve been blogging on the link between leaky gut, endotoxemia and various health disorders on http://www.syontix.com for the last month or so.

    There is one correction I would make to your post, however. While it is true that compared to the colon, the small intestine can be considered mostly sterile, it really isn’t completely devoid of bacteria. Lactobacillus species inhabit the lumen and the mucus layer mediating gut barrier function by regulating the growth and health of the enterocytes forming the villi as well as preventing the colonization of same with pathogens.

    As I explain in my post “The Gut-Brain Axis: How Endotoxemia and “Leaky Gut” Impact the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis” and, “Why Do I Feel So Blue? The Role of Endotoxemia and Leaky Gut in the Cause of Major Depression”, inflammation will affect adrenal function, alter tyryptophan and serotonin levels in the brain and increase inflammation in the liver and throughout the body. The skin, like insomnia, anxiety, depression, impaired glucose control, fatty liver—are all manifestations of this process.

    Before I cured myself of irritable bowel syndrome by resolving my small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), rosacea was a constant companion. Once my small intestinal dysbiosis went away, so too my skin issues. Giving up gluten grains, along with prebiotic/probiotic supplementation, was part of this whole process and also resolved acne outbreaks along with much else.

    As you know, gluten trashes the small intestine via its inflammatory effect on enterocytes, by increasing leaky gut via its effects on zonulin signaling and by predisposing to SIBO by impairing peristalsis through gluten opioid peptides and adenosine. As I wrote in part seven of my SIBO series, plant lectins like wheat germ agglutinin have a directly toxic effect on beneficial gram-positive bacteria like Lactobacillus leaving the gut open to colonization by gram-negative bacteria.

    It is therefore not at all surprising that so many of those commenting here have seen improvements in their skin when switching to a Paleo diet and supplementing with probiotics. Without proper gut barrier function health, both physical and mental, is impossible.

  155. Billy Mitchell says

    Cool article Chris,

    For the longest time I believed diet had nothing to do with the skin (acne specifically). My doc would always tell me growing up… “It’s hereditary. It’s your hormones.” But I noticed it would flare up the worst 3-4 days after my overindulgence of pasteurized milk or sugary foods. I don’t break out like I did in my teens, but I certainly don’t eat the same way. No doubt in my mind now that those morning and evening bowls of lucky charms and all the junk food messed with my skin.

    What’s the explanation for why the breakouts are the worst during young adulthood?

  156. Trudy says

    Unfortunately, since I started eating Paleo 3 or 4 months ago, my skin has gotten worse. :-( I have eliminated all gluten / grains and significantly reduced my sugar and eat very “clean”. I have struggled with seborrhea dermatitis all my life… and I have started a major flare up since starting this diet (had it under control for a couple of years). My acne has also gotten worse the last month or two. I drink homemade raw kefir daily, but it doesn’t seem to help. (note that I consumed pasteurized dairy before this diet and didn’t seem to have major issues- so I’m not sure if dairy is to blame for my flare-up) Everything else has improved health-wise (weight loss, more energy, etc)- just my skin has worsened- and my hair is falling out fairly rapidly. I do have a copper IUD that I’ve had for 4 1/2 years– I’m planning on getting it removed soon to see if there’s any improvement (perhaps a copper / zinc imbalance??). If that doesn’t help, then I’ll see a naturopath for possible allergy testing. One final thought is that I’m exercising quite a bit more regularly since I started the diet – which means more sweat, in hot/ humid Florida. So perhaps that’s contributing to my flare-ups as well. Love the Paleo diet- just hope I can get to the bottom of my skin issues soon. So frustrating!

    • Allison says

      Zinc is incredibly important in skin health. It’s fairly easy to get the copper:zinc testing, usually plasma zinc and serum copper are best (for some reason the tubes used for serum zinc alter the results, meaning plasma zinc is more reliable….according to doctors that specialise in treating this).

      Zinc is needed for 200+ bodily reactions so it is important to get it checked out if you suspect a problem.

      Good luck :)

    • Honora says

      Looked into why serum zinc levels are looked at with disfavour and found the answer on this site.
      http://www.labnet.health.nz/resources/file/biochemistry-specialist/Pl%20Zn%20interpretation.pdf

      Red blood cells contain 80% of the blood’s zinc so when the blood clots in the tube, some of the zinc is released into the serum, artificially elevating it by approx 16%. The samples that provide plasma for testing zinc levels don’t clot as fibrinogen is removed from the serum by the anticoagulant (in this case, lithium heparin).

      • finndian says

        ANY blood test where the tourniquet is left on while blood is being collected in tubes is suspect. This restriction of blood causes what is called hemo-concentration and will skew mineral level results.

        I can’t believe how many collection places will leave the darn thing on well into the second tube. I reach up and say “Ouch, that thing is pinching me” and pull it off as soon as I see blood flow.

        DO NOT LET UNTRAINED MEDICAL PERSONNEL RUIN YOUR BLOOD TEST RESULTS… REMOVE THE TOURNIQUET!!

          • finndian says

            But this tourniquet thing is so prevalent. I mean doctors don’t even know correct procedure most of the time. I do a red blood cell mineral analysis every 6 months or so to spot and cure deficiencies and I rely on the accuracy of that test. I eat better than anyone I know and I still come up with weird deficiencies.

            • Honora says

              That must be frustrating not being able to rely on your test results. Doctors don’t know that much about phlebotomy. Best to get a qualified phlebotomist to do it – each to their own after all. Probably worthwhile finding some experienced and intelligent full-time phlebotomist you can explain your concerns to and making sure they always do your tests from the same site under the same conditions at the same time of day and in with you in the same posture e.g. recumbant versus sitting and ensuring they allow the skin prep to fully dry.

              Here’s a study saying there is less haemoconcentration if the blood is obtained distally as opposed to the cubital fossa and surprisingly, releasing the tourniquet once the flow is establish fails to prevent haemoconcentration from skewing results. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/498522

    • Susie says

      Trudy, I had similar problems. I think it’s the raw kefir. I never had any problems with pasteurized yoghurt or kefir either, but for some reason raw dairy makes my skin and hormones go insane. I tried a few times to incorporate it into my diet because everyone talks about how great it is, and I felt lucky to even be able to get raw dairy, but it’s like poison for my body. Everyone I ever asked about it says that there simply is no information out there about raw dairy and it’s effects. My theory is that pasteurization somehow denatures the hormones and proteins so that they become more digestible. After all, cooking meat denatures the proteins so that they can be digested more easily, why should it be different with milk? In any case, I’ve cut out dairy altogether, and my hormones went back to normal. Also, if your hair is falling out, it might be because you are going too low carb. My hair started to fall out too, and I was feeling stressed all the time for no reason, and it was because my adrenals were burned out from thinking that I was starving for so long. I’ve heard a lot of women had the same effect. For some reason, I think women need more carbs than men. Also, your seborrhea is definitely going to flare up in hot humidity. Have you eliminated alcohol? That aggravates it a lot. I’ve also struggled with seborrhea for years. I didn’t drink for a few months, and it kind of went dormant, and then when I started drinking again, it would flare up and itch a lot. Drying soap also irritates it, even the natural stuff. Try oil cleansing instead. That made a huge difference for me. If you don’t want to feel too oily, then put the oil on before you get in the shower, and let the water rinse off the excess. Once you towel dry, you won’t feel oily at all. Your skin just soaks it all up.

  157. Jodie Friend says

    I’m female, 51. I began having acne when I was 11 years old. I first got sick in about 1989 with CFS-type symptoms. 4 years ago I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s, Hashimoto’s and Fibromyalgia. I now have a super great progressive ND (Dr. Werner Vosloo) at the Chronicity and Restorative Health Clinic in Lake Oswego. Unfortunately, a lot of damage has already been done. My diet consists mostly of meat and veggies, but my body still doesn’t absorb protein well; I’m still very weak and my muscle tone is all but gone, even though I actually feel better than I have for some time (thanks to Dr. Vosloo). I believe through reading your articles and other research that leaky gut has played a large part in my illness from the very beginning. I wonder if you think that I could actually be truly healed by treating what I believe to be leaky gut – and for how many years would I have strictly follow a leaky-gut diet?

    • Allison says

      Hi Jodie
      If you have three autoimmune diseases, diet change is a lifetime change that you need to be considering. Otherwise, if you start eating the inflammatory foods again, you will just go back to where you start from. It’s daunting, but sometimes big changes are the only way to go.
      Best wishes,
      Allison

      • Jodie Friend says

        Thank you Allison. I should have also mentioned that I can’t hold any water in my body. I drink salt water 2-3 times per day in order to be able to drink a glass of water and hold it in. I guess at this point this could be from a number of things, but I’m wondering if leaky gut has something to do with it. I know that low adrenal function plays a part.

  158. Fallpinn says

    Call it leaky skin syndrome if you’d like but what it really is is OPEN PORES. I had gut dysfunction for half my life because of undiagnosed food allergies and the havoc it wrought…. gut inflammation, bacterial flora imbalances and nutritional deficiencies. The worse I felt the worse my adult acne was. I could not get anything on my face even other peoples facial oils from a phone handset or else I’d break out.

    The greatest discovery I stumbled across was one of those BODY WATER SENSING SCALES. I bought one primarily to track my body fat which is what it is its main function. The BODY WATER feature is a throw away feature listed on the box. When I got on that and the results showed drastically low intracellular body water levels I was skeptical but kept my eye on it. When I felt my worst the scale showed even lower levels of body water. When I felt good and had a glow (which was rare) I was high in body water.

    I could clearly see that when I was hydrated that the skin was plump and the pores looked diminished because the surface of the skin was engorged with water. The light reflected of the surface of my skin differently because it was smoother. When I was feeling ill the pores were open simply because the water wasn’t in the cells as it should be and the facial skin sagged and looked rough.

    This is how I discovered how disrupted my electrolytes were because of the gut inflammation that I’d had for so long. Drinking loads of water did nothing and probably made things worse by diluting already low electrolytes. I finally experimented and took high dose magnesium glycinate, potassium and some sodium and sat in a sauna for a short time. I came out and looked in the mirror and amazingly the pores had fully closed and had expelled their contents! I had hundreds of tiny white dots all over my face that smeared when I touched them.

    The scale confirmed that water had drastically shifted from outside the cells INTO the cells. Body water shifted from 51% percent to near normal 60% in under an hour.

    I can’t stress enough the importance of keeping an eye on electrolytes if you are dealing with gut dysfunction… and the importance of owning one of these less than $50 body water sensing scales (I’ve had 2 different brands and both worked great). There are tools out there that will illuminate the mystery of what exactly your body is doing to deal with imbalances… you just have to seek them out. It will save your skin while you deal with the healing of your gut!

    LEAKY SKIN = OPEN PORES AND CELLULAR DEHYDRATION

    • Jodie Friend says

      Fallpinn…

      I suffer from dehydration. I am under the careful care of a good naturopath in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and he tries to keep me hydrated with IV fluids. Unfortunately, it’s not long before the water is out of my body. I drink saltwater 2-3 times per day, but I don’t think I’m taking magnesium right now (just everything else under the sun). It’s VERY difficult to keep a glass of water in my veins. Where do I purchase a Body Water Sensing Scale? And do you have any tips? Thank you.

      • Fallpinn says

        Costco has a nice one. http://www.costco.com/Diagnostic-Scale-by-beurer.product.11763326.html and you can find one by Soehnle online for about the same price.

        Drinking saltwater so often is not a good idea. You are throwing off all the other electrolytes that allow the water to actually enter the cells and stay there. Excessive sodium drastically lowers your magnesium levels and when that happens potassium falls as well. You end up with an imbalance of all the 3 electrolytes you need for the “sodium/potassium pump” of cells to operate efficiently. This active transport mechanism allows water into your cells. Magnesium provides the ATP… or cellular energy to run this cellular ‘pump’. Here’s a little animation of how fluid enters and stays in the cells. Press play.

        http://nutrition.jbpub.com/resources/animations.cfm?id=27&debug=0

        What I did was got LOW SODIUM V8 juice which is loaded with potassium. One glass is almost 25% of the RDA. First get the scale and see what your baseline body water is… if you’re like me I was about 50% body water. It should be about 60%.

        You can start by experimenting with drinking a few glasses of V8 and dosing with a high quality magnesium like Magnesium Glycinate… you may be taking Mag oxide in a multi but this oxide form is almost totally un-absorbable. I started with 600mg of magnesium and 3 servings of V8 and gave it an hour and saw my body water had shifted dramatically into the cells… which is what this cheap little scale is measuring amazingly enough. My muscle tone changed and my face filled up instead of sagged… it was amazing.

        My cells were starved for magnesium and every time I took it the scales body water level reacted favorably. My doctor was amazed at my self diagnosis with the use of this scale. He gave me magnesium IV’s for a short time and I keep up with V8 juice…. but this chronic dehydration is over.

        Try it and see what the right combination of electrolytes is for you. I would stop this salt gulping while you are doing this…just use it normally. I really believe you’ll be able to teach your doctor a little something about hydration at a cellular level and how useful this type of scale really is!

        What type of thyroid hormone are you on?

        • Jodie Friend says

          Thank you Fallpinn…

          I will try the magnesium, although I’ve taken it for years in the past. I have a concern with starting a regimen of V-8 because of tomatoes being in the ‘nightshade’ family…isn’t that on the list of Paleo no-no’s? I really appreciate your input; when I think about my water situation I realize how serious it is. I’ve just lived with it for so long it’s a part of my life. I also remember reading somewhere that people with CFS shouldn’t take potassium, but I can’t remember the reason why. If your formula helps me hydrate, I’m all for it. Thank you again!

          • Fallpinn says

            There are many types of magnesium all with varying amounts of absorbability… so a low as 10%. Magnesium Glycinate and a powdered mix called “natural calm” works best for me. Skip the V8 and take potassium supplements but remember that although potassium may be listed at 99mg on the bottle that is only 3% of the RDA of potassium. You’ll have to take 23 potassium pills to equal the amount of potassium in 3 eight once glasses of low sodium V8 juice… you’ll still be 10 pills short of making the RDA. You could instead eat a few bananas to make up the short fall. The scale is the what will tell you what works best.

            When I got dehydrated my PH would go extremely acidic which is a perfect situation for disease to take hold… so yes, a very serious situation.

        • Jodie Friend says

          BTW… I once was given a prescription for potassium, but it made me feel terrible ( off balance, and like I was drunk or something).

          My thyroid is carefully monitored regularly. I am currently taking T3/T4 (30/20) compounded for me at a compounding pharmacy, plus 5 mcg of Cytomel.

          • Fallpinn says

            If your dehydration has something to do with all this salt driving down your magnesium… since magnesium and potassium go hand in hand…. replacing potassium alone doesn’t help people who are also magnesium deficient. Without enough magnesium, the body is unable to metabolize potassium and deliver it to the cells.

            In your case taking high dose potassium without magnesium may have highlighted a possible existing magnesium deficiency. Some websites say that magnesium deficiency can cause light headedness, dizziness and numbness.

            Good luck

    • Jodie says

      Hi Fallpinn:

      Thank you so much for forwarding the Groupon to me. I was JUST getting ready to order the hydration monitoring scale (what a great price), when I thought I should check the scale I bought at Walmart 2 years ago for $35. My scale actually tracks hydration…yay! I never knew…I’m so glad I found your post. My hydration level is @ 53%. I’m going to go back and start taking my potassium again, along with magnesium glycinate and see what happens. I’m also going to start drinking alkaline water (Kangen) in a week or two. Thanks again…

  159. says

    YES! Through trial and error, the elimination of dairy, gluten, nuts and bananas (go figure?) have helped with my cystic acne tremendously and certainly more so than any conventional treatment I have tried over the past 26 years. I will say, though, it took a good year after the elimination of gluten before I started to see real results.

    I’ve been on probiotics for at least a decade, but I do wish there was more information out there about which products are most beneficial. The market is flooded now, and I suspect a lot of the products are junk.

  160. Stacie says

    As I am sure everybody here knows, there are probably a gazillion probiotics out there. Can anyone recommend a good one? I have been eating low-carb for over two years now, and asthma and skin problems have not improved. I only drink raw milk, buy pastured eggs, and try to eat as healthy as I can. Maybe I need a probiotic.

    P.S. who is Dr. K?

    • Sarah says

      Dr. K is Dr. Kharrazian and he wrote Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests are Normal. His site is http://www.thyroidbook.com. I have been hypothyroid/Hashi for nine years and just recently read this book. It has truly opened my eyes and will hopefully lead to healing!

  161. Sama says

    Chris, I am a type one diabetic and have been Paleo for the last 3 months. I notice my skin is worse when I get blood sugar swings, I take a probiotic by Custom Probiotics with 50 billion microorganisms/capsule. Is there one in particular or a strength you recommend? Thank you for this great article.

  162. amy says

    My 1 1/2 yr son got got excema really bad a t the beginning of summer. All summer long it got worse. I remembered when he was an infant he ate egg yolks three separate times and each time vomited until there was nothing left to vomit and was very lethargic afterwords. So, we did not give him eggs until about the beginning of the summer. he ate them in baked goods and pancakes though. He has always had dry skin. Finally, at the end of August I eliminated wheat and eggs(I have a wheat allergy). We also did start giving him raw probiotics. His excema is almost gone. he still has really dry skin. He still has little flair ups of excema. Oh, ans after 5 1/2 weeks of being egg free we gave him eggs for two days to see what would happen and he got read and starting itching again. So, no eggs. I am wanting to have him allergy tested for all major allergens. What type of test would you recommend and why? I just want to know what I can safely feed him. I have also considered raw dairy. We use it sometimes…

    • matt says

      Hi Amy

      Is your son reacting to the egg yolk or the whites?
      Or have you been feeding him the whole egg?
      I particularly react to the egg white portion but not so with the yolk.

  163. says

    When I jumped back on the Atkins bandwagon (for the umpteenth time) in August, I discovered that after 1.5 months my longstanding foot fungus was gone. I was shocked, it was so bad that I used Lotrimin Ultra as my regular foot lotion. Up until reading this I attributed the fungus going away to being in deep ketosis (didn’t really believe it because that never happened before but I had no other explanation). Now I think it’s the probiotic that I’m taking, which I started taking when I changed my eating. I’d never taken a probiotic before but I usually up my vitamins when I’m low carbing and decided to add this to the mix. Now I’m thrilled to know exactly what has cleared up my feet!

  164. says

    I am on a ketogenic diet for about half a year, and have started to make & drink home made kefir about two weeks ago (thanks for your great kefir article!). Unfortunately so far this has not solved any of my skin problems. I always get a big rash when winter is coming, and the doctor subscribes me cortisone and antibiotic cream. I am sick of treating it with cortisone, the skin improves for a few days and than the rash is back as soon as I stop. Now I apply plenty of coconut oil and just wait it out until its over again :(

  165. sarah says

    I have been following a Paleo diet for a year and a half and I am so sorry to say, but my acne has worsened. Not only do I have it on my face, but also my back and shoulders. I am 32 years old and have had acne since I was a teenager, but I had hoped that I wouldn’t be dealing with it to such an extent at my age. I am beyond frustrated because I was hoping my acne would improve on this diet, but instead it has gotten worse. Any ideas as to why? I also have Hashimoto’s and am currently seeking the help of a functional medicine doctor, but we are in the early stages.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Very likely something you are eating more of now that is exacerbating acne. I like to remind my patients that just because a food is on the Paleo diet, doesn’t mean it’s safe for them. What are you eating significantly more of since you switched to Paleo?

      • Sarah says

        I am eating significantly more vegetables and meat, most likely. I have just started the autoimmune protocol. Until this point, I had been comsuming nightshades regularly, nuts and seeds, coffee, alcohol, and eggs. I also went from consuming no coconut products, to using them very regularly in my diet. Could coconut be a factor?

        • Chris Kresser says

          Coconut is high in insoluble fiber, which can irritate an inflamed gut. So that’s a possibility. Nightshades are another likely culprit, especially if you increased your consumption of them on the Paleo diet. Non-starchy vegetables have a lot of insoluble fiber, so eating a lot of them can cause the same issues as coconut can. Finally, if your stomach acid is low (which is very common), you may not be digesting protein very well and that could lead to skin issues.

          • Sarah says

            Yes, I was reading about the insoluble fiber thing yesterday. I also have thought about low stomach acid. I have been suffering from numbness and tingling in my left hand and left food for eight months now. I have had MRI’s, CT scans, and many blood tests by traditional doctors looking for a cause for the numbness. I read about low B12 causing this symptom, even though my B12 levels were “normal” on a conventional blook test. Could there be a stomach acid/B12 connection to this? I meet with my functional medicine doctor on Tuesday to go over the results of all my testing, so I am anxious so see what is revealed.

            • Laurel says

              Sarah – This sounds like the beginning of peripheral neuropathy which I know a lot about. I’ve had it for 18 months now, but am healing. I think mine was caused by gluten intolerance, which lead to a b12 deficiency (among other things and other vitamin deficiencies). You need to address this now before it gets really bad. My B12 levels were 400-500 range when this happened to me. Get yourself some b12 shots asap. They are cheaper on the web than from the pharmacy with an rx from my doctor.

              Make sure you’re not getting any hidden gluten. Do you have any tremors, muscle spasms, memory problems? Read the book “Could It Be B12?”

              • Sarah says

                Hi Laurel,

                Yes, my B12 is in the 400 range. My doctors have checked it three times while I have seen them with the numbness symptoms. At one point it was 700 when I was having symptoms, but the last two times it has been in the low 400 range. I do get fine tremors in my hands at times, a little bit of muscle twitching, and a lot of memory issues. I have finally gone to see a functional medicine doctor and go over all my test results on Tuesday. Hopefully, he will bring up the B12 piece and if not, I will ask him about it. Thanks so much!

                • Chris Kresser says

                  It’s possible to have an active B12 deficiency and test normal on a serum B12 test. Ask your doctor to run a urinary methylmalonic acid (MMA) test. That’s a more accurate way of diagnosing B12 deficiency.

              • Honora says

                Not sure if I read it on this site but in Japan, a B12 result of less than 500 would be considered below range. Our lab does both serum and urinary MMA tests but the urinary sample alone is not acceptable as a test for B12 deficiency. The biochemist involved is a pal so I’ll ask her why that’s the case. Not happy with my B12 levels either and trying to eat liver once a week but the butcher’s is often closed by the time I get there after work. Gone GF as well (of course).

            • says

              Hi Sarah… you sound a lot like me. Acne, Hypothyroid, strange prickles/numbness/tingles/pains in head and sometimes hands. Had all the same tests. I’ve been Paleo two years now and now know what triggers the acne for ME..which is dairy (but i do fine with butter) and coconut cream/manna/butter. I have no issues with coconut oil and can do smaller occasional amounts of coconut milk with no problems. The other thing that triggers it is higher carb loads.
              I’d been low carb on and off for years pre-paleo but mostly did it the wrong way with LC treats and proceesed foods.. When initiating Paleo it was low-carb and was the best thing that ever happened to me, and over time I added in the “safe starches” and all went well for awhile but eventually acne popped up more often, the head prickles/tingles & pains returned, gerd returned and I just didn’t feel as well as I once did. I contemplated the autoimmune protocol but thought I’d give the low carb a run first since it’s less restrictive and after eight weeks all the old symptoms have disapperared again and I haven’t had a pimple on my face since. I would never have considered myself metabolically deranged but I do believe too many carbs do something to my insulin levels that drive my hormones crazy. It’s just better when I limit them. I still eat the fruits and safe starches but portion it so I’m eating around 50gms/day.

            • Allison says

              Hi Sarah,

              Chris has an excellent article on B12 on this site.

              Also the book Could it be B12 is chock full of great info. Basically, the B12 serum test is incredibly misleading – the “normal” ranges need to be revised (they start too low) and also what is measured is actually a mix of different types of B12, not all of them are actually usable by the body.

              A better marker is urinary MMA and also holostranscobalamin.

              If you are already getting the tingling, you need to try to work this out pretty soon as it could be a sign of nerve damage as Laurel mentions.

              Just thought I’d mention that excess B6 (usally via supplementation) can cause the same issue and low sodium could be a culprit. Do you have any other low sodium symptoms like excess urination, low blood pressure or dizziness.

              Best wishes
              Allison

              • Sarah says

                Thank you for the info Allison! I am going to see my functional medicine doctor ob Tuesday and hopefully the B12 topic will come up. I didn’t know about the dangers of too much B6. I don’t supplement at all right now, so I doubt this is the case although I do have those symptoms minus the excess urination. I appreciate your help with this!!

                • paleodiet says

                  Hi from Norway!
                  The tingling I had in my legs, arm and upper back, went away when I switched to paleo (No grains, no sugar/fructose, no dairy, no processed food). However, the numbness/tingling in my right leg did not go away util I quit coffee. Makes sense, since there is a cross reaction between coffee and gluten.

              • Andrea says

                This pricklyness in hands and feet happens when I take magnesium. Is this because magnesium causes low blood pressure? Should I just eat more salt? I do actually crave salty foods alot.

                You mention nerve damage? I’ve had this off an on for years. I do also feel lightheaded from time to time. You say get this “all worked out” any suggestions? Or just take b12? Any suggestions for the best B12 sprays? I used to take b- complexes years ago. I stop because they made me feel an overstimulated “wired” and “racy”.

                • finndian says

                  Potassium and magnesium go hand in hand. If you are deficient in magnesium then you will be deficient in potassium. Supplementing either one when deficient in both will highlight the deficiency of the missing mineral. Potassium deficiency will make hands tingle. Drink low sodium V8 juice… one 8 ounce glass has 480mg of potassium. Potassium pills are limited by law to 99mg and that is only 3% of the RDA.

                  At least with me the sodium craving was a result of being low in these 2 electrolytes and my body was just trying to keep water in any way it could. BTW… lightheadedness is a symptom of potassium deficiency.

                  Eating even more salt than you already are will make your situation even worse.

        • Chelsea says

          Hi Sarah, I actually found coffee to be a major acne trigger for me (which was sad because I loved coffee). Now I’m a tea drinker, but my skin is happier!

          • Sarah says

            Thank you for all the replies and food for thought! I am hoping I am on the right path. I guess my frustration comes from the fact that besides the acne and being diagnosed Hashi, my strange symptoms didn’t come until after I started the Paleo diet. I knew I had Hashi’s but it really didn’t seem to ompact my life much. In June 2011, I began having strange symptoms such as tightening in my throat, TMJ symptoms, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, the numbness and tingling in my extremeties, brain fog, memory lapses, and most recently IBS symptoms (which have never in my life bothered me until Paleo). I also have this sporadic pressure on the left side of my upper abdomen right under my ribcage. Sometimes it extends along my side to my left shoulder blade. Doctors have put me through many tests only to tell me I am healthy and it is all in my head. They have told me I have anxiety and depression, which I do now because no one can tell me what is wrong with me!!! I am staying true to Paleo because I know it is what is best for my body and have started implementing the Autoimmune Protocol to see if this helps. I just can’t comprehend why cleaning up my diet has made me feel the worst I have felt in my life. I try to keep positive and educate myself as much as I can, but sometimes the symptoms are so severe I want to throw in the towel. I am hopeful, though, that my new doctor can lead me down a healing path.

            • shelley says

              Sarah…wow, the more you write the more I can relate except my problems were all pre-paleo to begin with and LC Paleo made them better. Adding in more carbs over time eventually caused so many symptoms to return. I had the sporatic pressure on the upper left side and had an MRI done to rule out speen issues. That was several years ago. I still get the pressure occasionally and from the research I’ve done I’m guessing it’s certain foods that are irritating to the area of the splenic flexure of the large intestines… where the transverse colon & descenting colon meet. ( part of IBS) . I’ve noticed for me that nuts are a prime suspect for this. And also a few days after I eat wheat this ALWAYS occurs for a day or two. I don’t eat wheat much but I do a few times a year on special occasions and a few days after I eat it I get that . I’ve had the nausea, dizziness, TMJ sensations, brain fog, memory lapses and anxiety and panic attacks. Not really any depression or fatigue though. At least part of the problem with the panic attacks was that my TSH had gone too low and my synthroid dose needed lowered. The panic attacks ended after that got adjusted but anxiety and everything else continued until i went LC paleo. I would guess there is something that is keeping you inflammed, messing with your insulin or other hormones. AIP is probably a really good way to go since Paleo per se hasn’t worked. I’d also recommend watching your carb content but at the same time making sure you are taking in enough calories (add Fat). Lowering carbs but not getting enough calories can mess with hormones too.

              • Sarah says

                Thank you Shelley. Yes, it seems that our stories are very similar. I will start looking into Low Carb Paleo. I was feeling a bit better on AI Paleo until last night when my abdominal pressure was very bothersome and I had an IBS bout. One thing about the left-sided pressure is that it seems to calm down when I eat a little bit of something. Also, if I go too long without eating it really gets aggrivated. Did you ever find this to be true? I really appreciate you sharing your story with me…it really helps to know I am not alone.

            • colleen says

              Sarah, I’ve been put through all the tests over the past 5 years as well. I was experiencing fatigue, brain fog, tingling, and severe stomach inflammation all throughout my abdomen, but particularly in my upper left side of my abdomen right under my ribcage. All of my tests were normal and yet I felt horrible. Eventually I was told it was all in my head and stress related. Out of frustration I went to a naturopath for the first time and he immediately recommended I go gluten-free and cut out the main IBS culprits, which for me were alcohol, carbonated drinks (including kombucha), dark chocolate, and coffee, even decaf. Within 2 weeks my abdominal pain was gone. I am staying gluten-free because I did notice my acne improved significantly. However, it is when I try and reintroduce coffee and carbonated beverages even now that I stimulate the muscle spasms that bring back my abdominal pains. I have come to accept that I cannot do caffeine (including teas and chocolate) or carbonation because they all contribute to stimulating smooth muscle spasms. Lately, I have also begun dealing with new symptoms of extreme throat constriction and GERD constantly irritating my throat and making me feel like I’m on the verge of an asthma attack. This was after changing my diet to paleo and cutting out the stimulants. All of the specialists I’ve seen are once again telling me it is stress related. I did not think I was stressed, didn’t see it and kept denying it. However, over time, I have discovered that the only time I do not have these throat symptoms is when I go away on vacation and truly feel relaxed! I am now taking ashwaganda and drinking passion flower tea daily to try and approach all of my various muscle spasm issues from an anti-anxiety perspective. I do think there is something to it. Going gluten-free definitely helped my skin, though!

              • Sarah says

                Thank you for sharing your story. It helps to know I am not alone. I have been on the Paleo auto-immune protocol for a couple of days, which cuts out all of the things you mentioned above. My abdominal pressure was better until last night, when I had an aggrivating episode of IBS. For some reason, when I eat a little bit, it seems to soothe the left-sided pressure, but if I let myself get too hungry it really gets irritated. Did you find this be true?

            • Margaret says

              Sarah, you aren’t the only one who gets that weird pain in the upper right under the ribcage. It happens to me when I eat foods that don’t agree – dairy, legumes, starches, highly processed anything, and sugar. I had my gallbladder out a few years ago before I found paleo (no stones – it was hyperkinetic ) and I think if I had found paleo earlier I may not have had to go through that! I am seeing an endocrinologist next because unfortunately there are no functional medicine practitioners near me. If that doesn’t help I’ll have to figure out how to afford chinese medicine.

              For skin – If I cheat and eat foods that I know I shouldn’t have my skin flares up w/ weird acne like bumps, and it also happens if I get ‘glutened’. If I eat low carb, low starch, healthy foods w/o a lot of fat (aside from coconut oil – that is fine!) my skin is fine and my energy levels are where they are supposed to be. I’d also dealt with dandruff for years before going paleo but had always been too embarrassed to talk to anyone about it, and it went away. :) The paleo AI protocol is what has helped me the most so I hope you find more answers with it!

              • Sarah says

                Margaret,

                Thanks for your response! I am glad you have dialed in your diet and know what works for you. Yes, I do feel like the AI protocol is going to help me greatly. If you go to the site http://www.thyroidconnections.com, you can find a practitioner in your area who has attended Dr. Kharrazian’s lectures. He wrote the book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? Even if you don’t have thyroid issues, these practioners look into gut issues, adrenal issues, liver problems, etc. I am getting help for my leaky gut which has led to thyroid problems, malabsorption issues, liver issues, neurological problems, and more. I am just starting the process of additional diet changes and supplements, so hopefully I will see some positive changes. I hope you find some relief of your own!!!

            • Sandra Brigham says

              I had gluten ataxia (my dx) with neuropathies and B12 deficiency (serum 90). I got better getting B12 shots (initially) and then sublinguals and going Paleo. Got even better when I went from cyano B12 to methyl B12 (thanks to Dr. Kresser’s post on B12). My neuropathy (and extreme fatigue, malaise, brain fog, dizziness, TMJ, incontinence etc.) comes back if I have any grains – including rice or GMO free corn tortilla chips, buckwheat pancakes, and to my surprise when I eat too many nuts or nut flour products. I’m currently monitoring too many starches for a cause as well. I too used to/do get pain under the rib cage and tightening of the throat – always when having wheat, buckwheat, and nut flour goods (but not nuts out of the hand). I likely have adrenal fatigue and maybe thyroid issues and finally accepted I have to go see a doc for some testing. But avoiding all grains and keeping nuts to a small amount eliminates my neuropathies.

              • Sarah says

                Thank you Sandra! I just started the AI protocol about a week and a half ago and am feeling better. I am on some supplements for the B12 deficiency as well as for got repair. My neuropathy is pretty much gone. Have felt it on the tip of my middle finger a bit, but so much better than what it was. My brain fog has improved greatly. Thank you for the tips about other triggers for symptoms. I am beginning to suspect corn, nuts, and nut flours are triggers for me as well. I hope you have continued healing!

              • mandy says

                Hi …hope your well, I find your blogs very helpful :)

                I have been diagnosed hypothyroid but also adrenal insufficient.

                I also have to avoid gluten, yeast, sugar, moulds etc for candida..

                But also I have to eat very low fat or I have problems with distended belly, achey pain in belly, nausea, stools that stick to the loo and frothy…

                I even get the nausea from good fats like salmon..

                My skin lacks sebum I have to bath using olive oil otherwise uncomfortable and dehydrated…I also suffer from muscle spasm in my right cheek / mouth area which fluctuates all the time!!

                Do you think maybe I need a digestive enzyme like lipase? I’m concerned that maybe I’m not digesting fats I feel better when I have very tiny amounts of fat but think iam causing problems with vit a, e etc..

                I also have a problem with my eye especially the left one is dry all the time, irritated and lots of sleep in it all the time…

                I try and get plenty of veg in my diet but being gluten free allergic to nuts..and not having enough fat ..I’m concerned I have deficencies…

                I just wondered what you think ? I ve brought cod liver oil and taking that but what else can I do?

                Would the fat problem be related to hormones?

                I’ve also had a time in hospital with a adrenal crisis due to bad infection and my amylase was very high as if I have pancritis as if I was a drinker and I don’t drink !! .

                Thank you :)

              • Donna says

                Does this go for even nuts that are soaked ala WEston Price Foundations’ belief that in order to digest nuts they have to be soaked?

            • Marc says

              Try finding a chiropractor that specializes in the Atlas.GlobalAO.com.Also if no luck there look into Lymesdisease.Marc

            • paleodiet says

              I felt bad for 3-4 months after going paleo. The symptoms I had 3-4 months into the diet change were so bad I thought I was going to die! These were withdrawal symptoms (which I did not know at the time). I had breathing difficulties, problems swollowing, depression, dizziness, abdominal pains, problems walking due to no energy etc etc. The doctors told me I was fine and that it was just all in my head…! I told them I had changed my diet, but they just didn’t care – “What’s diet got to do with it?!”
              Good luck, and be patient. It takes time to heal.

            • Trudee says

              Hi, Sarah, I’m intrigued by how many similar symptoms I have to yours: TMJ, dizziness, fatigue, tingling in my shins (and Reynaud’s in my hands), brain fog, and memory lapses. I was diagnosed with celiac disease three years go and have been fairly painstakingly gluten-free since then. (I do eat out sometimes, but try to choose only restaurants that seem to be GF knowledgable.) I have found since going gluten-free that many of my symptoms have lessened, but not gone away. My skin is still dry, in spite of coconut oil and fish oil every day, along with a mix of ground hemp, chia and flax seeds (ground fresh and kept in the freezer). In particular, my facial skin seems to have gotten worse. I am 50 and I just saw pictures of myself in which I look dead if not already decaying. Ugh. I can’t help thinking that I’m not really at the bottom of this as far as diagnosis goes. Reading about everyone on the paleo diet makes me fear that I need to remove even more things from my diet. Oh, yes, and I’ve also introduced green tea and eight cups of water per day into my daily regimen over the past few months. It seems to have helped my mood and focus somewhat, but not my skin.

              Am I crazy to be using commercial facial products? What I have is Arbonne, which is vegan and lanolin free. Not pure enough?

              • Beth says

                Trudee, you might want to try traditional grassfed tallow on your skin. It works beautifully for me, I think because it’s so compatible with our skin. I got some lovely beef tallow from US Wellness which I use for both cooking and skin care. You could also source from a local grassfed farm (find your nearest Weston Price chapter leader or go to Eatwild.com). Here’s an article with information on the benefits and how to make your own. I use mine plain (100% tallow) and it has just a slight scent to begin with but absorbs right in and dissipates.
                http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/traditional-nourishing-and-healing-skin-care

              • Gabriella says

                Try fermented cod liver oil. Green pastures is a great brand. It might help. It’s a little tough to get used to (I take the unflavored, it does come in flavored). It’s helped my skin immensely.

            • Donna says

              If you are sicker after switching to a “healthier” diet–Dr. Robert J. Marshall of PRL products says that you are not digesting and absorbing your food. He recommends pancreatic enzymes at the start of the meal and HCL (hydrochloric acid ) at the end of each meal, especially if you are over 40.

            • Danielle says

              This exactly matches ALLL of my symptoms. As soon as I started going full paleo I got all of those same things. Really bad nerve pain under my left shoulder blade (my back hurts so bad), pressure under left front rib sometimes, and numbless and sharp tingling pricks on arms and legs. I have no idea why because I think that this diet is way healthier, from what everyone says. But It’s almost making me want to revert back to a less restrictive diet, because I don’t feel better in that respect.

              What could this be???

              • Beth says

                Pain between the shoulder blades can indicate a sluggish gallbladder. For someone who has been on a standard lowfat diet, it can help to reintroduce fats more slowly into the diet. You can help stimulate bile production by taking things like beet juice, beet kvass, digestive bitters, bile salts, milk thistle, fermented foods, digestive enzymes and raw apple cider vinegar with meals.

            • Lara says

              I haven’t seen anyone mention salicylates (natural pesticides in fruits and vegetables) as a trigger for skin issues. My son, now 3, suffered from eczema and severe dry skin since he was about 3 months old. He ate only non-processed foods, and was on a paleo-like diet, off gluten, dairy, egg, corn, and whatever else would traditionally be a source of eczema. After 2.5 years I discovered salicylates as the main source of his eczema – fruits and vegetables! Coconut oil, almonds, olive oil, honey, apple juice, kale, berries! Everything we thought was healthy was toxic to his system. Within days of removing salicylates, his eczema cleared up! Best of luck. -Lara

          • Sarah says

            Hi Chelsea,

            I have been three days off coffee, which has been rough! I have been so tired! I am sticking with it though…I have stocked up on tea! Thanks for your insight!

      • Sarah says

        Jackie,

        It’s good to know I am on the right track! I read Dr. K’s book, which is how I found the doctor I am beginning to work with who follows Dr. K’s protocol. It was light a million light bulbs went off when I read that book.

        I am following The Paleo Mom’s protocol as well. Just started, so we will see how it goes. I also bought Balanced Bites for the AI recipes. I just wish there were more recipe resources for us autoimmune folks. I guess I will just get used to modifying!

        Thanks for the help; I really appreciate it. I am also glad that you have found healing!

    • says

      Sarah, you’ve gotten lots of helpful info, but I just wanted to send you another note of solidarity.

      When I went Paleo, my skin was the best it had been since I was 15. I was still on hormonal BC though, and that had always helped. I went off that last year, and suddenly the acne came roaring back, even cystic stuff. I couldn’t believe it and I was disappointed too since Paleo was supposed to save me from that.

      I decided to wait it out and hope that it would get better. It didn’t. I had some other health issues going on (found out later probably due to MTHFR deficiency), so I was hoping that would solve it but it didn’t. My func med NP recommended cod liver oil and I thought she was crazy. I resisted it for a long time, but I found a jar of it I had bought for my husband’s eczema (note: that never cleared up on Paleo either, though he won’t give up dairy), so I took a few each day. Within a week, my skin had calmed significantly and now it is very clear again. I was gobsmacked, but grateful.

      I wish you the best in your search for clear skin and health!

      • Sarah says

        Hi Karen,

        I appreciate your feedback! It helps to know what has worked for other people. I went to get my results from extensive testing today from my functional medicine doctor and let’s just say I have a lot of work to do!! My gut is not a happy camper! While it is so eye-opening to know why I am feeling the way I am feeling, it depresses me to know that the Paleo diet wasn’t working for me. I have to make some major tweaks to my diet (continue with the autoimmune protocol) as well as add some supplements and lifestyle changes. I will be starting Green Pasture’s Cod Liver Oil, so it is great that you say it has helped you and I hope it makes positive changes for me as well. Oh, and as hypothesized above, my B12 is low! Hopefully, supplementation will help with the numbness and tingling!!

      • Sarah says

        Hi Matt,

        My Vitamin D is at a 50 with the 25 (OH) Vitamin D test. My doctor just started me on a supplement of emulsified Vitamin D because he wants it in the 70-80 range. I also live in the Midwest, so getting it from the sun will be harder as we approch the winter months.

        Thanks!

        • Beth says

          FYI, lard from pasture-raised pigs is very high in Vitamin D since they metabolize Vitamin D from the sun like we do. This could be especially helpful in the winter months, but is a great fat all year round.

  166. Terje says

    Yes. I had rosacea around the middle of my nose for some years (although I didn’t know that that is what it was called.) I only realized resently that it is gone!
    I have now been eating paleo for 2 years.

  167. Emily says

    My 12 year old son has a rare growth disorder and as child was on Prevacid for many years for reflux. He also had a g-tube for 8 years for feedings. At age 10 he started developing psoriasis on his hands and knees and they were cracked and bleeding. We removed gluten from his diet and within 2 months his skin cleared. He also takes probiotics, zinc and fish oil. If he cheats on vacation with wheat, it comes back fairly quickly. Removing gluten and healing his gut has made a dramatic difference in his skin health.

  168. Betsy says

    Since the scalp is also part of our skin, will healing the gut also help with alopecia? My hair is falling out rapidly.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Betsy: I didn’t have room to discuss this in the article, but the hair follicle is subject to the same influences that the skin is. Also, it’s one of the most hormone sensitive tissues in mammalian biology and contains a fully functioning local hypothalamic pituitary axis. This means hair is exquisitely sensitive to stress, whether physiological or psychological.

    • Chloe says

      Try doing a 1/2 Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/2 Warm Water rinse on your hair and scalp for a few weeks. Let it sit for a bit before you shower. The ACV cleanses your hair so you don’t need shampoo and the smell fades quickly. Your hair and scalp will feel amazing and your hair might have a better environment to grow/regrow. This helped me. I have struggled with losing hair every time I endure stress.

      Also, make sure only organic chemical free hair products.

  169. says

    I had horrible acne before we switched to Paleo (taking pro-biotics and drinking bone broth) and now I don’t even have to wear make-up! My skin is so clear and I almost never get a pimple and when I do it’s usually just one, not a whole section of my face! Thanks be to God!

  170. john says

    Chris-
    Do you feel that raw milk also reduces the levels of IGF-1?Would it also have to be fermented,or would the natural probiotics of the whole milk be sufficient?

    • Chris Kresser says

      I don’t know for sure, and I haven’t seen any data either way. But anecdotally many of my patients that get breakouts from pasteurized dairy don’t have the same reaction to raw dairy.

      • says

        I agree with Chris to an extent, I have heard from some people that they can’t even have raw goat milk or raw heavy cream… it can be pretty bad for some. For me, I can tolerate some raw aged cheese now and again and some goat milk, but for some they can’t even have a tiny spec of any dairy related food…

  171. Jackie says

    I have had Rocacea (including acne, red skin, huge pores and raised skin) for about 25 or so years. I also have Hashimoto’s disease. I have been putting an antibiotic cream on my face, every day, for most of the 25 years. If I didn’t put the cream on, my face would break out into acne that would take weeks to clear up.

    I’ve been eating the Paleo Auto Immune Protocol diet and taking lots of probiotics for about 4 or 5 months now. Since about 3 weeks after I started, I noticed my face was not so red and that it seemed more clear. So I thought I would try not putting the antibiotic on my face…after day 3, no reaction…one week later no reaction…I have not put antibiotics on my face since, and every day, I notice it’s getting smoother and I think (I’m hoping!) that my pores are getting smaller and that the spider veins are clearing up a bit. Gut-skin relationship is a absolutely true!

  172. Stacie says

    I wonder if anyone can comment on my situation. I have had asthma for thirty years, mostly controlled by avoiding allergens (animals, dust, etc.) Since my last pregnancy eight years ago, asthma has been much worse during fall/winter. Also, during this same time I start having problems with the skin on my right thumb and forefinger(same hand every year) It gets very dry, cracks, and bleeds. I have had the skin problem since before the pregnancy, but I wonder if the two are related, and why they are seasonal. I have been using pycnogenol for the asthma since the spring, but now that fall has come, it seems to be ineffective. Any clues?

    • Jenny says

      I had asthma from when I was 15yrs. That too disappeared when I stopped the gluten, although it took a while longer – about 2 years. I forgot to say that I take regular probiotics, because they seem to protect my gut if I get some inadvertant gluten from someone else’s carelessness.

      My asthma was both seasonal and stress related – the stress version did not respond to medication at all. It has all gone now, apart from when there are Very,Very high levels of pollen around. Likewise, most of my hay-fever has disappeared.

    • Jeremy Jones says

      My asthma seemed to be getting worse as I aged, even after eating strict GF and pretty strict Paleo for years. Somewhere I stumbled upon some recommendations for a “low histamine” diet. According to the stuff I read, histamine occurs naturally in food and some foods cause some histamine to be released when you eat them. If you have gut damage from gluten (or something else), you may not produce the enzyme that breaks down histamine in your diet (or much less of the enzyme). After looking into it, I began to become frustrated because I was already so restrictive with my diet – the last thing I needed was more restrictions!

      Then I realized that many of my ‘daily’ foods were on the list of things to avoid, and maybe that is why my asthma was not improving (and possibly getting worse). I tested the diet on myself and noticed a big improvement in about 1-2 weeks. Good Luck!

      -jj

    • shelby says

      ..Stacie.. I did not ever suffer from Asthma till I was in my late 40’s. It is brought on by heart condition, its known as cardiac asthma. I have NO issues with pets/ dust/ etc. ; however, cig smoke and things like that trigger it. It is also triggered by being’ overheated’, as in overdoing the exercise and indulging in too much housecaring.( known to others as’ housework’ lol ) and is also stress related. I eat a lot of gluten free and this has solved a lot of issues, where as I could ANYTHING before I had this issue with the adult asthma. I also gave up almost ALL dairy, as it is a ‘ trigger’ for those with asthma. ( I cannot give up my cheese and Fage Greek Yogurt, however, lol ) But I use almond milk, no ice cream, no grains if I can help it and I also take a magnesium supplement every other night before bed. Eating a lot of shrimp and other shell fish helps as well. I seldom eat any red meat and prefer fish to be honest. A papaya enzyme after meals will also be beneficial. As will a GOOD Vitamin that has the Omega 3’s..one that has” DHA ” in front of teh ‘ Omega 3 ” statement. I am not a doctor.. but all these have helped me and also helped my skin .

    • Ian says

      Hi Stacie:

      My asthma went away never to return when I moved away from my mother. I went back to visit her about 5 years ago and the asthma came back upon seeing her and my sister.

      Energy sucker people can make you feel smothered. And ironically my x-girlfriend… the spitting image of the shadow of both my mother/sister… would just talk about her mother and it would literally take my breath away. I’d tell her I’d didn’t want to hear anything else about her mother unless it was how she planned to walk away from her and my breathing came back to normal in seconds.

      It is my truth there is an emotional root cause of ailments.

  173. Jenny says

    Reading this has made me realise that my constant acne disappeared, when 7 years ago, I realised I was coeliac and stopped eating gluten, and more latterly, all grains. Within 6 weeks of stopping, friends were commenting how well I looked, and still do comment.

  174. NKB says

    I’ve had rosacea since my early 20s — immediately after college. I’m now 37, & after trying antibiotics, sulfa drugs, & every other gimmick on the market, I’ve practically cured my red, inflamed face — & it happened by accident!! I was a vegetarian for all of my 20s and early 30s, but the kind of vegetarian who ate a ton of carbs, cereal, breads, and sugar, and ironically not too many vegetables. About a month ago I decided to eliminate sugar, flour, and most dairy (I can’t give up all cheese! I love it.). I didn’t make this change for my skin, but rather to see if after eliminating these inflammatory foods I’d have improved overall health and lose a few pounds (literally – like 5).
    After a few weeks of this dietary change, I noticed that my rosacea was almost entirely gone. My skin is smooth, with maybe one or two spots. My rosacea was mild at times, and awful at other times. Sometimes so bad that I cried at the thought of leaving the house. And now, with zero western medicine or topical lotions, it is nearly indetectable.
    Oh – one additional I made to my skin regimen was using pure, organic jojoba oil on my cheeks where the skin was often dry and flaky. I highly encourage everyone to look up the benefits of jojoba oil, especially for rosacea.

    More importantly: stop eating crap!! Take out the nutritionally void foods, and within weeks you will see and feel changes that western medicine would have you believe are impossible.

    • maria quintana says

      Nice to hear that there is a way to get better on rosacea. I Started having symptons only a year ago and so far i have tryed few things like dermatologists and creams and antibiotics and not improvement. I ve also tryed more natural methods like acupunture for a month and probiotics but nothing really. What i havent tryed its a long , steady change of diet and see results. I m going to do a cleanse for a month where i cut all dairy, gluten and dairy and plan to continue eating the best i can anfd for a longer period to see really how diet affect me. I ll try the jojoba too! thanks for the suggestions!

    • Autumn Monroe says

      When you say rosacea, are you implying broken capillaries as well? I’m 23 and getting them like crazy. I think it’s because of genetics. But I’m wondering what could possibly stop it?

  175. says

    I have suffered from acne since I was 10. After changing my diet in my 20s, my face has improved a lot. Kefir really really helps-it is not time consuming to make and cheaper than buying probiotics.
    thanks for your post Chris!

  176. Sarah says

    I feel as though I have been thrown a lifeline, a possible solution to acne that just … blights one’s life to an extent that I don’t think would be clear to non-sufferers.

    I discovered my celiac because I have DH. The DH is resolved on a GF diet, of course – but I have had acne since I was a teen (now 40). I have also been following a low FODMAP diet because gut symptoms continue; it seems to help, but has not completely resolved things.

    I have known for a while that a SIBO test made sense to help pinpoint the cause (from you; I’ve been reading all I can – and so wishing you were still seeing new patients). This was the kick that says get it done. Maybe I don’t have to live with acne for my entire life. Thank you.

  177. Katie says

    I have definitely experienced a change in my skin health when I changed my diet to a Paleo model. My life-long acne has cleared dramatically and I can honestly say with the elimination of dairy I have not experienced another breakout. I am also 32 weeks pregnant and work full-time, yet the hormones and the stress do no cause my acne. My personal observations have led me to believe dairy has been the cause all along.

    • Anna says

      Going strict Paleo was like a miracle for my skin. I am not super strict any more, about 70%, and I notice that dairy in particular causes acne for me. I have recently cut out dairy again and after 1 week my skin was great. Alcohol also affects my skin, but not as much as dairy.

  178. says

    My skin and scalp become very flaky and the eyelids get red and flaky too… In my last year of being primal and eating clean, I found that dairy is the biggest culprit, but anytime I spike my insulin, like eating popcorn at a movie theatre my whole body heats up and gets puffy. I am about 90% primal and my health is about 80% improved with energy and thinking, etc…

    • says

      that is exactly what happens to me. I swear just looking at dairy makes me feel inflamed. I notice a big difference when I keep my insulin levels under control as well.

  179. einstein says

    absolute sucess here too. 9 months paleo/primal, pretty strict about it, all pimples (were they cystic or was it hydradentitis suppurativa or something similar I don’t know but they were not healing for weeks/months) are gone and healed. my skin is like a baby’s butt at it best again :-)

  180. Katieb says

    Absolutely! My husband has always struggled with some sort of psoriasis/eczema that has never been properly diagnosed or treated by regular MDs. We have both struggled with breakouts, even into our 40s. Our 2 teenagers went from clear skin to lots of acne all over their faces and backs when they were eating a lot of sugar and refined GF grains. In 2011, I put us all on the GApS diet supplemented with therapeutic amounts of probiotics. ALL of our skin conditions cleared up. Now, breakouts and nasty eczema flares ONLY return when we get contaminated with trace amounts of gluten in food, which damages our guts due to the Celiac disease we all have!

  181. says

    I’ve noticed the increased prevalence of eczema among my 6 year old daughter’s peers over the past few years and suspect it is because they all eat a largely wheat based diet. Pop tarts for breakfast, pizza for lunch and breaded chicken dinos for dinner!

  182. Barbara says

    As I get farther along in healing, my health seems to fluctuate. My path to well being has not been a straight line. What started with diabetes diagnoses turned into fixing problems in my gut. As of now my face has more of a rash than ever, but I feel like it is probably just a bump in the road to healing since I can tell my gut function is improving. Even if it seems slowly. My next step is going to get off hormonal birth control, maybe regulating my hormones will help my skin and everything else improve. I love your articles and podcasts, you have helped me come this far amongst doctors that want me to take diabetes medications.

  183. Peggy says

    I had eczema for over 25 years that my doctor said would never heal, and that I could only hope to keep it under control. Once I started eliminating grains and sugars from my diet, it completely cleared up. It’s amazing to me that so few people talk about the dietary implications of skin issues.

  184. Nicole says

    Thanks for a great post!

    I’ve noticed that breakouts of perioral dermatitis correspond with my digestion disruptions (accidental or intentional slips from a low-FODMAP/paleo diet to treat esophageal thrush, h.pylori, fructose malabsorption, and chronic gastritis). Would be interested in hearing your take about treating PD—I’ve had good luck with diet modifications, but I also know that various sites on the internet recommend cutting out SLS/SLES, cosmetics, and fluoride toothpaste. Any thoughts about what role those external chemicals play?

    • caseys says

      I get perioral derm flare ups when my gut is irritated, too. I avoid chemicals on my skin and hair and I avoid fluoride products. I irritated my gut recently by using too much magnesium for too many days to help relieve constipation. I had the worst face flare up during that time and it calmed down once I stopped the magnesium and drank bone broth. I also used Sibu’s sea buckthorn therapeutic oil on my red patches and that helped a lot too.

      • Beth says

        I’ve done the GAPS Intro Diet twice and each time experienced profound detoxification or “flare-ups” through the skin. The first time I had an angry red scalp rash (luckily, hidden by my hair), and the second time a sudden eczema flare-up on my hands. With GAPS or other gut healing protocols, it’s common to experience a worsening of the “symptoms” that prompted you to do the diet in the first place (a good sign that it’s working and that the bad guys are putting up a fight and releasing toxins on the way out of the body), and that was true for me in the case of eczema. The scalp rash was fascinating when you consider I’m a lifelong migraine sufferer.

        • Beth says

          I should also say that these flare-ups were temporary. The scalp rash disappeared as quickly as it arose.

          I get compliments on my skin all the time and I no longer sunburn or need sunscreen, and I attribute it to eating plenty of traditional fats and oils and getting the harmful, man-made fats and oils completely out of my system. Butter, ghee, coconut oil, lard, tallow and olive oil are now my fats of choice. These and lacto-fermented foods support gut function, and thus skin health, in a big way.

        • penelope says

          Thanks Beth I didn’t realise that was so common with GAPS diet and eczema. My eczema had settled about 95% and then I started an elimination diet (the radical one with no seeds grains nuts beans that I have never done before) 3 weeks and no change and then my eczema has flared right up. I still cant tell if it was triggered by a slip in the diet or just a detox. Crossing my fingers for the detox and persevering. You didnt say how long it takes to pass? Im assuming it did pass?

  185. Jenny says

    I wish I could say yes, that improving my gut health has improved my skin, but it hasn’t for me. I’ve always had dry ski and now that I live in a very dry climate, it’s a constant battle. I use pure sunflower and jojoba oils as my daily moisturizer, don’t overdo it with soap and eat lots of fat. I wish I knew what else I could do.

    • caseys says

      Try products from Sibu. It’s sea buckthorn. I’ve been using their topical products with good results and I’m going to try their oral products as well.

      • LISA says

        I put pure seabuckthorn from Russia on my face to assist my oral dermatitis, and had a horrible allergic reaction, it burned my skin and it looked like I took a curling iron to it. I have a strong feeling it was because of my leaky gut, so when my gut is healed and i’m finished the gaps diet, I will put it on my face again (there’s only the one way to test these things!) and see what happens. Sorry I wish I saw this post after I tried this experiment, I hope I will remember to come back and report my findings. It will be another anecdote in support of GAPS, rather than being in support of a topical treatment, although I know that seabuckthorn is a prized oil for skin, since all the women in my family from USSR have been using it. Probably due to their eating grandma’s bone broths, and I grew up in Canada where I didn’t eat enough russian foods and my parents were sold on the theory that antibiotics is the answer to everything. Really messed up my stomach over the years. THANK you Dr. Natasha.

    • Kathryn says

      How are you cleansing your skin? I’ve had incredibly dry skin my whole life, and the best thing I’ve ever done for it was switching to a combination of oil cleansing (at night) and honey cleansing (morning). No soaps, no “gentle, foaming cleansers”, just oil and honey. The last couple winters have been the first in my life to have come and gone without my skin getting flaky.

      • AnGela says

        Kathryn,
        I cleanse my skin with either coconut or olive oil (whichever is handy) with great results but I haven’t used honey yet. Would you mind telling me what you use and how? I’ve heard that Manuka honey is good but don’t know how to use it as a skin cleanser. Do you add anything to it?

        Chris,
        I went off of VSL#3 for just a few days and pimples started popping up on my back and face. I have “IBS”, ha! The reason I went off of them is to get another stool test to see where I’m at with re-colonizing my gut ( I only had bifidum & E. coli, absolutely no lactobacilli). Seems like checking my skin reactions would be a lot cheaper than the stool test. Do you think that IBS patients can ever stop probiotics or is it something that we’ll just have to do? Or could we get away with just eating some fermented foods? What do you think of using S. boulardii to clear out the bad guys?

        Thanks!

        • dee says

          Not sure what VSL#3 is but I too did a stool test and had absolutely no lactobacilli and only bifidum and e.coli. Naturopath had a hard time explaining as I had been taking probiotics for close to 2 yrs. My stomach showed malabsorption and leaky gut. My stomach was a disaster and it seemed everything I ate gave me gas and discomfort. I recently changed to a powdered probiotic and berberine supplements and my stomach while not perfect is better. My skin however has only showed a slight improvement. I have rosacea and dry hard skin that seems to close over my pores and the sebum gets stuck inside them. Its like its oily & dry and dehydrated at the same time. I oil cleanse with products by Garden of Wisdom which are great but I cant seem to get my skin calm and moisturized. Ive tried fish oil and strict dietary changes and while thats healthier and I lost weight it did zero for my skin. Ive even thought of demodex infestation and tried a product from china called ZZ cream. Many rosacea forums recommend it but it has not stopped the random lesions I get. They are also not in the typical rosacea areas so Im not sure what the heck they are. Sometimes they appear on the very top of my cheekbone practically on my temple and some are on my jawline under my neck. The ones here seem to re-inflame as they are always in the same spot. Its like its a hot spot or something as they can be itchy as well. I wish I knew what else to change or try because its very hard to continue living this condition and putting on a brave front and watching everyone around you eating and drinking what they want.

          • bee says

            hey dee,
            Sounds like you have facial keratosis pilaris. Ppl most often get it on the backs of their arms…bumpy “chicken skin”, red spots, can be dry and itchy too, I think. Maybe google it? Knowing what ur dealing with is always a good beginning, right? Frm ur description it really sounds like KP.

            • dee says

              Bee
              Thanks so much for your advice. Its actually something that has crossed my mind and since you’ve mentioned it I’ve been doing some research on the subject. while I’m not sure its exactly what I have, there are symptoms that resemble what I’m going through. I can most often extract a small hard plug from these under the skin bumps in my chin and Im looking into whether or not this can be the case with KP. Maybe this is why diet has never worked for me…thanks again

          • Melissa says

            Apple cider vinegar. Bath in it every night. Organic coconut oil. Melt in microwave and cover everywhere. Borax in bath helps as well. Hope this helps you.

            • KateLee says

              Hi sorry to interrupt but just a tip on coconut oil- don’t microwave it as microwaving destroys the healing properties, so its best heating over the stove (i put it in a bowl, then put the bowl in a pot of warming water t melt it)

              Kate.

      • Meghan says

        I would also recommend an enzyme for the skin twice a month. Papaya, Pumpkin or Pineapple. Enzymes are more beneficial than scrubs because they attach themselves to dead skin cells rather than scrubbing off surface skin cells. Finish with a hydrating moisturizer containing hylaronic acid. It binds eight times its weight to water… the most hydrating thing you can put on your skin. Also, have you considered checking the Ph of your water? If it is acidic, you may not be absorbing it thus causing dryness. Just a few thoughts…..

      • Alisha says

        Try high doses of fish oil. Every winter my hands an forearms would crack and bleed and my face would flake from being so dry. I used to take one or two 300 mg fish oil a day and now I take four on average and my dry skin had disappeared.

      • paleonurse33 says

        I am going totally chemical free since I have been paleo. I water wash my body only to keep my ph and oil barriers. I stopped using soap April 22 and shampoo may 17, 2014. I don’t stink and my scalp is calming down. My skin isn’t chapped anymore. I do battle keratosis pilaris. Paleo hasn’t fixed that. Perhaps it’s nuts or coffee causing the problem. Anyway, other keys to keeping sebum on skin is avoiding HOT water showers. Use warm then cool. Don’t use vinegars or exfoliating acids, no chemicals at all. The body adapts.

        • says

          hello guys, i am a chiropractor, naet and gaps therapist.
          for most of you guys and gals still having flare-ups in skin and bowel disorder, DENTAL issues is the clue.
          cavitations, root canals, wisdom teeth badly extracted or still in place and last but not least, mercury fillings, all summed up become a source of deadly toxicity that our regulatory system can’t cope anymore.
          get as many info u can, watch dr. mattew carpenter videos, read toxic dentistry exposed by munro-hall, and then take action!!
          since i apply the three togheter, gaps, naet and dental issues, i see so called “miracles” in my practice.

      • A says

        Just want to comment on this. I tried the tallow cream after seeing the mommypotamous post too…it didn’t do anything for my eczema/dry skin. Nothing except topical steroids helped, and I didn’t want to use chemicals indefinitely. I went on a fruit and veggie diet because I couldn’t take the itchy skin/scalp. Nothing changed until I went low histamine, and now it’s slowly getting better. Only time will tell, but it’s worth looking into histamine intolerance!

    • Christina says

      Try high dose fish oils. The good kind from the nutrition store– not the kind you get at Costco or something. You will see an instant improvement– i was in your boat for a long time!

      Hope it works!

    • Anna says

      I was on high dose fish oil for another reason- about 6-8 grams a day, and my skin got much oilier. Keep gradually increasing your dose of fish oil until your skin changes. Maybe you would need more in winter thans summer.

  186. ken says

    Hi Chris I am 65 with ulcerative colitis , had it for about 20+ years. When I get stressed and the stomach gets worse , my face breaks out in dry scaly skin and goes very red all round my nose and my eyebrows and of course through my scalp. When the stomach calms down so does the skin.

  187. Jason says

    I’ve been doing the paleo thing for close to 6 months now and I push the probiotics pretty hard. I can count on 2 fingers the number of pimples I’ve had since starting this diet, which is a major improvement. I also had frequent eczema flare ups on my left hand and I can only remember 1 flare up in the last 6 months. As it gets cooler I am seeing the usually fall dryness return though and I was hoping that I would avoid that this year.

      • Andrea says

        Hi Jennifer,

        What if you have soft skin on your body but dry skin on your face? I have dry skin with rosacea on my cheeks.

        But the rest of my body is smooth/soft. Would bile thinning supplement help in that case? If so, do you have a recommendation? Thanks.

        • LISA says

          Please someone answer Andrea’s question, I have EXACTLY the same thing! Generally healthy and soft skin all over, but my poor cheeks are rough and sore, dry and flaking. I have stopped exfoliating by the various products or methods as it seems to make it worse, and the beautiful natural creams from the health food store, not even essential oils like helichrysum and german chammomile are helping. (As a gluten sensitive, dairy sensitive person I just removed all the GF foods with gums in them and went on the GAPS intro diet for the last week.) Is there anything more to help it along besides sticking to the GAPS diet?

          • Carly says

            There is a chance you might have an infestation of demodex folliculorum in your hair follicles. There are a lot of unknowns about Rosacea, but there is a large correlation between infestation with these mites that are normal components of the skin flora. If eliminating your trigger foods isn’t working then this might be the case. I would also look into the products you put on your skin (lotion, soap, detergent) and see if any of those might be the reason the rosacea is sticking around. Obviously these are just suggestions from a medical student, so I would definitely recommend consulting your doctor/dermatologist.

          • Jackie says

            Try raw, must be raw and non processed, organic coconut oil for dry patches on your face, it’s brilliant stuff.

          • KNoVa says

            Try washing your face with honey, preferably raw instead of using soap or a moisturizer. Honey has both humectant (moisturizing) and antibacterial properties. Also, the pH of honey is similar to the skins own acid mantle so you are not disrupting your skins own protections against bacteria. A study has show honey is more effective than a conventional treatment for seborrhic dermatitis on the scalp. I have been washing with honey for a couple months now and notice it reduces my acne and keeps my skin very soft.

          • Teresa says

            For over 2 years I had terrible red, crusty, flaky dermatitis on my face that was really ugly and painful. Paleo diet helped but didn’t get rid of it completely. Only after I worked with a naturopath and took good quality probiotics, vitamins and treatment to heal my gut. After 3 months of treatment, my skin is finally clear.

          • Pam says

            I have managed to control my Rosacea and have been redness (and bump) free for years. It took long term use of a a topical antibiotic and moisturizing religiously with a sensitive skin moisturizer. When the skin gets dry and damaged, the Rosacea tries to come back.

        • Sue says

          Try Kefir and a good probiotic. I’ve had bad rosacea, breakouts et al for several years. Have been on antibiotics and creams, nothing helped. Then I started taking magnesium. There was an improvement, with breakouts once a week, but very red most days.

          A friend gave me some kefir starter (I rarely drink milk) and started drinking a glass every morning, with a good brobiotic. Guess what! I’m holding my breath, but the redness has definately clamed down, some days I have a normal coloured face, plus there are no more breakouts.

          I didn’t know there was a connection between gut and skin, but after some days of improvement, I mentioned to my family that I think there may be a connection here. I’m HOPING that this will be the cure I’ve been longing for. I think it’s as simple as red face = inflammation of the gut.

          For a soft skin, I’ve found plain Nivea cream has been fantastic.

    • says

      Jason,
      What exactly do you eat on a daily basis? I had horrible adult acne for 2 years and hand eczema for about 12 years. After going to a dermatologist (which messed up my system even more with antibiotics that didn’t solve the problems) and trying various things I found on-line, I decided to talk to a naturopath and found out I have many food allergies which most likely led to leaky gut. I started taking probiotics 10 months ago along with avoiding dairy (I also don’t eat wheat). I saw HUGE improvements after about 6 months with my skin. I go back and forth with skin issues if I do eat some dairy or wheat, but I get sick of eating meat and vegetables all the time. Just wondering what you eat to stay healthy and keep your skin clear.
      Thanks!

        • Roxanne says

          I had small patches of eczema on my fingers each year during the summer for about five or six years. Then a couple of years ago it started spreading over my hands and up my arms. When it got to my elbows, I went to an NAET practitioner. She put me on a cleanse diet and did the NAET protocol. The eczema cleared up completely within a couple of months and hasn’t been back. I had been eating a high carb/vegetarian diet for about 25 years, and I loved baked goods and chocolate. Since then I’ve cut WAY back on grains/sugar. I do still eat them, but much more selectively and infrequently. And I eat fish sometimes.

      • rdzins says

        Kind of funny, I too do have found dairy does not work for me, I used to have really dry skin, I forgot the scientific name for it but I would get it on my hands and feet, the sores would crack open and bleed and weep a clear fluid, and it would itch, so I would scratch it until it hurt. Tried all kind of doctors things when I was younger and just figured I would have to live with it.
        I have been low carb for about 10 years, but I was having blood sugar issues and gaining weight for about the last three years, I could not figure it out. I cut out dairy and ALL my skin issues went away as well as my blood sugar issues are coming down, and so it the scale. Really stinks, I only used high fat dairy but it is not obviously for me. Even cream does it for me. I am happy I finally found my answer, I hope in the future I will be able to have dairy but for now I have to give it up.

        • KNoVa says

          Have you tried kefir? I get acne when I eat dairy and also general aches and pains that are a sign of systemic inflammation, plus gas and stomach pain. For years, it just got worse to the point where I thought I couldn’t eat even tiny amounts of dairy. Then I started having homemade kefir regularly (to combat a breast feeding related thrush infection) and I noticed my reactions to dairy calming down. After several months drinking a kefir smoothie every morning I was able to enjoy even commercial ice cream occasionally with no bad effects. For me, the probiotics in kefir have been a big help, but my reactions were not as severe as what you describe.

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