8 Skin Issues That May Indicate Something is Wrong With Your Health

by | Updated: October 14th, 2020 | Read time: 4 minutes

Besides helping you to look and feel great, taking care of your skin – and noticing when something is off with its appearance – can help you identify (and hopefully prevent!) serious health problems. While some skin issues affect only your skin, others signal something deeper or more dangerous is going on inside your body. Let’s take a closer look at some of these warning signs and what they might mean.

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Skin Issues That Reveal Health Problems

 1. Skin issue: Yellow deposits around your eyes

Potential health problem: High cholesterol

Skin problems near the eyes, especially small, yellow deposits, may be a sign that you have high cholesterol levels. One of the noticeable characteristics is that you’ll have soft bumps (cholesterol-filled plaques). This skin problem is medically known as xanthelasma.

When faced with this skin issue, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider and have your cholesterol levels tested. High cholesterol is a serious condition that, if not well managed, can lead to heart health problems. Understanding cholesterol’s role in health and the diet and lifestyle factors involved is an important part of managing the condition.

2. Skin issue: Inflammation

Potential health problem: Chronic stress

When you experience stress, your body may produce high levels of inflammatory molecules called cytokines and cortisol, which can eventually lead to inflammatory issues affecting your skin. Chronic stress can harm health in many ways, but for skin, you might notice an increase in acne, psoriasis, eczema, hives, rashes and other issues related to inflammation.

Make managing stress a priority to keep your skin healthy and looking its best. It can help to practice good self care, incorporate yoga into your routine and prioritize sleep.

3. Skin issue: Flaky, dry skin

Potential health problem: Hypothyroidism

Dry skin isn’t always indicative of greater problems. It could simply mean you need a better-quality moisturizer or you’ve spent too much time in the sun. Skin also tends to become dryer with age or as the result of normal body processes such as the menstrual cycle. However, if dryness persists, then the issue might be linked to problematic hormone levels.

If you’re experiencing dry, flaky skin for an extended period of time, have it checked out by a healthcare practitioner. It may be a sign of hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones. Note that this condition also reduces sweating, which can make your skin appear noticeably dryer.

4. Skin issue: Dark or yellow patches

Potential health issue: Diabetes

Dark patches of skin under your arms or yellow bumps on your legs are skin issues that may be associated with diabetes. The dark spots (diabetic dermopathy) will often start as pink or red then eventually become brown. These issues are changes in skin blood vessels that result from the body responding to the disease.

Again, your best course of action is to consult with your doctor. You can also take steps to lower your risk for diabetes, such as exercising more, improving your diet and reducing alcohol intake.

5. Skin issue: Yellowing skin

Potential health issue: Liver disease

One sign of liver disease is a yellowing of the skin, a problem caused by your blood becoming contaminated with bilirubin (a compound in bile). If your liver is not functioning optimally, it can cause jaundice, a problem caused by the breakdown of red blood cells or obstruction in your bile duct.

Caring for your liver involves lifestyle factors such as following a low-sodium diet, consuming organic foods that are free of chemical pesticides and avoiding alcoholic beverages.

7. Skin issue: Constant blushing

Potential health problem: Rosacea

Rosacea is a skin condition characterized by a pink tint on your forehead, cheeks, chin and nose. This problem will sometimes cause small, red and pus-filled bumps that flare up for months before they go away. Make sure that you get medical treatment as soon as the problem starts. If you don’t get medical attention on time, it can make your face appear swollen.

 7. Skin issue: Acne

Potential health problem: Hormonal imbalance

It’s well known that hormonal imbalances can result in acne. But, it’s important to understand that different acne types result from different hormonal issues. For example, a woman might experience acne due to normal changes related to menopause, puberty or pregnancy (often, after giving birth, acne can appear in outbreaks around the mouth).

On the other hand, acne resulting from problematic hormonal imbalance might indicate a woman is suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome. If you’re concerned about your outbreaks, as always, notify your doctor.

8. Skin issue: Dark circles

Potential health problem: Nutrient deficiency

Before you cover up those under eye circles with concealer and forget about them, consider the factors that may be causing the problem. They might be the result of lifestyle factors (not getting enough sleep), age (the structural support and fat pads around your eyes change over time) or even genetics.

Additional reasons for dark circles around the eyes include nutrient deficiency and poor hydration. Not surprisingly, eating a healthy diet, drinking enough water and taking a supplement for extra support can all help.

The bottom line

By having a better understanding of different skin issues, you’ll be better able to not only address and correct them but also to identify other problems with your health. Listen to your skin – it could save your life!