What can your skin tell you about your health?
Changes in skin appearance can signal internal imbalances in nutrients, blood sugar, and inflammation.
- A pale complexion may indicate many health issues, including iron, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, or folate deficiency. Also, the sugar you consume may damage the collagen in your body, causing your skin to look dull and saggy. Loading up on sugar can exacerbate pre-existing inflammation or cause an inflammatory skin condition like rosacea, psoriasis, or acne. Like sugar, stress triggers inflammation, raising cortisol and increasing oil production. It can worsen acne and cause psoriasis or eczema flare-ups. If your skin was OK for a while, and then you woke up to a horrific breakout, it could also be stress that's to blame.
- Cracked lips, particularly at the corners of your mouth, can be due to a B-group vitamin deficiency, especially B12.
- Impaired wound healing may be a sign of vitamin C and zinc deficiency.
- Wrinkles in unusual places could indicate high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease.
- Dermatitis (dry, itchy, and reddening skin) may signify zinc, niacin, and essential fatty acid (such as omega 3s) deficiency. Niacin deficiency can be especially evident when someone has their chest exposed on a sunny day, and a necklace shape rash occurs.
- Nail discoloration (white marks or lines) and brittleness signify a zinc deficiency. A brown-grey color, vertical grooves, and spoon shapes on your fingernails may be signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Meanwhile, brittle nails may indicate an iron deficiency.
- Hair loss or thinning may signify B-group vitamin deficiency, especially biotin and niacin, vitamin A, zinc, and iron.
- Yellowish deposits in eyelid skin may signal elevated lipids, such as cholesterol levels.
- Yellow bumps on your arms and legs or dark patches of skin near your underarms could be a sign of diabetes.