15 Things Your Skin Says About Your Health

Your skin is the most noticeable part of your body. And it can play a major role in telling you about your health. Rashes, spots, bruising, and more can all indicate potential health problems you may want to look into. Here are 15 things your skin says about your health.

Stressed

Stress could show on your skin. | Amazingmikael/iStock/Getty Images

1. You’re under a lot of stress

When you’re under emotional stress, whether it’s from a job or another life situation, your body reacts physically. If you’ve noticed breakouts on your skin but don’t believe it’s due to your diet or age, then it may be stress-related. Take a step back to find out what is causing the stress in your life. Find a face wash tailored to stress breakouts, and try to reduce your stress through daily meditation.
Next: It could signal this disease.

2. It may signal diabetes

Male Diabetic Checking Blood Sugar

Spots on your skin might signal diabetes. | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

If you’ve noticed dark spots on your lower legs, it could signal diabetes. The dark spots, known as diabetic dermopathy, may start out as red or pink and become a brownish color. It results from changes in the skin’s blood vessels due to the body’s response to diabetes. If you haven’t been diagnosed with the disease but notice dark spots, see your doctor immediately. The spots typically have no symptoms, but it doesn’t mean they don’t signal a bigger problem.
Next: Changes in your skin may mean this.

3. You may have cancer

diagnosis of skin diseases

Watch for any changes in moles or marks. | Artem Balatskyi/Getty Images

If you’re someone who loves the sun, you should know to check for skin cancer every now and then. However, skin cancer doesn’t only result from sun exposure; it can also be genetic or even a side effect of another disease. There are different types of skin cancer, but melanoma is the most serious. Keep an eye on any moles on your body and look for changes such as size, color, and shape.
Next: Your time in the sun may be told by your skin.

4. You’re spending too much time in the sun

Senior couple embracing on beach, rear view

Too much sun is bad for your skin. | Digital Vision/Getty Images

Skin cancer isn’t the only way your skin might indicate you’re spending too much time in the sun. Sunburn and sun spots are also indicators that you’re getting too many UV rays. Sun spots typically appear as you age and can indicate how many years of too much sun exposure you’ve had. Always wear at least SPF 30 when you’re in the sun for more than 10 minutes to prevent early aging and skin cancer.
Next: Your skin might tell you something about your digestive system.

5. It can signal poor digestion or enzyme function

pimple

Your skin can tell you if you have digestive problems. | nensuria/Getty Images

According to Mind Body Green, if you’re breaking out around the lower lip, it could mean more than just some hormonal acne. It might actually signal digestive problems and poor enzyme function in the body. While this isn’t the common cause of acne below the lip, it’s something to consider if you don’t normally break out around there. In rare cases, acne in this area has also been linked to worms and parasites.
Next: Your skin could tell you about your hormones.

6. You may have a hormone imbalance

Woman checking her skin in bathroom

It can signal hormone problems. | Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images

Your skin and your hormones go hand in hand. If your hormones aren’t functioning properly, whether due to puberty, menopause, or another disorder, it often shows through your skin. You might notice acne, hair growth or hair loss, or dry skin. Although it can be difficult to pinpoint a diagnosis for these issues, your hormones may be to blame. If you’ve noticed thinning hair or acne you can’t seem to get rid of, consult a dermatologist about potential hormone imbalances.
Next: Your skin needs to stay hydrated.

7. You’re not hydrated

man drinking water

Make sure to stay hydrated. | Baiajaku/iStock/Getty Images

Water helps your body sustain normal functions. And when you’re not hydrated, your skin will show it. Your skin might become dry and look dull; you won’t have the glow you’d normally have if you kept yourself hydrated. While dull skin might not seem like the worst thing, being dehydrated is terrible for your body. The amount of water you should be drinking each day varies per person, but you should generally aim for around 64 ounces daily.
Next: This might be happening. 

8. You may be having an allergic reaction

You'll think twice about hopping into the hot tub after you read about folliculitis.

Your skin could signal an allergic reaction | iStock.com/parinyabinsuk

Any kind of rash, hives, or red skin could mean you’re having some kind of allergic reaction. It may not be as dangerous as anaphylaxis (which often results in difficulty breathing, swollen eyes, and potentially deadly health problems), but it still isn’t something that should be taken lightly. If you’re taking a new antibiotic, make sure to check around your body and look for any sign of hives or rash that could mean you’re allergic to the drug. If you notice anything, stop taking it and talk to your doctor.
Next: Your liver’s health might show through your skin.

9. It could signal liver disease

man checking eyes

If you notice yellowing eyes or skin, it could signal a liver problem. | SIphotography/Getty Images

When your liver isn’t functioning properly, it may cause jaundice. This occurs when your skin and eyes turn yellowish due to a problem related to either liver disease, an obstruction in your bile duct, or a breakdown of red blood cells. It is most commonly associated with liver problems. Your skin turns yellowish due to too much of the pigment bilirubin in your blood. It could also signal hepatitis or alcohol abuse.
Next: It could be a sign of this in women.

10. It could be a sign of menopause

Mature Woman Experiencing Hot Flush From Menopause

Your skin may be affected by menopause. | Highwaystarz-Photography/Getty Images

Menopause shows itself in many ways, and one of those is through the skin. Your hormones are at the forefront of menopause, which means it could leave you with unappealing breakouts or flushed skin. It may look like rosacea, but it could simply be due to that hormonal change as you age. Hot flashes and night sweats are also common signs of menopause, in addition to changes in your menstrual cycle.
Next: Are your veins showing through your skin?

11. You may have blood flow problems

Woman with varicose veins applying compression bandage

Compression bandages may help varicose veins. | iStock.com/zlikovec

Have you ever looked at your legs and noticed bulging veins that appear to stick out more than any other veins? These are known as varicose veins, and they could signal blood flow problems. People with weight problems are more likely to experience varicose veins. If you notice varicose veins at a young age, they could mean health complications down the road. Genetics and age may also be to blame.
Next: This type of infection might also show itself on skin.

12. It can signal a fungal infection

Woman wearing high heels

Your skin is susceptible to fungal infections. | iStock.com/MoustacheGirl

Discomfort in warm areas of the skin that see more moisture might be a sign of a fungal infection. Fungal infections may present themselves as itchiness and redness or a burning sensation on the skin. In women, yeast infections often show themselves as itching on the skin, and they’re due to a fungal overgrowth of candida. Fungal infections are typically very treatable with either an oral anti-fungal pill or a cream.
Next: You may want to get checked for sexually transmitted infections.

13. It could signal a STD

Young man is showing a cold sore

Cold sores are a form of herpes. | iStock.com/lofilolo

STDs can show themselves on the skin. For example, genital herpes might appear as red, painful bumps near the genital area. Herpes can also show red, painful cold sores on the edges of the mouth. Some STDs can present themselves with itching and burning on the skin near the genital area. STDs might seem scary, but they are extremely common and all are either treatable or manageable. If you’re worried you may have one, consult your doctor immediately to get tested.
Next: Have you noticed more bruising than usual?

14. It may mean you have a bleeding problem

bruised arm

Bruising can signal a bigger problem. | Izf/Getty Images

Bruising might occur if you fall or get hit with an object. But if your skin bruises very easily and those bruises don’t go away, it could signal a bleeding problem. In the most serious cases, leukemia may present itself as bruises that don’t heal. If you get hit with an object and get bruised, it’s no reason for concern. However, if the slightest tap causes a bruise that doesn’t go away, it could signal a bigger problem.
Next: Your skin could mean a blood clotting disorder.

15. You may have a blood clotting disorder

woman in red apron slicing tomato with kitchen knife suffering domestic accident cutting and hurting her finger

Is your blood cotting normally? A cut on the skin may tell you. | iStock.com/OcusFocus

When you get a cut on the skin, the bleeding eventually stops and the skin rebuilds itself to heal the wound. However, when you have a blood clotting disorder, you might notice that small cuts on the skin don’t stop bleeding. It takes longer for the blood to clot, which means the healing process is delayed. A cut that won’t stop bleeding may just be deeper than you thought, so it isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. However, if you continue to notice it, it could be a sign of hemophilia.

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