Our skin is the body’s largest organ and a reflection of your overall health which can provide important clues to the first signs of illness. Healthy skin often has a vibrant glow, good coloring and a smooth, unblemished appearance, while unhealthy skin can appear discolored, tired, wrinkled or even older than its actual age. Below is a list of 9 warning signs of poor skin health and when to seek treatment.
1. Skin Changes in Diabetes
Diabetes can impact the entire body – including the skin. In fact, skin changes are one of the most common signs of diabetes signaling your blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high. If you notice any of the following warning signs on your skin, it’s time to schedule an appointment with us.
- Yellow, reddish, or brown patches on your skin
- Darker area of skin that feels like velvet
- Hard, thickening skin
- Skin infections
- Open sores and wounds
- Shin spots
- Outbreak of small, reddish-yellow bumps
- Red or skin-colored raised bumps
- Extremely, dry itchy skin
- Yellowish scaly patches on and around your eyelids
- Skin tags
Not all moles are created equal, but some can mean seriously bad news: melanoma, a common form of skin cancer. Have a large or colorful mole? Apply the A-B-C-D-E test: Look for asymmetry (if it’s not perfectly round), inspect the border for irregularity, note the color (if the tone changes across the mole), examine the diameter (anything bigger than a pencil eraser may be problematic), and evolution (look for new or significant change in size, shape, shade of color, symptoms of bleeding/tenderness).
3. Skin Discoloration
Changes in skin tone can occur due to external causes such as sun exposure, but there are also internal health conditions that may cause skin discoloration. Yellow skin may be a symptom of jaundice, which is due to increased levels of bilirubin. This can be common in infants but also can present later as a sign of pancreatic or liver disease.
4. Scaly Patches and Nonhealing Sores
Scaly patches, nonhealing sores, and painful bumps in sun-exposed areas such as the face can be indicative of skin cancers, such as squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma. These are the two most common forms of skin cancer.
5. Red Cheeks
People can become flushed due to embarrassment, fever, medications and a number of other reasons but if your face appears to be red often, this may be a sign of another condition. Possible causes include common skin conditions such as rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis along with other causes such as lupus, which can affect other organs in your body. Lupus may present with a rash in a butterfly shape across the nose and cheeks.
6. Constant Itch
We all get itchy skin from time to time. Your body is constantly coming into contact with irritants like cold weather, itchy wool sweaters, and allergens. However, changes in kidney function, gall bladder function, and certain medications can also cause itchiness.
7. Painful rash
If you have a rash that’s painful, begins to blister, is accompanied by fever, or develops out of nowhere and spreads rapidly, you should make an appointment with Dr. Cohn. All of the above are signs of something more serious, such as an infection, allergic reaction, or bad reaction to medication. If breathing becomes difficult, call 911 right away.
8. Hard skin
Tight skin is another issue entirely. Scleroderma (which comes from the Greek words “sclero,” meaning “hard,” and “derma,” meaning “skin’) is a rare condition in which the body produces and accumulates too much collagen, resulting in oval-shaped or linear patches of hard skin in various sizes throughout the body.
9. Skin Abscesses – Boils
Skin abscesses, more commonly referred to as boils, are fluid or pus-filled bumps on the skin that can be painful. Abscesses most often occur due to bacterial infection in the skin. Recurrent boils or abscesses in certain areas such as the groin, underarms and under the breasts can be signs of a dermatologic condition known as hidradenitis suppurativa. Depending on the severity, this condition may be treated with a variety of topical or systemic medications.
If you are unsure of where to begin to achieve healthy skin or have questions, schedule an appointment on-line or call 330-425-7600 for a personal consultation with Dr. Monique S. Cohn, DO FAOCD.