Although changes in your hair, skin, or nails usually mean that your beauty regimen may need an adjustment, they could also be indicative of an underlying medical problem. Part I addresses common changes in your skin that might even reveal your overall health and well-being.
Dry, Itchy Skin
Eczema and general dryness or climate can cause chronically dry, itchy skin—even if you use a moisturizer. Eczema, a chronic inflammatory skin condition that is related to hay fever and asthma, can also cause inflamed and cracked skin.
Dark Patches and Dark, Scaly Patches
While it doesn’t necessarily signal an underlying medical issue, dark facial pigmentation (melasma) is likely related to hormonal spikes in women, and often associated with pregnancy. Melasma can be exacerbated by the sun. However, not all dark spots are sun-related. Diabetes can cause blood flow issues that appear as dark patches, known as diabetic dermopathy, on the front of the legs. Your doctor can eliminate diabetes as the source of problematic skin.
Most sun damage, including freckles and dark spots, occurs during childhood and teen years and can greatly increase your risk for skin cancer. It is very important to monitor any changes in your skin, from moles to raised lesions or sores that won’t heal.
Dehydration can cause your skin to become dull, pasty, and lackluster. Dry winter weather can also play a role in a sallow complexion. However, by drinking enough water and getting ample sleep, you can improve the look of your skin.
Dark Under Eye Circles/Skin
A combination of genetics, age, or lifestyle factors can contribute to the development of dark under eye circles. This is because the fat pads and structural support around your eyes change as you age. Dark skin under your eyes can also be caused by a lack of essential nutrients, a lack of hydration, or a lack of sleep.
A chronically red forehead and cheeks could result from dilated blood vessels or a chronic skin condition called rosacea. Additionally, hormonal changes in women (especially during menopause) can cause extreme flushing. But, if your skin suddenly becomes very flushed and is accompanied by any other swelling, you could be having an allergic reaction. So seek medical attention!
Red bumps, a ruddy complexion, redness, and dry skin can also be symptoms of rosacea. It is caused by both environmental and genetic factors, and is often triggered by the weather, spicy foods, alcohol, exercise, and stress. Fair-skinned people are more likely to develop rosacea. Since all red skin bumps are not pimples or acne-like lesions, the treatment regimen is different.
Red, Itchy Rash
Contact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash that may occur when your skin comes into contact with an irritating substance. Common irritants include soap, cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry, latex, and poison ivy. Be advised that although this immune response usually results in a red skin rash, it could trigger an allergic reaction. Rashes in warm, moist areas of the skin can also be caused by a fungal infection, prevalent in individuals whose diabetes is not being properly managed.
Chin and Jawline Breakouts
Breakouts (pimples) along your jawline and chin again could signal a possible hormone imbalance. This kind of adult acne is very common in women who may not have had acne as teenagers. But don’t worry! Hormonal acne in women can worsen in times of stress, during your period, or during menopause.
If your are experiencing any of the above conditions, I recommend reaching our to your health care provider or a dermatologist to rule out any underlying health concerns that may be showing on your skin. Additionally, a licensed esthetician can help you find the appropriate skin care products for your skin type and develop a treatment plan to help you have the healthy skin you deserve!
Based on an article by Kate Daley and published in Best Health, a health and wellness magazine from 2017 Reader’s Digest Canada Limited.