Copyright ©The Author(s) 2017. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Dermatol. Nov 2, 2017; 6(4): 52-58
Published online Nov 2, 2017. doi: 10.5314/wjd.v6.i4.52
Skin-gut axis: The relationship between intestinal bacteria and skin health
Alexandra R Vaughn, Manisha Notay, Ashley K Clark, Raja K Sivamani
Alexandra R Vaughn, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19129, United States
Alexandra R Vaughn, Manisha Notay, Ashley K Clark, Raja K Sivamani, UC Davis Department of Dermatology, Sacramento, CA 95816, United States
Author contributions: All authors equally contributed to this paper with the design, literature review and analysis, drafting and critical revision and editing and final approval of the final version.
Conflict-of-interest statement: No potential conflict of interest. No financial support.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Raja K Sivamani, MD, UC Davis Department of Dermatology, 3301 C Street, Suite 1400, Sacramento, CA 95816, United States.
Telephone: +1-916-7346550
Received: March 12, 2017
Peer-review started: March 15, 2017
First decision: May 12, 2017
Revised: September 7, 2017
Accepted: October 15, 2017
Article in press: October 16, 2017
Published online: November 2, 2017

The gut microbiome is an emerging area of interest in medicine. Imbalances in the gut microbiome have been linked to a number of disease states such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. The relationship between normally residing intestinal bacteria (the gut microbiota) and their potential role in the pathogenesis of skin diseases is an area of research for which we are only beginning to understand. Small studies have demonstrated underlying changes in the gut microbiome of patients with certain dermatological diseases. Interestingly, studies suggest that probiotics may have a role in the treatment of atopic dermatitis. However, the concept of the “skin-gut axis” is a newly emerging and important avenue of investigation, still lacking in pathobiological explanations. This review will introduce and describe the intestinal microbiome as it relates to skin health in a complex communication network between the immune system, endocrine system, metabolic system, and nervous system.

Keywords: Gut microbiome, Skin, Bacteria, Probiotics, Dermatology

Core tip: The intestinal microbiome is a complex and dynamic bacterial community that plays an important role in human health. Alterations in microbiota composition have been related to different intestinal and extra-intestinal diseases such as psoriasis and rosacea. Studies have reported beneficial interactions between the human body and its microbiota and modulation through prebiotics and probiotics may prevent or resolve such diseases. Although the mechanisms for how the gut and skin communicate are not fully understood the association likely involves a complex connection between the nervous, immune, and endocrine systems as well as environmental factors.