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Beauty Begins in the Belly

The Beauty Chef founder Carla Oates preaches a probiotic beauty philosophy.

Beauty begins in the belly — at least, according to the gospel of Carla Oates, founder of The Beauty Chef.

“Did you know that people who have acne and rosacea are 10 times more likely to have gut issues? And that 34 percent of people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome show skin manifestations?” Oates posited to the audience. “Inflammation in the gut is associated with premature aging in the body.”

Oates, an Australia native and former beauty editor, realized the impact food can have on skin and well-being at young age. She suffered from allergies and eczema as a child, and a naturopath eliminated processed foods, gluten and dairy from her diet early on. When her daughter displayed symptoms of allergies and eczema, Oates found research that linked gut health to eczema and allergies. “I decided to put my family on a gut-healing protocol — eliminating certain foods from our diet, and introducing gut loving probiotic rich, kefir kimchi and sauerkraut. As I experimented more and more with these foods, I knew I was on to something.” 

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Oates’ daughter’s allergies improved, and she started getting compliments on her glowing skin. “I started becoming the local pusher and supplier of lacto-fermented foods,” said Oates.

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The Beauty Chef was born in 2009. The brand’s assortment includes cult products like Glow Inner Beauty Powder, a blend of bio-fermented superfoods, prebiotics and probiotics, and Collagen Inner Beauty Boost Elixir.

“At the time, it was a very unique concept, and a lot of people told me that it won’t work, that it’s too strange a concept,” said Oates. “But I thought I’d come up with a real solution to skin problems, not just a Band-Aid, and I knew it worked.”

Fast-forward 10 years — The Beauty Chef is one of the top-selling brands on TVSN in Australia, gut health is a hot topic, and ingestible beauty is a growing category with most beauty retailers.

The latest research suggests that the gut microbiome is linked to everything from the immune system to mental health.

“Gut health really does impact everything,” said Oates. “More studies show the link between skin and gut inflammation, and most skin issues, from acne to eczema to psoriasis, are all fueled by inflammation.”

The relationship with your microbiome is “one of the most important relationships you are going to have,” said Oates, noting that a bad relationship can effect anything from hormones to weight.

“When in balance, our microbes are amazing. I know it’s not very glamorous, but bacteria are really your best friends when it comes to health and beauty — I think bacteria are beautiful,” said Oates.