A neurologist often shines light into a patient’s eyes to tell, at first glance, the presence of brain disorders. In the same manner, dermatologists can examine a person’s skin to tell whether there are disorders within.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the skin is the most obvious indicator of a person's (im)balance of yin and yang.
In Western medicine, the skin is the body’s largest organ and therefore provides an early warning system to what's going on deep inside the body. Hence, it is altogether possible that redness may not just be rosacea, deep lines may not just be age-related wrinkles, and itchiness not just due to an allergy.
Below are some of the more common skin complaints that may require closer inspection.
Deep And Numerous Wrinkles
The unwelcome appearance of wrinkles may not just signify you are getting older by the year. If the appearance is too numerous for the wrinkles to look age-related, they could altogether mean a heightened risk for bone fractures.
Postmenopausal women should be rightfully concerned about wrinkles, as their presence in the face and neck could indicate that they suffer from low bone density in their spine, hips and heels. This is because the collagen found in skin is the same type found in skeleton. Since wrinkles result from a collapse of collagen, it could also mean loss of collagen in the skeletal system. Have your bone mineral density checked.
Velvety, Brownish-Gray Patches Of Skin
If you have this kind of discoloration in your underarms, groin, neck and anywhere the skin folds or creases, it could mean elevated levels of insulin which, if left untreated, could lead to diabetes. This is because excess insulin in the blood stream triggers abnormal production of skin cells. You might want to have the laboratory look at your fasting blood sugar level.
You may have wondered why the reddish butterfly mask on your face never goes away despite diligent prevention of triggers and treatment. If you suspect that your redness is more than just rosacea, have yourself checked to rule out lupus.
A lifelong disorder of the immune system, lupus manifests itself by inflammation, and eventually, tissue damage, which most often shows in the face and neck. Symptoms, however, may just be more than skin deep, as the inflammation may creep into your joints and vital organs like kidneys and heart. At this time, lupus has no known cure but its symptoms can be managed to mitigate the damage.
Yellowish Skin And Orange Palms And Soles
Yellowish skin is often associated with jaundice, but if your palms and soles are also tinged orange, it might be that you have an underactive thyroid gland.
Hypothyroidism, as the condition is medically called, results to increased levels of beta-carotene in the blood, leading to such cartoonish colors. This is because an underactive thyroid fails to properly metabolize the vitamins so the beta-carotene builds up.
If this appearance is paired with feelings of sluggishness despite lack of strenuous work, unexplained weight gain, and achy symptoms, have your TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) checked.
Normal itchiness goes away after a good scratch, but an itch that lies deeper beneath the skin can be a sign of Hodgkin's or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Even after treatment with antihistamine and anti-itch creams, this type of itch does not go away. This complaint is usually coupled with shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss, fatigue and swelling of the lymph nodes. If caught early, this disease can be slowed down if not reversed.