Leaky Skin or Leaky Gut???

Leaky Skin or Leaky Gut??

One goal I have for The Allergy Life community is to learn about new, life-changing research. I came across some this week and it has my head spinning! I’m not a physician by any stretch, but have been leaning in as much as possible to research physicians in the skin health industry. I share below some of the largest takeaways from this concept I have been learning about. I’ll entitle it simple Leaky Gut or Leaky Skin? If you know someone who just had a baby – pay CLOSE attention.

It’s important to note that in the United States we haven’t had any new laws/regulations in the beauty trade since the 1930s. In fact, the laws passed then pushed regulation to the trade themselves. Want to know who regulates the Beauty Industry in the USA? The Beauty Industry. Wonder why every day your best friend is marketing a new product to you for your sensitive skin, rosacea skin, your eczema child – um… $$$. They’re not personally profiting a bunch, but that company they’re representing, well of course they are. When a trade regulates itself guess what happens? No regulation. And companies are releasing new products every single day to address every concern we have and why wouldn’t they? Companies in the beauty industry don’t have to comply to strict guidelines so money is easy. And we’re easy to sell to.

When I was first diagnosed with Type IV Delayed Immune Response Fragrance Allergy in 2006, my dermatologist simply told me – stay away from fragrance. I thought – well easy. I don’t wear perfume anyway. In 2006, the internet wasn’t abounding with info. There weren’t Facebook groups for me to search to ask questions. I knew no one else with my odd allergy. I just did my best to avoid the one ingredient – Fragrance. I didn’t realize there are hundreds of chemical names for fragrance. About 2 months after diagnosis enter my good friend selling her Multi-level INCREDIBLE skin care line. Dannyelle – it’s great, it’s all natural. Organic, pure. I don’t know I say. I’m allergic to fragrance. There’s NO fragrance in here she said. It’s pure, safe. I gave it a go not understanding at the time that botanical extracts and organic fragrance is still just fragrance to my immune system. I was injuring myself and teaching my immune system to be highly specialized in fragrance allergy – side note that my fragrance mix allergy is one of my worst on my recent patch test in 2019. Awesome.

Our immediate gut reaction in the US lately is to head straight to the most natural, organic options available to us or to cut Gluten out of our diet anytime a skin reaction or gut reaction occurs. What if the best thing we could actually do is stop putting 25 products on our skin and our children’s skin everyday and wash less? Have you ready Dr. Sandy Skotnicki’s book yet, Beyond Soap? Read it.

Do you know most of us come in contact with more than 600 chemicals a day, layer after layer. Some from our body wash, some shampoo, then our laundry soap residue from our clothes, our deodorant, if you’re a lady there’s your cream and serum and then several layers of makeup, then the essential oil blend diffused over you as you drive to work, a few hundred more chemicals in the office from everyone else’s personal care products. They’re all airborne chemical molecules and they all land on our skin, the largest organ in our body, and they all have to be dealt with as they are absorbed. I believe this is all part of our skin microbiome. The research is early, but great. I include it below.

Currently there are 9.6 Million Children in the US with Atopic Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) – The recent rise is so high, it cannot simply be explained by genetics alone. Is it environmental? Could it be allergic over-sensitization from this insane daily ritual of over exposure to fragrance we have? When asked why they put fragrance in personal care products, a large beauty retailer simply stated due to consumer demand. We’re doing this to ourselves creating a marketplace full of fragranced product. Fragrance is NOT needed in personal care products – there is no beneficial need.

Dermatologists do know that Fragrance is #1 cause of reactions & exacerbations of skin disease. It’s actually NOT FOOD as many are quick to think! Your rash or your child’s rash/eczema is not always food related, your shampoo and body wash might be a better culprit to take a look at.

A real question is, Q: Where does fragrance come from? Fragrances are mostly plant based essences. A common myth is that an organic fragrance chemical of lavender is safer than a synthetic fragrance chemical of lavender. Fragrance is Fragrance, Synthetic or Organic. Their molecules are identical and therefore the same to our immune systems. I know this as I have a diagnosed Type IV Delayed Immune System allergy to fragrance. I will always have it. An immune system never forgets.

Organic Fragrance = Fragrance
Synthetic Fragrance = Fragrance
Chemical Molecules are identical

Fragrance has no place in skin care or being on the skin at all. Fragrance Aggravates Rosacea. Fragrance Aggravates Eczema. Fragrance Aggravates Psoriasis.

In fact, Organic Fragrance Chemicals Lavender and Tea Tree Oil have been shown to disrupt hormones in young boys. Please understand the science behind what you’re using on your skin, your largest organ in your body. Understand what you’re doing to your skin microbiome. Understand that Natural and Organic is still a chemical. Everything, after all, is a chemical.

Many times by simply removing ALL fragrance and botanical extracts from personal care products a person’s eczema GOES AWAY. Stop using fragrance. Please.

Especially for babies. Recent, early research in the skin microbiome is showing that infant skin, if left alone for the first 6 months of life, drastically reduces eczema, food allergies and asthma – what’s called the atopic march, progressing to asthma, allergic rhinitis, and allergic conjunctivitis. The work is early, but is showing once the skin is washed with soap, a disruption in the skin microbiome occurs. This disruption can allow anything near the skin to leak in. Similar to leaky gut which we all hear about, our vigorous washing of our own skin is causing leaky skin. The early work is showing this could be why there is such an uptick in food allergies and atopic dermatitis in young children. The daily detergent we’re introducing into the microbiome is setting our children up for a horrible life of skin disease. An immature immune system of infants doesn’t know what to fight, it has to be taught. Researchers believe by breaking down the skin of infants with washing, their immune systems are being trained to fight what they see – fragrance in their body wash and laundry soap, peanut dust, diary proteins, the list goes on and on. The research also noted that by simply moisturizing our infants for the first 6 months, we can help keep that barrier in tact as well. Minimal ingredient, purified moisturizes without any botanical or fragrance chemicals like mineral oil are best suited. Cosmetics-grade mineral oil and petrolatum are considered the safest, most non-sensitizing moisturizing ingredients ever found. They are known to be efficacious in skin replenishing and are among the most effective and established moisturizing ingredients available.

There is also a novel concept of modifying skin and gut microbiome by applying moisturizers that contain nonpathogenic biomass or probiotic supplementation during early years. That this could be a preventive and therapeutic option in high risk groups, but it currently lacks evidence – the research is early.

I’m not a physician, but if there is a chance that by taking a non-essential ingredient out of my personal care products and the ones I use on my children. Well. My answer is easy. I will.

“This review discusses the nature of the skin and gut flora in AD, possible mechanisms of skin–gut interaction, and the therapeutic implications of microbiome correction in AD. AD starts in early childhood and is usually the first manifestation of the atopic march, progressing to asthma, allergic rhinitis, and allergic conjunctivitis.” Microbiome of the Skin and Gut in Atopic Dermatitis


Read this research here:

Microbiome of the Skin and Gut in Atopic Dermatitis (AD): Understanding the Pathophysiology and Finding Novel Management Strategies



  1. Holly
    February 18, 2021 / 9:07 pm

    Very thought provoking. Thank you for linking the research you reference!

  2. Dee
    February 18, 2021 / 9:09 pm

    Very thought provoking. Thank you for linking the research you reference!