Skin Health and how skin problems sometimes relate to underlying health issues
What Does YOUR Skin Indicate About Your Health?
Did you know that your skin is your body’s largest and fastest growing organ? Pretty cool, huh? That’s why taking good care of it through regular cleansing, sun protection and moisturizing is a necessity. After all, you’ve only got one. Your skin acts as a powerful shield against outside elements—including nasty germs. It helps you stay cool during the hot summers as well as warm during the frigid cold. Most importantly your skin protects your vital organs, such as your muscles, heart and lungs, by keeping them intact.
Despite what you might see on the cover of fashion and beauty magazines, no one is born with perfect, flawless skin. The stunning, gorgeous models you come across in Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Elle get a lot of help with proper lighting, Photoshop and airbrushing. If you saw these models without make up on, or in bright sunlight (wearing Sun screen no doubt), you might not even recognise them.
Plus, with the advent of Photoshop and other photo editing or Iphone camera filter apps, it’s just too easy to think that everyone has flawless, beautiful skin – even when the reality is very different.
For example, the woman in the image on the left has amazingly great looking skin – but add a bit of photo editing flare, and it’s easy to think that her skin is naturally flawless with zero pores. It’s simply NOT realistic and can lead to you thinking your own skin is less attractive than it actually is.
Yet when you look in the mirror or see yourself in an untouched selfie, is your skin at its optimal best? And if not, is there anything you can do about it?
We all have good days and bad days when it comes to skin, hair and makeup. But sometimes our skin is trying to send us a message about our underlying health or lifestyle choices.
Common Skin Problems: What YOUR skin may be trying to tell you about your overall health
You can find treatments for most of these conditions on our home page or by phoning us on 03 8849 1400.
Your skin may be radiant one day, and broken out in pimples the next. It’s “Murphy’s Law” that common skin problems will occur before your big event, whether an interview, a speaking engagement, an important date or a wedding!
There are many different factors that contribute to healthy looking, glowing skin. These range from having good nutrition to looking after your skin properly with a cosmeceutical-based at-home skin care regime such as Obagi, to staying well hydrated to keep your organs operating at their best.
But no matter what genetics has provided us in terms of great looking skin, the fact is that at some point in our lives, we will all suffer from skin concerns. And these may surface EVEN when we are doing everything right for our skin. They are more likely to arise, however, when we are doing the wrong things – such as eating junk food and forgetting fruit and veggies, not getting enough sleep, forgetting to drink enough water, using cheap cosmetic products or perfumed products (some perfumed items are likely toxic), and neglecting to wash our makeup off at night, for example.
These range from the discovery of deepening lines above our lips or around our eyes (crow’s feet), acne blemishes or post-acne scarring, rough skin patches (eczema, psoriasis), redness, dryness, aged spots or sun damaged skin pigmentation problems — the list goes on.
While it’s natural for our skin to show imperfection (after all, we’re human), the condition of your skin can also say a lot about your underlying health. To learn more, keep reading.
Skin Health: What might a pesky or recurring skin condition say about your health?
Oily skin combined with moderate to severe acne
Rising hormone levels can cause unsightly pimples and very shiny skin during puberty. In fact, it’s common. However, when you’re an adult and the zits and shine have yet to disappear, it could be a sign of a hormone disorder known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). While the disorder, which only effects women, is not fully understood, if left untreated, it could lead to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc. Irregular periods are a common symptom of the disorder, however, it’s possible to be diagnosed with PCOS and exhibit a perfectly normal menstrual cycle. Hirsutism, or unwanted hair, is also a classic sign of PCOS. Fortunately, there are excellent treatment options. Celebrities living with PCOS include Victoria Beckham, Jillian Michaels and Emma Thompson.
Dealing with a pesky itch on our skin that requires nonstop scratching for relief can be quite annoying! When a bug bite isn’t the culprit, it can easily, yet naturally, raise your concerns. Itchy skin may be the result of:
- Dry skin: If your skin itches but shows no signs of bumps, dry skin (xerosis) may be to blame. Dry skin usually results from older age or environmental factors such as long-term use of air conditioning or central heating as well as washing or bathing too much.
- Skin conditions: A pretty common skin condition is eczema. In fact, one in three Australians will have eczema — an inflammatory condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and scaly — at some stage in their lives. Treating eczema involves healing and maintaining the skin, and minimising and preventing flare-ups. Wool, chemicals, certain foods and soap may exacerbate the problem.
- Internal diseases: There are some instances where itchy skin may be a sign of a more serious problem such as liver disease, nerve disorders (EX: multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, shingles), kidney failure, iron deficiency anemia, thyroid problems and some cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. When itching may be the result of an underlying issue, it usually affects the whole body.
A rash on the face can be caused by a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. Common causes include dermatitis, mild allergic reactions and inflammatory disorders like rosacea. In serious cases, a “butterfly-shaped” rash across the face is often the first sign of lupus, a chronic, autoimmune disease that mistakenly attacks healthy tissue throughout the body.
Unusual Pigmentation: Dark, velvety hyperpigmentation
Skin that feels velvety, looks poorly defined and is brown to black in color could suggest diabetes. The medical term for this skin condition is more commonly known as acanthosis nigricans. Generally benign, it’s often associated with obesity or endocrinopathies. This can include hypothyroidism, PCOS, insulin-resistant diabetes or Cushing’s disease. In rare cases, the condition can be cancerous.
Thick, red patches
Red, inflamed skin, often covered with loose, silver-colored scales is often a sign of psoriasis. This common skin disorder can be itchy, painful and sometimes crack and bleed. In severe cases, the plaques will grow and merge into one another, covering large areas. Celebrities like Leann Rimes and reality star vixen Kim Kardashian West live with the autoimmune disease that effects millions of people worldwide.
As we get older, our skin naturally becomes thinner, making us more susceptible to bruising. For some people, however, a simple minor bump can leave a black or blue mark on the skin. For people who tend to bruise more frequently, it could be a sign of poor eating habits, heredity or reaction to medication. In very rare cases, abnormal bruising could indicate a disease like leukemia or an infection like sepsis.
Skin Conditions and Your Health: A Final Note about what your Skin May Say About Your Health
If you notice something on your skin that seems out of the ordinary, the key is to not to panic or jump to conclusions. Nor is it to research Dr Google and stay up all night worrying (it’s not a bad start but seek professional help. Dr Google doesn’t have as much medical qualification as your actual GP and self diagnosis is dangerous). Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms and get an official diagnosis. Whatever you do, never self-diagnose your skin problem using “Dr. Google.” At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that most skin problems do not indicate that anything else is wrong with you. If anything, it means you’re actually quite normal.
Do You Need Our Dermal Clinician’s Help?
Do you have a skin question or would like additional information on how you can achieve better (or relatively flawless) skin?
We are here to help!
Our University Qualified Dermal Clinicians and Senior Injectors can offer you a variety of skin care and skin treatment services, including cosmeceutical skincare products for acne, oily skin, dry skin or ageing skin, to help you put your best face forward.
To learn more, contact us today at (03) 8849 1400 or send an enquiry form, below.