Your skin can say a lot about what’s going on beneath the surface. Just as smooth skin and a healthy glow can signify that someone is healthy and hydrated, various skin conditions can be clues to other health issues that need to be addressed.
Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine have found that the degree to which an individual exhibits psoriasis, an autoimmune skin condition, determines an increasing level of risk for having other illnesses, including heart, kidney, lung, liver and pancreatic issues.
The study examined 9,035 psoriasis patients, 52 percent with a mild condition, 36 percent with moderate, and 12 percent with severe psoriasis, covering over 10 percent of their skin. The researchers found that the more severe the psoriasis, the greater the odds were of the individual having another illness.
Some of the illnesses which were linked to psoriasis were diabetes, mild liver disease, chronic pulmonary disease (COPD) and myocardial infarction. Psoriasis is by nature an inflammatory condition, and inflammation can pave the way for a host of other health issues.
Even if you do not have psoriasis, chronically dry, itchy skin can be telling of underlying health issues. Much of the time, dry skin is a result of environmental factors, such as winter weather. However, if the weather is not dry, and slathering on organic coconut oil isn’t doing the trick, your dry skin may be a sign of deeper health problems.
According to Dr. Michael Roizen, if your dry skin is not caused by environmental conditions, eczema, psoriasis or an allergic reaction, it could be symptomatic of a difficulty in controlling blood sugar. It could also signify liver disease, kidney disease, hypothyroidism or even lymphoma.
This annoying and often embarrassing skin condition can be the sign of both high stress and a poor diet. If you have acne, and are eating processed foods, or foods high in refined sugars, changing your diet to organic, healthy foods could do the trick.
However, according to Dr. Kanade Shinkai, a dermatologist at the University of California, San Francisco, adult acne, especially in women, could be a sign of hormonal imbalance. Dr. Shinkai says that some women with acne might have elevated levels of male hormones, including testosterone. Along with acne, this imbalance is also signified by facial hair growth, a deepening voice and increased muscle mass, along with decreased breast size.
The endocrine system is a complicated network, and a number of hormonal imbalances could cause acne to erupt. In the case of too much male hormones, a condition called PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is one common cause, and if it is left unaddressed, it could lead to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes and cancer, says Dr. Shinkai.
Of course, not all skin conditions signify deeper health issues, just as not everyone with perfect skin is perfectly healthy. However, what is on the surface can certainly be an indicator that something is out of balance with your health.
Instead of simply treating a skin condition, such as psoriasis, dry skin or acne, on the surface, take a look at your diet, your exercise habits and your stress level to see if something is amiss. Also, talk to a naturopathic practitioner if you have concerns, to ascertain what your skin is trying to tell you.
-The Alternative Daily