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  • Writer's pictureDr. Leslie Baumann

A High Fat Diet Has Been Shown to Play a Role in Skin Inflammation

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

I am sure that you discuss dietary factors with your rosacea patients. For years, we have told them to avoid spicy food, hot food, alcohol, caffeine, preserved meats, and other known triggers. However, we do not usually discuss the fat content of the diet. A new study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology demonstrations that a high fat diet can increase skin inflammation.

Gut Flora and Inflammation

Based on findings that altering the gut bacteria of mice can increase the severity of skin inflammation, researchers hypothesized that a high-fat diet (HFD) could change gut flora in a similar way and therefore also cause skin inflammation. As hypothesized, mice that were fed a HFD experienced a massive increase of IL17+Vg6+ in the skin, signaling significant inflammation. Researchers found that this effect could be reversed using gut-specific antibiotics or by blocking IL-1 signaling.

Although further research is needed, these findings suggest that there is a strong connection between gut bacteria and the delicate microbiome of the skin. Since gut flora can be altered through diet, patients with chronic inflammatory conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, and acne should pay close attention to the foods they eat, in addition to the topical products they use. Patients who are struggling to manage rosacea flares may benefit from limiting the fat content of their diets, while also avoiding the known triggers listed above and using a customized skin care regimen.

Probiotics and Rosacea

As these findings suggest, adding the right living organisms to the gastrointestinal tract could have a profound effect on systemic inflammation throughout the body, including the skin. We are still learning more about which probiotics to use to have this effect. Still, one study found that by effectively treating bacterial overgrowths in the gut such as SIBO and hypochlorhydria, rosacea symptoms on the skin are also positively affected.

Similar studies have found links between various oral probiotics and improvements in acne and atopic dermatitis symptoms, further emphasizing the connection between gut and skin microbiomes.

In Summary

Exciting new research is being done to learn more about the relationship between the GI system and the skin. As we begin to understand more about the ways in which specific probiotics can influence gut and skin microbiota, new treatment approaches can be developed that would target the underlying inflammation associated with rosacea and other inflammatory skin conditions.

In the meantime, make sure your rosacea patients understand the unique characteristics of their skin and how to properly care for it. The Skin Type Solutions system can be an invaluable tool to help you diagnose each patient’s skin type and provide them with step-by-step instructions for the proper skin care regimen. Combined with other treatment methods like trigger avoidance and new prescription medication such as Rhofade™, dietary and skin care changes could have a positive impact on overall skin health and appearance.

You can learn more about how Skin Type Solutions works to help you provide customized skin care plans on, or send your questions to

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