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What dermatologists can discover about your general health by looking at your skin

You are outside as you are inside

Concerns about skin health have experienced a noticeable revival in the last few years. People are becoming more aware of the risk of certain behaviours, such as sun exposure - including tanning beds - and the use of dubious comsetics. This concern has been stronger in places like the UK for ethnic reasons, since fair skin has been found to be more proclive to certain skin disorders or cancers than darker skin. 

People are becoming more and more aware of how they can directly damage their skin, and the things they can do to it in order to keep it healthy and even beautiful. Cosmetic treatments for the skin are all over the place, and many creams and ointments, even non-dermatological products like shaving creams, have vitamins and active elements with the purpose to make your skin better.

However, not all of us are fully aware of the fact that some conditions that can affect our skin actually come from inside our body instead of outside. Our bodies are a whole, so health affections of other organs or parts of our body can have an impact on our skin and affect its status and the way it looks. Even further, these skin affections may be the way a doctor can diagnose a disease, rather than the direct symptoms. This is another reason why it is important to run routine checks on your skin, be it at a clinic, your private doctor or an online service like Reclaim Your Skin or the like. Not only are you taking care of your skin, but also keeping an eye on other possible affections that aren’t directly related to it.

But how can doctors diagnose diseases, infections or overall a bad state of health by simply looking at our skin? Well, let’s see a few examples of how a visit to your dermatologist can actually help you uncover a silent problem somewhere else.

The way your skin looks

All your body changes according to your health level. The presence or absence of certain substances, like vitamins, minerals, water, or harmful elements like toxins, viruses, bacteria and parasytes, can make you lose or recover the balance within your body. All parts of your organism need certain conditions to work properly, and as a result of your overall status, they change the way they look, their shape and size, and/or their functionality.

The thing with your skin, is that you can see it without the need of any special medical test. For this reason, it’s one of the main points of attention for any first consultation with a doctor. A medical expert, like a dermatologist, will be able to diagnose, or at least suspect, the existence of certain perturbations or diseases by just looking at your skin.

The colour, the texture and the aspect of your skin will reveal a great deal of information about your health. In example, we all have a base skin colour that is natural to us. When this colour changes, it is often a sign of some perturbation. We’re not speaking about an expectable change, like it becoming darker after being exposed to the sunlight; but certain colours or tones often raise the alert and advert us of some perturbation. Also, you might be aware to some degree of how your nutrition affects your skin, but dermatologists can identify a number of vitamin or nutritional deficiencies by just looking at how your skin is peeling, losing its texture or becoming too dry.

Conditions reflected in your skin

In example, a pale tone may be a sign of poor exposure to sunlight, but it may also be caused by anaemia. Since this blood condition consists in the decrease of red cells in your bloodstream, which give your skin its reddish colour, anaemic people look pale and, in extreme cases, a big greyish. Other parts of their bodies become pale as well, like the inside of their eyelids, and their nails.

Jaundice is another condition that changes your skin colour. Also knowns as icterus, it makes your skin and eyes turn yellow. In more severe cases, the colour turns to brown. Jaundice is often caused by liver malfunction or an obstruction in your billiar bladder.

Our last example is, perhaps, a bit better known among the population. Several STDs have dermatological symptoms that first let you know that you are infected. Syphillis has a characteristic rush, herpes its iconic skin ulcers, and AIDS has also signature sores. A quick examination on your skin may set the alert, and your dermatologist will advise you to take further checks on order to confirm the diagnosis.