According to the National Institutes of Health, our skin is the body’s largest organ. While it protects the body, it also does things such as hold fluids in, keep microbes out, regulate body temperature, and more. While most people look at the skin just for beauty purposes, there is a lot more to it. Often times when you look a little deeper it is clear to see that our skin is telling us something about what’s going on with our overall health.
“The way our skin looks says a lot about how healthy we are, believe it or not,” explains Dr. Sanjiv Saini of MD Dermatology, with locations in Edgewater and Lexington Park, Maryland. “Healthy-looking skin is often an indication of a healthy person, while the opposite is true of someone who has health conditions.”
Here are 5 things that your skin may be telling you about your health:
1. Iron is needed. For those with skin that is paler than normal, their skin may be letting them know what they are anemic. Resulting from an iron deficiency, anemia can also be a sign of other diseases, such as an inflammatory bowel disease.
2. That more water is needed. When someone is not drinking enough water on a regular basis, their skin may look flaky, tight, and dry. Getting plenty of water will keep the skin looking and feeling better.
3. It’s time to reduce stress. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that stress has an inflammatory impact on the skin, which could lead to such conditions as rosacea, psoriasis, and acne. Reducing stress can help give people clearer skin.
4. There are thyroid problems. Having a yellowish tint to the skin can be a sign that there are thyroid problems. Beta-carotene levels are increased in the blood when the thyroid is underactive, giving the skin the yellowish tone.
5. More omega-3 fatty acids are needed. Having skin that is dull and dry can be a sign that the person is not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, which are rich in foods like walnuts, sardines, and flaxseeds.
“Pay more attention to your skin beyond just adding moisturizer,” added Dr. Saini. “What you see can be signs of something bigger that needs to be addressed. And when in doubt, see a doctor so that you can be sure it’s not a sign of something major.”