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How Acne Caused By Digestive Problems Can Be Helped

Acne is a problem that affects many people, not just hormonal teenagers. Living with this problem can be burdensome and embarrassing. One of the culprits to acne becoming a problem is poor digestion. Learning how to properly deal with acne caused by digestive problems may be life-changing for some.

acne caused by digestive problems

acne caused by digestive problems

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I remember how awful acne was to deal with when I was younger. Luckily, it went away. However, looking back, I believe that there was more to my acne than just hormones.

I have a child that had problems with acne during her teenage years. Hormones came into play, but digestion was the biggest contender to the problem. Other things compiled onto the issue such as mold intoxication.

However, we worked hard to get at the root causes that contributed to this awful experience for her. She still needs to be careful and will see problems arise if her gut microbiome gets out of whack,but progress has been huge. Getting your digestive system under control can be a game-changer for your skin's health.

This post addresses the role the Digestive system plays in skin health and what to do when acne problems due to digestive issues arise.

The Gut Microbiome and Acne Connection

What is the gut microbiome?

The Gut Microbiome is the microbial ecosystem made up of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms that live in the stomach and intestinal regions. The microbiota and gut flora are the terms given to these microorganisms living in the microbiome.

How does the digestive system affect the skin?

There is a direct connection between what goes on within the microbiome of the gut and skin health. This is refered to as the gut-skin axis.

A well-working gut (or digestive tract) means healthy skin for the most part. However, a troubled digestive system, also known as gut dysbiosis or gut imbalance, can impact the skin and make skin problems arise.

What happens when poor gut health persists?

A large part of the body's immune cells are in the gut. This means the immune system also becomes a part of the puzzle.

When good bacteria and bad bacteria are out of balance, the immune response goes into an inflammatory state. This in turn causes acne vulgaris and other skin conditions to occur.

Additionally, intestinal permeability can occur due to the gut lining becoming compromised. This is where food can enter the bloodstream causing chronic inflammation to take place. The name given to this is Leaky Gut Syndrome. Food sensitivities are triggered due to the body being compromised in this way. 

Why do Stomach issues cause acne?

Studies show that inflammation is involved in acne lesions in the very beginning stages of development. When the body is fighting inflammation, symptons begin to show to signify that the body is in distress. The symptoms can occur through mood issues, brain function, as well as through skin problems such as skin rashes and acne.

Digestive Problems that can 

lead to Acne Problems


Sibo is the overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. The large intestine contains a lot of the bacteria and this is where it should stay. Problems come about when the small intestine develops too much bacteria.

Some reasons small intestinal bacterial overgrowth occurs is low stomach acid levels, digestive enzymes, mold issues in the body, or other reasons that the body may be in a constant state of distress.

Acid levels in the stomach is sometimes overlooked. Stomach acid helps to keep bacteria from small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Additionally, digestive enzymes are needed for food to properly break down food particles. If a person does not have enough enzymes, then the undigested food particles can lead to bacteria overgrowth. 

Related Post: Natural Remdies For Candida

Candida (or other Yeast overgrowth)

Yeast also is a common problem that occurs when digestion is not in balance. A healthy bacteria population is needed to keep a well-balanced environment in parts of the body.

When the beneficial bacteria in the gut gets overrun by the bacteria that causes harm to the body, problems with yeast overgrowth can happen. A specific form of yeast known as Candida overgrowth is common.


Additionally, parasites can contribute to problems with irritable bowel syndrome and other stomach and digestive issues. Therefore, these may be an another hurdle encountered while trying to get clearer skin. A parasitic infection may deplete the body of nutrients as well which are vital to the overall health of the skin.

H. Pylori

Heliobacter pylori is also a frequent problem in an unhealthy gut. It is termed H. Pylori for short. H. Pylori is a type of bacteria that decreases stomach acid. When less acid exists in the stomach, the lining of the stomach is less protected.

This weakens the lining of the stomach and there is a better chance for leaky gut to occur. The cycle then begins for food sensitivities and/or food allergies to be triggered. The role feeds on itself.

Additionally, stomach acid plays a role in the killing of bad bacteria in the stomach. If there is less acid to kill off the bad bacteria, there is a better chance for there to be a bacteria overgrowth.

This is one of the reasons why there are usually more than just one of these types of problems when stomach issues persist.

Disclaimer:  No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor, a qualified clinician or other qualified health care professional.

How to Help Acne Caused By digestive Problems

Getting to the underlying cause or causes of acne breakouts should be the ultimate goal to clear up your skin issues. Often it is a multileveled process because one problem brings about another problem in the body. The below steps will guide you on some things you can do.

Since dealing with acne can be an exhausting and an anxious experience, trying some of these steps can also help the skin heal and the acne get better while trying to figure out your digestive problems.

Test For Low Stomach Acid

Now that we know that gut health affects the health of the skin and the possible outbreak of acne, beginning with a simple stomach acid test is an easy step to do. Using a test such as this allows you to discover the amount of acid in your stomach. 

If you conclude that levels are low, taking a supplement can help increase stomach acid levels. However, make sure you know levels or consult a doctor before trying to increase acid levels. Too much stomach acid also has unhealthy implications.

Make sure foods are being properly broken down (Digestive Enzymes)

Using a digestive enzyme supplement can be beneficial to anyone that needs more enzymes to break food down properly. Sometimes our bodies lack the enzymes necessary to digest food, and this can cause inflammation in the body.

There are many different types of enzymes. Some focus on helping to digest fats and some help digest proteins and so forth. Using a basic enzyme such as this may be a good starting point.

Strengthen the Stomach Lining

Leaky gut is the result of the stomach lining developing tiny holes in which food is able to make its way into the bloodstream. Once this happens, inflammation is triggered.

Adding supplements into your diet regimen such as marshmallow root and slippery elm can aid in coating the gut lining. We add them into shakes frequently.

Get Yeast Under Control

Yeast causes havoc on the body. It can bring rashes out and it can be a contributor to acne problems. One thing that has helped our family with yeast issues in the past is Boric Acid- this exact supplement.

It gets yeast under control lowering inflammation in the body. This has helped with the acne breakouts that often occur due to the inflammation.


Balancing bacteria in the body can help yeast issues and get digestive acne under control. Adding in beneficial gut bacteria with probiotics is helpful for many people.

It makes the gut flora well-balanced decreasing the onset of inflammation. These probiotics are safe for those with histamine issues. If you do not have histamine difficulties, adding in a healthy, no sugar yogurt or fermented foods is a great alternative as well.

Elimination Diet

It is amazing how much better your body will feel after a while when you stop eating foods that are creating systemic inflammation. These problematic foods will cause all sorts of problems with acne breakouts being one of them.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, balancing blood sugar levels helps the body not to get inflamed. Inflammation due to unbalanced blood sugar levels can increase sebum in the skin allowing bacteria to flourish and acne to occur.

Watch Histamine Levels

Histamines can be a trigger for some people. We noticed a link between histamine intake and acne flareups. Using the elimination diet above can be helpful in pinpointing if histamines are a difficulty or not. If they are, take the problematic foods out of your diet for several months and see if your skin clears up.

Help The Skin with topical treatments

Removing dead skin cells and making a path for new cells to form can help with problematic acne. It can also help the skin to heal from any acne scars. There are masks that can help and an aesthetician can offer suggestions.

Also, there are natural treatment options available which have shown improvement with acne prone skin. This article explains this option further.

These recommendations may not solve your digestive issues, however, they can help keep the bacteria in the skin under control in the mean time. Besides, it is healthy for the skin to be treated naturally.

Steering away from harsh chemicals and tropical treatments is something we do to best treat the skin. These chemicals can create problems with the skin's microbiome causing more acne issues in the long run.

Treating the root causes to digestive issues is important to get acne caused by digestive Problems under control. You will have clearer skin in no time and your body will become healthier and stronger in the long run.


  1. Thursby E, Juge N. Introduction to the human gut microbiota. Biochem J. 2017 May 16;474(11):1823-1836. doi: 10.1042/BCJ20160510. PMID: 28512250; PMCID: PMC5433529.
  2. Tanghetti EA. The role of inflammation in the pathology of acne. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2013 Sep;6(9):27-35. PMID: 24062871; PMCID: PMC3780801.
  3. Bowe WP, Logan AC. Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis - back to the future? Gut Pathog. 2011 Jan 31;3(1):1. doi: 10.1186/1757-4749-3-1. PMID: 21281494; PMCID: PMC3038963.
  4. Rao SSC, Bhagatwala J. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth: Clinical Features and Therapeutic Management. Clin Transl Gastroenterol. 2019 Oct;10(10):e00078. doi: 10.14309/ctg.0000000000000078. PMID: 31584459; PMCID: PMC6884350.
  5. https://integrative-medicine.ca/low-stomach-acid-sibo/
  6. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/helicobacter-pylori#
  7. Halliez MC, Buret AG. Gastrointestinal Parasites and the Neural Control of Gut Functions. Front Cell Neurosci. 2015 Nov 25;9:452. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2015.00452. PMID: 26635531; PMCID: PMC4658430.

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