Aesthetic Medicine
Aesthetic Medicine


The gut-skin connection

Maintaining healthy, blemishfree, and youthful skin can be challenging, as so many internal and environmental factors impact our skin on a daily basis. While many of us know that diet and nutrition play a significant role in skin health, the effect that gut bacteria can have on the skin is widely underestimated. Many illnesses, including skin conditions like acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, and more, can actually be traced back to inflammation or irritation stemming from an unhealthy gut. Therefore, addressing gut issues and healing from the inside can be the missing element of optimising skin health to address skin conditions.

For the gut to heal and rebalance itself, it needs amino acids to fuel and repair the damaged cells. Collagen is packed with huge servings of the types of amino acids our GI tract (gut wall) feeds on to repair itself. These super-nutrient amino acids help form connective tissue and therefore “seal and heal” the gut’s protective lining. Collagen has also been shown to reinforce the gut by making it more resistant to elastic stretching. This resistance is very important as excessive stretching makes the cells that comprise the gut lining misalign or sit further apart, eventually making the gut “leaky”. The fascinating blend of amino acids or protein building blocks in collagen also helps regulate stomach acid levels, aids with digestion and bowel movements, and improves the bacterial balance in the gut microbiome. By keeping the gut healthy and balanced, collagen may help treat the causal issues of skin conditions, such as cystic acne from the inside.

Enzymatically processed, hydrolysed collagen is the main ingredient of Totally Derma® Nutraceutical Collagen Drink Supplement. It has been specially formulated to reduce inflammation in the body to improve skin, hair, nail, joint, gut, bone, and menopausal health. Totally Derma® uses hydrolysed collagen that is absorbed by our gut more easily as the large collagen molecules are broken down into smaller amino acid peptide form. Bovine collagen has been selected for the formulation as it is best for leaky gut as it resembles the collagen found in our GI tract.

Baseline (January 2021)
Baseline (January 2021)

Inspired by the gut-skin communication and the role that collagen plays in it, Totally Derma® recruited a patient diagnosed with cystic acne to undergo a three-month trial of to see if it could help treat her skin.

Totally Derma® is a pharma-grade, nutraceutical supplement which supports anti-ageing of the skin from the inside; by stimulating the body’s optimum production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. It also contains an additional seven critical co-factors, which further enhance the benefits of oral collagen and hyaluronic acid. These include five powerful antioxidants: grape seed extract, green tea extract, vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid, zinc, manganese and copper.

The candidate had tried using both oral and topical antibiotics as well as various acne treatments but didn’t notice any improvements. She documented her journey through pictures and a mini-journal. Here are some highlights:

Week 1: “A drastic improvement after just one week! The infection is still there; however, the cysts were flatter than they had been in months. The swelling and redness had decreased as well as the pain. For the first time in months, I have hope that this will get better.”

Week 6: “I would say this is the best my skin has looked in a VERY long time and the happiest I have felt since being diagnosed with cystic acne. The largest and more problematic cyst on my lower right cheek is starting to shrink down drastically. I am noticing that I am getting far fewer new spots.”

After 6 weeks

Week 7/ Week 8: “My cysts have pretty much completely cleared up! I have had no drastic breakouts in weeks. I have even treated myself to a ‘make up day’ here and there. My make-up is sitting smooth to my face now that my cysts aren’t raised, and the dry skin has cleared up.”

Week 11: “I feel like the infection itself is completely done, and I am just left with scarring now. The scarring is getting better week by week. I am over the moon!”

Week 12: “Today marks the end of my 12-week course. I am so happy with the results. I am so relieved to have found the answer. My skin is clear of infection with just some scarring left, which is already starting to heal too. When I look back at the “before” pictures, I honestly cannot believe that’s what I used to look like.”

The acne has significantly cleared after 12 weeks

After the trial had ended, the candidate reported that her skin remained clear for two months. Three months after stopping Totally Derma®, her acne had returned, however not nearly as aggressive as before the trial. While this clinical study is only based on one patient’s experience, it demonstrates the significance of the gut-skin connection, showing how the causal issues of cystic acne can be treated internally via the gut.

Many illnesses, including skin conditions, such as acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, and more, can actually be traced back to inflammation or irritation stemming from an unhealthy gut

This article appears in the March 2022 Issue of Aesthetic Medicine

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This article appears in the March 2022 Issue of Aesthetic Medicine