You may have heard the saying, "Your skin is a reflection of your overall health," and it couldn't be more true. While skin is on the outside of your body, it can provide valuable insights into what's happening on the inside. Skin can reveal lifestyle habits, but it can also help diagnose numerous illnesses. In this blog, we'll delve into various skin conditions that you may simply label as ‘bad skin’ and what they could be telling you about your underlying health.
Dry, Itchy Skin: While dry or itchy skin is common, persistent symptoms can indicate underlying health issues. It could be a reaction to a medication you are taking, but conditions like diabetes, lymphoma or thyroid disorders can also cause itching.
Tired Skin: Droopy, saggy skin with dark circles under the eyes can be signs of fatigue. Dehydration can manifest as sunken skin around the eyes and overall dryness. These issues can provide insights into your sleep patterns and water intake.
Irritated Hands: Constant handwashing and sanitiser although good for preventing picking up the common cold or flu, can cause irritation in the hands, but dermatomyositis, an autoimmune disease, can mimic hand dermatitis. If you are concerned, seek advice for a Dermatologist. They can distinguish between irritation and more serious conditions.
Dandruff: Usually, dandruff is not a sign of underlying health issues. The chemicals we use to wash our hair may be the cause and therefore can be managed with treatments. Often it can be mere genetics, but, severe cases may be linked to neurological conditions like Parkinson's disease, strokes, or HIV. If you see a sudden change and not due to possible sun damage making the skin on your skull more dry, then we advise to consult your GP.
Acne: Hormonal imbalances can trigger acne, especially in adults. If you're finding that no topical solution is working then this is probably the case. Particularly severe acne may suggest underlying hormonal abnormalities, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women.
Discoloured Skin: Changes in skin colour can signal underlying illnesses. Yellowish skin may be a sign of kidney or liver disease, while brown or tan spots on the shins can signify poor blood circulation.
Premature ageing, loss of elasticity: One of the most evident signs of sun exposure is premature ageing, including wrinkles, spots, uneven pigmentation, and loss of elasticity. This can be a clear indicator of how much time you've spent outdoors without protection. Smokers may also display pale or sallow skin with wrinkles around the lips. Unfortunately, these indicators show up much later in the stage of damage than other skin conditions. Wearing SPF and staying out of the sun can be a good way to prevent premature ageing of the skin and supplementing with collagen can be a good way to keep skin firm and healthy over time.
Small Bumps Around the Eyes: Xanthelasma, small yellow bumps around the eyes or nose, can be cholesterol deposits. While it may indicate high cholesterol in some, it's not the case for everyone. If you do find these spots then we advise you to have your cholesterol levels checked.
Rashes: Rashes can have various causes, from contact dermatitis to skin diseases. It could be an allergy or eczema (see below.) Some rashes are associated with broader health issues. For instance, psoriasis increases the risk of heart disease. If your rash doesn't respond to treatment or is accompanied by joint pains or fever, it may indicate an internal problem.
Eczema: Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition often linked to digestive health and gut flora. It can be associated with issues like leaky gut syndrome, where the digestive tract becomes more permeable, potentially leading to inflammation in the skin. Dysbiosis, an imbalance in the gut microbiome, may also play a role in eczema, affecting the immune system and skin health. Food sensitivities and allergies, particularly to dairy, gluten, eggs, or nuts, can trigger or worsen eczema symptoms. We recommend examining your diet and testing what makes your skin worse.
In conclusion, skin can be a powerful indicator of overall health. While some of the diseases listed here may be serious, we list them here to show just how detrimental looking at your skin can be. Your skin can is a powerful tool to help you discover these illnesses in advance. While we don't want to scare you - skin issues that are benign, persistent or unusual symptoms should prompt a visit to a dermatologist. Skin health is not just about aesthetics; it's a valuable window into your body's well-being.