The Gut-Skin Connection | Skin Stories

February 22, 2021
Skin Stories: The Correlation Between the Gut & Our Skin

Dr. Zenovia Skincare aims to showcase the stories of real people. Hormones have a huge impact on our skin’s health throughout life’s various stages. In this post, Lindsay shares her personal story of dealing with stomach issues and the effects on her skin. Everyone has a unique perspective and story to share. 

The Gut & Our Skin

A few years ago, I was battling debilitating stomach issues. I was diagnosed with chronic gastritis, reflux esophagitis, and acid reflux. Exhausted and in pain, I was bedridden and had lost 15 pounds. In an attempt to help me, doctors prescribed me a proton pump inhibitor (acid reflux medicine), and within two weeks, I was even sicker! I had aches and pains all over my body, my stomach hurt worse, and I developed a painful red rash all over my face with breakouts on my body. At that moment, I realized there was a correlation between this medicine, my skin, and my stomach.

It took me a few years of lifestyle changes and discontinuing the medicine to heal! Through this ordeal, I had realized that the cause of my issues was not typical acid reflux but other factors in my life, and that’s why I was getting worse.

That leads me to the question, is there a connection between the gut and our skin? And can we learn to understand our bodies better from the two? I spoke to Dr. Zenovia to find out.

Dr. Zenovia explains, “The way to think about the relationship between skin health and gut health is from an inflammatory standpoint. The GI system and the skin are contiguous, right? So if you just take your skin and wrap it around your mouth, it's like all the same organ system. So the skin and the GI system are contiguous, and they're both considered the largest immune organs.”

She added, “When you have any kind of inflammation in the body, headaches, joint pain, or chronic gastritis, what happens is you elevate your inflammatory mediators, and your body is kind of under attack. So, because your skin is one of the largest immune organs in the body, your skin can exacerbate certain conditions.” Her example, “Think about people that have a virus, little kids who get a viral illness will end up getting a fever and then a week later their body gets fully red. Well, it's not that the virus caused the rash; what happened is the virus infected your body, your body mounted an immune response, and that immune response is now showing up on your skin.”

This statement made so much sense as to why I was having so many reactions! It was an immune response to inflammation. But there was an additional component; I also started a new medication.


“When I see someone who has a new rash that they've never had before, and they recently started medication, I automatically think drug eruption. Normally, I would treat that drug eruption by two things: I would say stop the medication and biopsy the skin to determine if it’s a drug reaction or is it some other underlying skin disorder that appears during stressful situations like eczema or psoriasis?” Dr. Zenovia shared.

Had I known these things, I could have potentially healed much quicker!

Looking back on my experience, I wish I had seen a dermatologist, like Dr. Zenovia, in addition to a GI doctor for my symptoms. My skin was there to notify me and say, “Hey, look, something is going on inside your body, we’re trying to fight it, look into it!” A dermatologist could have biopsied the skin to determine the exact cause. I would have known right then and there if I was reacting to the medication, I could have gotten more tips for my lifestyle changes and had another piece of my healing puzzle.

My skin reaction after taking medication & being sick (Feb. 2019): 

According to Dr. Zenovia, “People don't realize that the skin's natural evolutionary function prevents things from going in. When you have inflammation, your barrier is defective, and that skin is supposed to be tight and prevent things from going in. Still, when you have inflammation, the barrier gets compromised. You should start focusing on barrier repair therapy. Barrier repair therapy is basic: You don't want to over-dry your skin, you don't want to over-wash your skin, and you want to moisturize it with products that have ceramides.” Dr. Zenovia suggests trying her Peptide + Ceramide Repairing Moisturizer which contains a unique combination of bio-equivalent ceramides, potent humectants, and emollients that help attract, retain, and distribute moisture to fortify the skin’s protective barrier and fight dryness.

Today I am thankful I am in a much healthier place & thanks to Dr. Zenovia, in the last three months of using her products my skin is glowing!

Repairing Skin Inflammation 

Now that my stomach is healed, I still am still working on repairing the inflammation on my skin. I have been using Dr. Zenovia’s Bakuchiol Hydrating Cleanser, Peptide + Ceramide Repairing Moisturizer, and her Inflam-Aging Night Repair Treatment for the past three months and have seen my skin come back to life!*

*Note: Dr. Zenovia has not treated me and did not treat me at the time of my stomach issues. This is my current skincare routine.

Dr. Zenovia reminds us, “We want to make sense of things. That's what gives us our intelligent brain, and so we try to make connections, but a lot of times, the story's more complicated than what we give credit to.”


Written by Lindsay Hoffman, Journalist, Blogger, TV Host, and the Co-Founder of MashupLA


Shop Dr. Zenovia Skincare at Sephora