Skin conditions are often made worse by internal inflammation and an imbalance within the gut. Poor digestion or food allergies (including those unknown to you) can cause inflammation and trigger a skin outbreak in people who have a genetic predisposition.
Eczema and other skin conditions including rashes, psoriasis and acne can have a real effect on confidence and may cause discomfort or even pain. Although it’s generally best to avoid dairy when suffering from a skin outbreak, kefir is one exception, thanks to its high probiotic content and low content of lactose.
Kefir can start to heal you from within, by reducing inflammation and helping with the elimination of toxins that burden your waste elimination organs, including the skin.
Eczema flare ups generally occur in people whose immune systems are run down. Probiotics have been linked to improved immune function, and scientists are finding that our gut has a much larger influence on the immune system than previously suspected.
Kefiran, a carbohydrate contained in kefir, has also been shown to aid the immune system and improve the quality of skin healing, plus a protective effect on connective tissue.
Pregnant women and new mums might want to make their sure their infants get a good dose of kefir or other probiotic, as scientists have found that babies and toddlers given probiotics were 57% less likely to develop atopic eczema as well as a whole range of common allergen sensitivities.
As well as “good” bacteria, another kefir component thought to help prevent eczema is the antibody Immunoglobulin E (IgE), involved in immune response that could inhibit allergen reactions that lead to conditions like eczema.
While the gut has a microbiome home to countless bacteria, we don’t often realize that our skin is also home to billions of microbes, and that we need to keep these in balance. The American Academy of Dermatology is currently researching the skincare benefits of various bacterial species and has said that probiotics have beneficial effects in curing acne and rosacea when applied topically to the skin. This is because the “good” bacteria are able to kill harmful bacteria that trigger inflammation, through a process called “bacterial interference.”
According to Dr. Roshini Raj, a gastroenterologist and founder of the probiotic-based skincare brand Tula, “Recent research suggests that when applied topically, probiotics secrete anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory substances that help with conditions like acne, eczema and rosacea.”
Kefir gel was found be effective in skin healing and anti-inflammatory effects when applied to mice, indicating that topical application may have a soothing effect on skin dermatitis. A few companies have sprung up, selling probiotic based skin care products made with kefir.
Welsh brand the Chuckling Goat was founded by Shann Jones, author of The Good Skin Solution to sell kefir for internal consumption as well as kefir-based skin care balms, lotions and soap to treat skin conditions including eczema. Her treatment plan incorporates both internal and external application of kefir to heal the skin from the inside, as well as the outside.
The brand Nayelle also sells probiotic based skincare, including moisturisers product made from 25% goats kefir. For topical use, kefir also contains AHAs which naturally exfoliate the skin as well as balancing pH levels on the skin. It also contains fats to hydrate and amino acids to provide an anti-oxidant like healing effect.