I mentioned a while ago about the interesting trial in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology in which they studied people with rosacea. They noticed a high prevalence of intestinal bacteria overgrowth in about half of the rosacea patients and effectively cured most of them by administering a strong intestinal antibiotic called rifaximin–exciting news to say the least. I immediately got highly interested in this potential link between the gut and skin. However, I looked around and there have not been any studies like this done on acne patients.

So, I decided to guinea pig myself. Acne and rosacea are not the same disease, but they have similarities, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to get checked myself for intestinal bacteria overgrowth. I went to multiple doctors and finally found one who would refer me to the right GI (gastrointestinal) specialist who agreed to administer gut bacteria tests on me. The first test was a stool test called the Stool H. Pylori Antigen test. Yeah, gross. And the second was a three hour breath test called a Lactulose Hydrogen Breath Test. Both came out negative.

The search continues, but I find the gut/acne connection to be potentially an interesting area of research. If any of you have intestinal issues such as cramping, bloating, gas, etc. and get checked for intestinal bacteria overgrowth including what they call SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth) or H. pylori, please let me know. If you take rifaxamin for it, I’d also love to know how your skin reacts afterward.


Leave a Reply

  • Voce

    That’s interesting. Would be interested in hearing more about the skin/gut connection.

    Just recently read about a small clinical trial that showed the same drug (brand name Xifaxan) helpful for IBS: *link edited out*

  • Voce

    Oops, sorry. That link above is an old one that someone sent me. Apparently, the FDA finally approved the drug for IBS use.

  • m

    I am new to your website. I am quite impressed because you bring academic research to the public community.

  • The Conscious Life

    Bacteria, good or bad, exist inside and on the body. I won’t be surprised if there’s a connection between bacteria and acne. It’s a good idea to keep the bad ones in control and introduce more of the good bacteria into our body by eating natural probiotic foods: *link edited out*

  • Andrew

    rifaximan helped my acne out substantially. I have IBS.

    • Anonymous

      Can I ask you a question, I am taking the same medicine for ibs I would like to ask you when you saw results for your acne. Please contact me at kanndoherty@gmail.com


  • Allison


    There is a definite link between gut bacteria and acne.

    Antibiotics kill off bacteria which aid in removal of toxins from the body. When this ability is reduced, the body attempts to remove toxins through the skin in the form of oil. THis process often leads to blocked pores, resulting in acne.

    By taking pre- or probiotics, the natural bacteria in the gut is restored, resulting in lessening of acne.

    For more information on curing acne, go to *link edited out*

  • Eileen

    In my case, there seemed to be a connection (but I also believe that there is definitely more than one cause for acne).

    It’s a long story but here’s the short of mine…I had to take antibiotics for a skin staph infection. Everything cleared then weeks later, my face was completely covered with acne (the angry, red kind); before this, I only suffered the occassional whitehead. Took me months before I found this site. The Regimen helped but I had to keep doing it (skipped even a day and I was in trouble).

    More research…then finally went to a doctor (naturopath actually) and asked her if she thought I needed to replenish my flora. She agreed and prescribed a pharmaceutical grade probiotics with a potent amount (something like 12 million parts). Now I’m back to normal (better actually), but the Treatment is great for that occassional spot treatment 🙂

    My research revealed a lot of the same info that was mentioned above. What I found (or at least surmised) from one source though was that the same balance of flora that’s in your gut should also exist on your skin.

  • Joris

    A lot of people on the holistic forum found a strong connection between it. I think it can be a cause. But doesnt have to be a cause for an individual.

  • april

    I believe there is a strong connection between the skin and the gut. I suspect the connection for me is related to the amount of seratonin in the gut–not necessarily bacteria. I suffer from depression and I noticed when I take prozac 5 mg that the gut works fine, is regular, and my skin is fine. When I take 10 mg, the gut stops working, constipation is horrible, and the skin is horrible. According to an article I read, seratonin uptake inhibitors prevent seratonin from leaving the brain and being used by the gut. With the 10 mg of prozac, the skin suffers horrible, painful cystic acne. This link briefly discusses the brain/gut connection (though it doesn’t mention acne): http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199905/our-second-brain-the-stomach. The link between Prozac, the gut, and acne is my own determination after dealing with this problem from age 35 to 45.

  • Michelle

    I have struggled significantly with acne and gas/bloating/diarrhea/cramping/etc. especially when I move to new areas. I have never really conquered my gut issues or acne issues, and just recently had a flare up of acne that has brought on an entirely horrific bout of IBS issues. I am currently cutting out dairy and sugars/simple carbs. and ramping up my probiotics to see if this clears up both–let you all know how it goes.

  • MedullaPancreas

    All the major antibiotic drugs for acne (minocycline, tetracycline, accutane) are all orally administered into the stomach, so there is a definite a connection between gut and skin. Perhaps the industrialized diet is to blame. Only time and persistance will tell.