Victoria Frankel

Skin Problems? What Your Dermatologist Might Not Tell You

Nov 25, 2019

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The gut microbiome is only one of several bacterial ecosystems you can find in and on your body. We’re actually covered in microbes from head to toe; in our mouths, gut, lungs, biliary tract, and on our skin. The skin microbiome contains an entire ecosystem of microbes that help maintain many functions that keep our skin healthy and serve as the first protective defense against infection.


From Head to Toe

Our skin is the largest organ on our body and accounts for 15% of our body weight. The average person has 300 million skin cells, which pales in comparison to the number of microbes: some scientists put it at nearly 1 billion just on top of our skin(1)! Our skin microbes are very active in producing antimicrobial agents that help keep us healthy and even direct immune responses to fight infection.

When you're struggling with skin problems - whether it’s blemishes, rashes, unexplained acne that pops up out of nowhere - the first person you think to ask for answers is usually a dermatologist. Dermatologists have known that the microbial populations on your skin can play a significant role in your skin health, even influencing many skin diseases such as acne vulgaris, eczema, and psoriasis. But what most dermatologists may not tell you is that many skin conditions stem from issues within your gut. In reality, the roles of the gut and the skin are very similar, where both are highly innervated organs functioning as a protective barrier against illness. Both impact neuroendocrine and immune function and may even be indirectly linked. Changes in our diet have been shown to not only impact the flora of microbes in our gut but influence the microbes on our skin in similar ways(2).

If you suffer from chronic skin conditions and consulted a dermatologist, they might prescribe ointments enriched with chemicals or pharmaceutical agents to stabilize your skin health. If they were particularly up-to-date, they might even suggest creams with microbes to help stabilize your skin health, where studies have shown improvement of atopic dermatitis symptoms(3). It’s one thing to treat the symptom, and another to find the underlying cause.

Now, if you consulted a gastroenterologist, your doctor might be able to tell you that your skin issues are food-related, but most don't realize just how powerful the connection between the gut microbiome and skin appearance is. This is because gut microbiome research has only been able to dive deep into the functions of the 40 trillion microorganisms living in your gut over the last 10 years. 

Due to metatranscriptomic technology, researchers are able to see what’s actually happening in your gut. Moreover, what scientists have uncovered is that the microbes living in your gut affect the appearance of your skin via the gut-skin axis. Several studies have even shown just that(4-8).

This is just the beginning of tantalizing evidence supporting how regulating the gut microbiome can have beneficial effects on our skin. 

Looks like beauty starts from the inside out… quite literally. 


Why Your Normal Skin Creams Aren’t Cutting It

When your gut microbiome is off balance it can cause inflammation and outward reactions that show up on your skin. This imbalance - called gut dysbiosis - and has been linked to all sorts of skin conditions such as:

  1. Eczema

  2. Rosacea

  3. Acne 

  4. Psoriasis

  5. Dandruff

  6. Alopecia

  7. Vitiligo

So, if you've tried a bunch of different skin creams without any luck, and your dermatologist is at a loss- you might want to consider checking in with your gut. 


The Unexpected Perks of Viome

We’ve heard from so many of our Viome users the unexpected benefits of their personalized dietary recommendations. Often, switching to a better diet made just for you can have more effects than you expected: and for so many, it helped with their skin. 

We’ve had reports that Eczema patches have cleared up, and dry spots gone. We’ve even had users like Michaela who struggled for years with skin health.

Michaela had been wrestling with acne for 8 years. She’d gone to multiple doctors and tried many solutions throughout her life. 

It wasn’t until she signed up for Viome testing that she was able to finally find a diet perfectly suited to her gut microbiome, and as a result, cleared up her acne. 

She’s not alone, either! Get started today and see what your Viome recommendations will do for you. We're excited to hear your story! 


*The information on the Viome website is provided for informational purposes only and with the understanding that Viome is not engaged in rendering medical advice or recommendations. Viome is providing this educational information to share the exciting developments being reported in the scientific literature about the human microbiome and your health. Viome products are not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease.


  1. Fuochi V, Li Volti G, Camiolo G, et al. Antimicrobial and Anti-Proliferative Effects of Skin Mucus Derived from Dasyatis pastinaca (Linnaeus, 1758). Mar Drugs. 2017;15. 

  2. Lee YB, Byun EJ, Kim HS. Potential Role of the Microbiome in Acne: A Comprehensive Review. J Clin Med. 2019 Jul 7;8(7).

  3. Kang BS, Seo JG, Lee GS, Kim JH, Kim SY, Han YW, Kang H, Kim HO, Rhee JH, Chung MJ, Park YM. Antimicrobial activity of enterocins from Enterococcus faecalis SL-5 against Propionibacterium acnes, the causative agent in acne vulgaris, and its therapeutic effect. J Microbiol. 2009 Feb;47(1):101-9.

  4. Kang BS, Seo JG, Lee GS, Kim JH, Kim SY, Han YW, Kang H, Kim HO, Rhee JH, Chung MJ, Park YM. Antimicrobial activity of enterocins from Enterococcus faecalis SL-5 against Propionibacterium acnes, the causative agent in acne vulgaris, and its therapeutic effect. J Microbiol. 2009 Feb;47(1):101-9.

  5. Yu Y, Dunaway S, Champer J, Kim J, Alikhan A. Changing our microbiome: probiotics in dermatology. Br J Dermatol. 2019 May 3.

  6. Catinean A, Neag MA, Mitre AO, Bocsan CI, Buzoianu AD. Microbiota and Immune-Mediated Skin Diseases-An Overview. Microorganisms. 2019 Aug 21;7(9).

  7. Muizzuddin N, Maher W, Sullivan M, Schnittger S, Mammone T. Physiological effect of a probiotic on skin. J Cosmet Sci. 2012 Nov-Dec;63(6):385-95.

  8. Strugar TL, Kuo A, Seité S, Lin M, Lio P. Connecting the Dots: From Skin Barrier Dysfunction to Allergic Sensitization, and the Role of Moisturizers in Repairing the Skin Barrier. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019 Jun 1;18(6):581.

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Skin Problems? What Your Dermatologist Might Not Tell You

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