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Could a goat help treat your rosacea?

This month’s Inside Out Beauty is about the experience of my friend Ellie Good (responsible for all my lovely logos and the wonderful EggMag back in the day!). When Ellie saw that I was doing a new feature on inside out beauty, she got in touch because of the brilliant results she was having with a long term skin condition thanks to a cleaner diet and the introduction of kefir.

In Ellie’s word’s – “I started getting rosacea after my daughter was born, which came and went fairly quickly and without explanation as far as I could see. A year later, I had a small operation, and a week after that, the rosacea came back in full force. The doctor prescribed a 3 month course of antibiotics, which made a small difference, but not enough to continue. (In my late 20s, I’d been diagnosed with ‘adult acne’ which I now realise was rosacea – a different thing. I had 6 months of antibiotics, which got rid of it).

I decided to see a nutritionist, who got me eating ‘clean’ and put me on some good probiotics. She believes that my history of being prescribed strong antibiotics at various points in my life (I had salmonella and two subsequent bad bouts of food poisoning in my early 20s and then the adult acne thing in my late 20s) had completely stripped my stomach of all its good bacteria. So I embarked on this food journey and I not only found that avoiding gluten and dairy made me feel so much better, but my son’s eczema got better and my red nose and spotty cheeks slowly started to clear up. After a couple of months, we discussed using Chuckling Goat Kefir. These are strong probiotics, which you buy online in a 3 week course. Within a couple of weeks, the rosacea ‘triggers’ had stopped causing flushing and within about 3 months, my skin had almost entirely cleared up! I don’t think I’m completely cured – not yet anyway – and when I drink too much or eat badly on a weekend, I have a set back, but I now wouldn’t freak out when the doorbell goes and I’ve not yet put my foundation on.”

We are seeing so much everywhere now about gut health and how it can affect everything. In this video Shann, the founder of Chuckling Goat, uses an analogy of Yellowstone Park and its wolf population to explain brilliantly that our guts are a mini eco-system that needs balance to function properly. Without balance, everything can go wrong. So many of our guts are out of kilter thanks to things like modern living, stress and antibiotics to name just a few culprits. There is much research going on finding links to gut health and our overall health. For example in the video, Shann also explains that rosacea is not a skin condition but an auto-immune condition and needs to be treated via the gut, not just topically via the skin. This is so true for any aspect of our skin health. We can’t just treat it with skin products, we need to think very carefully about what we are putting in our bodies as well.

So what is kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk drink that originated in Russia. “It contains ‘non-transient’ bacteria that survive the digestive process and powerfully impact the gut microbiome.” Your microbiome is 2kg (!!) of bacteria that sits inside your gut. “These (friendly bacteria) break down your food and turn it into the building blocks for bones, skin, muscles and organs”. So when these little things go out of sync, our whole systems get messed up. Kefir contains many strains of good bacteria that will help to repopulate your gut with the good stuff. Chuckling Goat Kefir is made from goat’s milk which “has a different protein profile than cow’s milk, which makes it more compatible with human physiology and easier to digest. Kefir is 100% lactose free as it is all consumed during the fermentation process.”

Ellie has seen wonderful results by using taking kefir to look after her gut health and there are many testimonials on the Chuckling Goat website. I asked them for a few tips on who else could benefit and how..

If someone is taking the kefir for a particular skin concern, can you stop the treatment after the condition has cleared up or would you recommend it continuously after that to keep it at bay?

We recommend a minimum of 3 courses consecutively to begin with (this tends to be the average needed for most clients!). In an ideal world, we’d recommend drinking kefir every day, however, that’s not always feasible for everyone so, following seeing the results the client is looking for, it’s advisable they then take 1 course 4-8 times a year to keep the gut in good working order and topped up with beneficial bacterias and probiotics. 

If someone has no particular skin concerns what kind of benefit might they see from taking the kefir?

Kefir is great for all auto-immune conditions (this just means issues stemming from the gut) as it works to repopulate the microbiome with the healthy balance of good bacteria it needs to function properly, so symptoms connected to your gut health will alleviate. Kefir can also boost the immune system, improve energy levels and reduce inflammation around the body.

Would you recommend Kefir all the time or could you do a treatment seasonally for example?

We drink kefir every day here on the farm – we’re super busy so need that kick start in the morning! 😉 Ideally, everyone would drink kefir daily, however, for financial or other reasons, not everyone can so seasonal ‘top-ups’ are advisable. 

I’ve dabbled in Kefir – I was given some grains and made my own for a while using organic cow’s milk. I never quite got into the rhythm though and didn’t change the milk as often as I should – that said the grains didn’t die, they carried on doing their thing!! Hearing Ellie’s positive experience and reading about the Chuckling Goat does make me think more about it again. I randomly buy a cow’s one from Riverford but I’m not sure that is enough to make a difference after reading more into it, maybe need to try more…

Thank you very much Ellie for sharing your experience! What do you think – are you a Kefir drinker? Is it something you’d like to try?