Your skin is the largest organ in your body, so, understandably, some of the first signs of illness or disease are evident through changes in your skin. Doctors can detect conditions like diabetes, lupus, and cancer by noticing common symptoms like acne cysts, blotches, rashes, or prematurely aging skin. It’s important to know what abnormal changes in your skin could mean to get the appropriate tests and treatment early.
Here are some of the most common signs of disease or illness in your skin:
Dry and Itchy Skin
Dry and itchy skin is one of the most common symptoms people experience. If you notice that your skin is becoming dehydrated, especially in the winter months, you may be experiencing a deficiency in zinc. Zinc is essential to many bodily functions, and its primary role is as an antioxidant. If you are deficient in zinc, your body may be struggling to repair itself after every minor injury or illness. An inability to maintain healthy skin cells causes dryness and itchiness, leaving you feeling discouraged and unattractive.
Skin sensitive to touch is a common symptom that’s associated with psoriasis. Psoriasis can be challenging to treat, but some options can help alleviate your dry and itchy skin, including prescription creams, ointments, and even a medical device called the Lidocaine patch. Psoriasis is when the skin cells grow too rapidly or are replaced too quickly. This causes them to build up on top of each other, creating dry, red patches of rashes. Symptoms include extreme itchiness or pain when the rash is inflamed or scratched. A Lidocaine patch aims to relieve the dryness and itching associated with psoriasis by applying a medicated pad directly to your skin.
An overproduction of scalp oil often causes dandruff. The oil clogs your pores and makes it difficult to remove dead skin cells, leading to an itchy, flaking scalp. The best way to treat dandruff is with a prescription shampoo that helps control dandruff and relieve your dry, itchy scalp. It’s essential to prevent dandruff from occurring in the first place by washing your hair regularly with dandruff shampoo or conditioner.
Dry and Brittle Nails
Dry, brittle nails are another sign of skin lacking essential nutrients. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause the nails to look pale, thin, or ridged. Keep your nails healthy by applying petroleum jelly to them before you go to bed. It’s also essential to make sure you’re getting enough water every day since water removes toxins from your body and helps you get essential nutrients in your diet.
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions and can be easily treated. There are many medications, lotions, and foams that are specially formulated for acne. Acne is caused by pores becoming clogged with oil and dead skin cells, leading to inflammation and an overproduction of white blood cells. If your acne has become severe, you may even consider visiting a dermatologist to discuss different treatment options.
Persistent and Irritated Hands
The skin on your hands is susceptible and is often the first place to show signs of disease. Have you been washing your hands a lot or using harsh detergents? Your hands may start to show signs of damage if you’re not taking care of them properly. Dry, irritated skin will cause your hands to become red and swollen, leading to cracked and painful skin. If your hands are looking this way, it’s best to apply hand moisturizer after every use and make sure you’re getting enough rest.
If your skin starts to feel dry and flaky, you may notice some discolorations on your skin. Discoloration can be a sign of a disease or even a medication side effect. An infection or injury can also cause discoloration to your skin that bleeds under the surface of your skin. When you’re becoming chronically ill with no consistent change in symptoms or health, a visit to see a doctor is necessary to get the treatment needed so that you can continue to feel better and heal.
Dry, itchy, and sensitive skin are some of the most common symptoms of an underlying illness. It’s essential to keep track of how your skin is acting and see a doctor if you notice your skin taking on a new look or smell. How is your skin typically? Do you have any dry patches or discoloration? Share your thoughts below! For more tips on biohacking skincare and wellness, sustainability, and how to keep your lifestyle healthy, visit our blog.