Targeting the gut-skin axis-Probiotics as new tools for skin disorder management?

Exp Dermatol. 2019 Nov;28(11):1210-1218. doi: 10.1111/exd.14016. Epub 2019 Aug 28.


The existence of a gut-skin axis is supported by increasing evidence, but its translational potential is not widely recognized. Studies linked inflammatory skin diseases to an imbalanced gut microbiome; hence, the modulation of the gut microbiota to improve skin condition seems to be a feasible approach. Today, there is a growing interest in natural products as alternatives to synthetic drugs. In this respect, oral probiotics could be a simple, safe and cheap modality in the therapeutic management of skin inflammation. Unfortunately, very few studies have looked into how probiotic supplementation influences inflammatory skin disorders. The result, though promising, are difficult to implement in clinical practice due to the heterogeneity of the applied supplemental regimen in the different studies. In this Viewpoint, we aim to encourage the conduction of more research in that direction to explore unambiguously the therapeutic potential of oral probiotics in dermatology. We focus on the most common inflammatory skin diseases (atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, rosacea, acne vulgaris) with an associated gut dysbiosis, but we also discuss some less common, but very serious skin pathologies (eg erythema nodosum, pyoderma gangrenosum, hidradenitis suppurativa) that are possibly linked to a disturbed gut flora composition. We dissect the possible mechanisms along the gut-skin axis and highlight novel points where probiotics could interfere in this communication in the diseased state.

Keywords: atopic dermatitis; inflammatory skin diseases; pathogenesis; psoriasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Humans
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Skin Diseases / therapy*