Look and Feel Your Best at Any Age

by David Sandstrom 

November 1, 2023

The gut lining and the skin are similar in form and function. They both protect us from the outside world. Just as we should pay attention to our gut microbiome, we should also be nurturing our skin microbiome as well.

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Show Notes


Today's Guests...

  • PhD Biologist Yug Varma

Topics Discussed...w / Time Stamps

  • 10:56 The role of the skin microbiome in conditions like acne
  • 21:29 Prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics explained
  • 20:58 Why harsh acne treatments often backfire
  • 32:30 Clinical research behind phage technology for acne. delivery methods
  • 35:52 Tips for simplifying your skincare routine

Scroll through the text below to read a summary of our conversation.

Episode Summary

In this episode of the Natural Health Matters podcast, host David Sandstrom interviews Dr. Yug Varma, a microbiologist and microbiome expert, about the connections between gut health, skin health, and the microbiome.

David explains that the gut and skin are closely related organs that both serve to protect us from the outside world. He says supporting gut health through avoiding unnecessary antibiotics helps maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria, which also benefits the skin. Antibiotics disrupt the microbiome of both the gut and skin by killing off all bacteria, not just the harmful ones.

The skin has its own microbiome that occupies “parking spaces” on the skin, crowding out bad bacteria. The bacteria on our skin serve as a protective barrier. David uses the analogy of a lawn - if the “grass” or good bacteria is sparse, it allows room for “weeds” or bad bacteria to grow.

A major cause of acne is overgrowth of the bacteria Cutibacterium acnes. Acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide kill all bacteria on the skin, wiping out the protective microbiome over time and allowing Cutibacterium acnes to overpopulate. This often leads to acne coming back after initial improvement.

Dr. Varma explains the differences between prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics. Prebiotics promote the growth of good bacteria or “probiotics.” Postbiotics are beneficial compounds produced by probiotics. He recommends eating fermented foods as the best source of probiotics.

The skin absorbs products placed on it into the bloodstream, so being selective about skincare ingredients is important. Overuse of hand sanitizers, especially outside of healthcare settings, can disrupt the microbiome towards more harmful bacteria.

Dr. Varma’s company Phyla uses bacteria phages - viruses that kill bacteria without affecting human cells - to target Cutibacterium acnes. Clinical trials show the phages balance the skin microbiome and improve acne without side effects. The Phyla system includes a gentle cleanser, serum with phages, and lightweight moisturizer.

In summary, supporting the microbiome of the gut and skin through avoiding antibiotics and harsh antimicrobial products can help maintain clear, healthy skin. Targeted solutions like phage technology may provide acne relief without disrupting the skin’s natural balance. Simplifying skincare routines also allows the microbiome to rebalance itself.

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About the author 

David Sandstrom

I want to help you maximize your health potential so you can look and feel your best at any age. We do this by aligning our lives more fully with God's natural design for our spirit, mind, and body. I've been helping people maximize their health potential since 2005.

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