Don’t you wish you had a warning sign in your body to let you know when something was wrong? Not a gut instinct, but something visible.
A little “check engine” light for your body. An “Oh, that little light is on again, better get under the hood checked” sort of warning device so you knew when to get checked out.
Oh. Wait. You do.
It’s not a check engine light, and some people will say it’s just as vague (I mean, check engine for what exactly, car?), but your skin is a key player in letting you know what’s going on internally. And unlike that darn check engine light, your skin actually tries to tell you what’s going on.
That’s what this post is about, learning to decode specific skin problems so that you know what to bring up with your doctor.
When your skin is really dry and flaky and it’s mixed with fatigue, constipation, and weight gain you might have an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism. This is an easy diagnosis with a blood test. If it comes back clean, try upping your consumption of Omega-3s, because it might be a deficiency.
Looks an awful lot like a permanent blush on your skin. There are no known causes of rosacea, but there are triggers that can make it much worse, from cold weather to spicy food to alcohol and stress. Rosacea sufferers also report facial burning, stinging and itching. Some people may even get bumps or swelling. Rosacea patients need to be wary of their high cholesterol (they’re 41% more likely to have it) and make sure you look after your ticker because studies have shown you’re 35% more likely to have coronary heart disease.
Not all freckles are worrisome freckles. In fact, I think freckles are cute. But it’s freckles that appear suddenly, after a bad sunburn, and then change size or shape afterward. Freckles can indicate an increased likelihood of experiencing melanoma. And each successive sunburn (no matter the severity) can increase your chances. So, moral of the story: sunscreen, it’s good for you.
You’re past the worst stages of adolescence, you’ve passed your young twenties, you may be well into your thirties and forties and BAM. Acne. Like you’re a16 year-old again. Sudden acne flare-ups, accompanied by i irregular periods, unwanted hair growth, and weight gain, could be a sign of enlarged ovaries (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder where you immune system makes new skin too fast. So fast that you’re body can’t get rid of the old cells, resulting in raised, rough, red patchy areas on your skin. There isn’t a cure, but regular appointments with your doc are a good idea, because you’re more likely to have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.
Not like… normal ginger paleness, but a decrease in the color of your face along with shortness of breath and fatigue. This can be anemia and can be treated with iron supplements, but it’s best to have a doctor look into it first. Sudden onset of paleness could be internal bleeding or luekemia.
Acanthosis Nigricans is a condition that that cause affected areas to become darker, thicker and feel velvety. Primarily occurring on the neck, under the arms, and on the inner thighs, this can be an indicator of insulin resistance, the precursor to type 2 diabetes.
Like the must scratch all the time time, kind of itchiness. Typically a sign of allergies (did you eat something you shouldn’t have, did you change your detergent?) itchiness resulting from rashes are pretty common. Antihistamines will ease the discomfort, but if the results continue for more than 2 weeks, it’s best to get an allergy test done: it could be celiac disease, anemia, and in some cases diabetes.