Everybody experiences an occasional pimple here and there in their life. It’s no biggie. But dermatologists believe your skin, which is the largest organ in your body, can give you an idea of happening’s deep within your body.
And in some cases, the first signs of a major disease can make it’s appearence on your skin. This is what you need to watch out for.
1. Acne Or Rashes
Pay attention to the location of your acne or rash. If you have acne around your jawline and chin, get tested for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), especially if you have difficulty to lose weight, excess hair on your upper lip, and experience breakouts before your period. Rash on your feet? If it doesn’t reduce with the help of anti-fungal cream, you should get tested for hepatitis C infection. If you have a violet-colored rash on your eyelids, it could be a sign of dermatomyositis (an inflammatory muscle disease).1
Remember, the rule of thumb is, if any rash is followed by fever, joint pain, or any other discomfort, check with your doctor.
2. Change In Texture
Do you feel a difference in the texture of your skin? If it’s become soft or sort of hard suddenly, it could mean something isn’t right. Hardening of the skin is associated with an autoimmune condition known as systemic sclerosis. Dark, velvety texture in the folds of your skin could mean prediabetes. And loose or doughy feeling skin has been linked to a connective tissue disorder known as acquired cutis laxa.2
If you have an even-toned complexion, you are probably one among the few. Several people have tiny patches of discoloration on the face. In most cases of dark patches, the culprit is sun damage. But if you see yellowing of the skin, it could be liver disease. If you are diabetic, bronzing of the skin could mean there’s a problem in iron metabolism, which, in turn, leads to liver failure.3
Ignoring the tiny red bumps on your face, shoulders, thighs, or legs? Maybe you should take a closer look at them. There are multiple causes behind these red spots. It could be keratosis pilaris, a condition that is caused by a keratin buildup at the opening of the hair follicle, or it could be a group of dilated blood vessels. Yellow or waxy bumps? It could be a sign of prediabetes. Red spots could also be rosacea (a chronic skin condition that could be triggered by stress, weather, or another external cause). If you notice any new growth on your skin, check with your doctor to rule out skin cancer.
5. Dark Circles
Most of us dismiss the appearance of dark circles. Concealing it with makeup can help but a majority of the people don’t treat the cause behind them. The skin under your eyes is a lot more sensitive when compared to the rest of your face – a reason why you see the first signs of aging here. Dark circles are usually the result of your diet, lifestyle, lack of sleep, vitamin deficiency and genetics. Drinking 8 glasses of water, eating fruits and veggies, and sleeping for 8-9 hours can help bring back a little youthfulness to your eyes.
6. Sallow Skin
Sallow skin is a sign that something isn’t right. In this, the skin appears yellowish or brown. As you age, you will notice your skin changes too. You will have fine lines and drier skin. Sallow skin can be mistaken as part of the aging process but it is actually caused by underlying medical issues. It could be inadequate sleep, smoking, vitamin deficiency, dehydration, or even stress. But sallow skin doesn’t make its appearance suddenly. It gradually develops into it. If you stop this external factor, your skin should return back to its original form in 2-3 months.
Do you bruise easy? And does it take time to heal? Though bruising becomes more common with age, frequent bruising could be a sign of blood disorders like leukemia.4 You could also bruise easily when taking certain medication like blood thinners and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
When To See A Doctor
If you notice anything new about your skin and if it’s accompanied with fever, joint pain or weakness, always check with your doctor. Several medical conditions start with vague, innocent-looking symptoms. Don’t ignore or treat these signs.
|↑1, ↑2||Skin can show first signs of some internal diseases. American Academy of Dermatology|
|↑3||Skin can show first signs of some internal diseases. American Academy of Dermatology|
|↑4||Clarke, Rachel T., Ann Van den Bruel, Clare Bankhead, Christopher D. Mitchell, Bob Phillips, and Matthew J. Thompson. “Clinical presentation of childhood leukaemia: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Archives of disease in childhood 101, no. 10 (2016): 894-901.|