Is Your Skin Trying To Tell You Something?
Our bodies change, sometimes drastically, sometimes subtly, but over time we notice differences that weren’t there before. Certainly, there are cosmetic changes that we wish didn’t have to happen like fine lines and wrinkles, but there are certain skin changes that shouldn’t go overlooked.
Considering it’s your biggest organ the skin is able to reflect your internal state, for good or bad. Noticing changing skin conditions and fluctuations can help you identify potentially harmful skin conditions or other health issues. Below are some skin signs that could suggest that your health might be compromised.
Skin tone changes
Unexplained tanning and darkening of the skin could be linked to uncontrolled diabetes.
“Acanthosis nigricans” or AN is a common condition where dark, velvety patches of skin often appear in the armpits, groin, and neck. In these areas the skin may thicken and cause a dark and noticeable shadow. Treatment usually revolves around solving the underlying conditions
Another skin tone condition change to keep an eye on is a lightening of the skin, known as Vitiligo. It’s a whitening of the skin through pigmentation loss. It’s typically easier to note in darker skin tones but it can affect all types of people. It is identified by blotchy, whitened areas of the skin and can appear anywhere on the body. While it is not inherently dangerous, it had been shown to be linked to other autoimmune disorders, most notably thyroid disorder, but also alopecia areata and inflammatory bowel disease.
Moles or Growths
If you have moles that you’ve noticed a change of shape, texture, size, or color it’s best to get in with a dermatologist sooner rather than later. The same goes for new growths. These could potentially be signs of cancer. While many growths are benign it’s best to be on the safe side. Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the U.S. and can be easily treated if detected early.
Conditions like psoriasis and eczema can be irritating and occasionally embarrassing because they can be very visible skin conditions. However, they are both autoimmune disorders. It’s important to know that those with one autoimmune disorder are at an elevated risk for having another. Other examples of related autoimmune disorders are Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or celiac disease. Knowing that these skin conditions also indicate you might be at higher risk for other disorders can help you take measures to monitor and manage your health.
Dry and itchy skin happen, especially if you are changing environments or sometimes detergents or using new fragrances. Despite using moisturizers and being properly hydrated, if your skin is suddenly experiencing extreme dryness you might want to check with your doctor.
If your skin’s moisture has changed apart from environmental influences it could be a sign of hormonal changes, nutrient deficiencies, or even circulation problems.
If you find yourself easily bruising suddenly without recalling what caused the bruising, or finding that your bruises tend to stick around for a longer than normal time, it might be time to talk to your doctor.
There are a number of blood or blood vessel conditions that could cause excessive and persistent bruising. Hemophilia which prevents the body from forming blood clots, vasculitis which causes inflamed blood vessels, or Von Willebrand disease, another bleeding disorder, can all be potential underlying causes.
If you have added a new medication recently and you notice large bruises, not sure where they came from, it could be because of the medication. Certain medications can cause blood thinning which made lead you to increased bruising. Others have the potential side effects of changing or weakening the blood vessels which may contribute to bruising. Always talk with your doctor to weigh the pros and cons of medications.
Cuts that won’t heal
If you have cuts or wounds that take longer than normal to heal it could potentially be a sign of diabetes. Diabetes can inhibit the body’s natural healing process due to poorer circulation. Nutrients and oxygen have difficulty transporting themselves to the wounded area, and thus the wound-repairing processes are weakened. Additionally, this slower healing time combined with slowed down immune function, another symptom of consistently high blood sugar, can cause small cuts or wounds to become infected.
If you find yourself concerned about a recurring skin condition check with your doctor or dermatologist. It’s always best to be ahead of the curve and get a yearly skin check-up, or whenever you notice a significant change. Being mindful of your body is vital to maintaining health.
*Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals and only offer this information as a reference and jumping-off point. Always consult your medical professional for a diagnosis.