What your skin says about your health

Your skin is the window to your health. People who are non-smokers, sleep well, have a healthy diet, and drink plenty of water have better skin than those who have stressful lifestyles, smoke, drink alcohol, and  greasy food.

Dermatologists can tell a whole lot about underlying health problems just by looking at your skin. There are some health conditions that begin with skin changes, from breakouts to itchiness, these things can be a clue to something that might be going on inside.

Dry, Itchy Skin

Dry skin can plague many of us, especially during the winter months when it’s cold outside and the central heating is cranked up indoors. This will cause our skin to lose essential moisture making I feel tight and dry.

If your skin is chronically dry all year round it could mean eczema. This is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that can make your skin itchy, dry and inflamed.

Itchy skin on other parts of the body such as legs accompanied by raised red blotches, could be a sign of hepatitis C. Chronic itching lasting more than six weeks has been strongly linked to asthma, allergies, and eczema.


If you get regular outbreaks on your jaw and chin it could indicate a hormonal imbalance. Adult acne is common in women, especially in those who did not have acne as a teenager. It can happen during times of stress, around the time of your period or during the menopause.

Dermatologist at Woman’s College Hospital in Toronto, Dr. Adam Nash, explains to Best Health, “Acne occurs when there is a surge of male-type androgen hormones [namely testosterone and DHEAS].”

Dark Circles

Dark circles underneath your eyes can be down to genetics, lifestyle and age, however it can also be a sign of nutrient deficiency, dehydration, and poor sleep.

Puffy Eyelids

If you have puffy eyelids accompanied by dryness and rash it could indicate eczema or contact dermatitis. The irritation is usually caused by an allergic reaction to a product you are using around your eyes that is causing irritation to the skin.

Yellow Bumps

Yellow bumps under your skin are seen in people with untreated high cholesterol. People with severe elevated cholesterol will have yellow bumps known as xanthelasma, appear on their skin. Having high cholesterol ups your chance of heart attacks and strokes, so if you notice yellow bumps on your skin, tell your doctor.

Darkening Skin Tone

Areas of darkening skin tone, also known as hyperpigmentation, could be down to undiagnosed diabetes. Diabetes makes our blood sugar levels rise, causing the barrier of your skin to be compromised. As you lose circulation and sensation, your skin becomes less able to fight off infection.

Red, White and Blue Hands and Feet

If you have noticed the skin on your hands and feet changing colour after exposure to cold, it probably means you are suffering from a condition called Raynaud’s Syndrome.

More prone in women than men, there is little known about Raynaud’s, but it is thought that it happens because of blood vessel spasms and abnormal nerve sensitivity.

There is no cure for Raynaud’s Syndrome, however there is medication that can help, and avoiding smoking, emotional stress and cold temperatures can help control attacks.