SKIN PROBLEMS: WHAT DO THEY MEAN

Dr. Nabeel Asghar

2 min read

SKIN PROBLEMS: WHAT DO THEY MEAN

The largest organ of the body, your skin, along with other external organs, is the first line of defense against many threats; including but not limited to bacterial infections, skin cancer from UV ray exposure and extreme temperatures. Furthermore, your skin problems act as a mirror that shows you what’s happening inside, some of which are listed below:

1- Liver Problems:

In addition to asthma, allergies and eczema, an itch on any part of your body that continues for more than 6 weeks could spell trouble for the liver; namely, Hepatitis C-specifically indicated by Lichen Planus, or raised, reddish-purple, flat-topped bumps on the wrists, ankles, back, neck, legs or genitals-and cirrhosis (scarring of the liver and loss of liver cells). Moreover, yellow skin in adults could indicate jaundice associated with liver disease. A severe, constant itch all over the body is also an early symptom of various cancers of the lymph nodes, e.g. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

2- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS):

Small cysts on the ovaries can cause hormonal imbalances and high insulin levels in women, which can manifest as excess hair growth in male pattern areas-the beard, upper back and chest and belly area-and persistent cystic acne.

3- Hypothyroidism:

Acne on the neck, dull, dry and ashy skin and brittle hair and nails are indicative of low thyroid hormone production, which reduces progesterone (the acne controlling hormone) levels; with thickening calf skin pointing towards advanced hypothyroidism. Furthermore, orange tinted skin caused by high concentrations of beta-carotene -found in bright orange foods- in the blood could also indicate low thyroid gland activity, which can be improved through vitamin A consumption and medication.

4- Cutaneous Lupus:

While a butterfly rash on the face alone, could be a sign of Rosacea (enlargement of facial blood vessels) or Contact Dermatitis due to a certain allergy; when coupled with an abnormal, round lesion on parts of the skin commonly exposed to the sun, it could be the first sign of cutaneous lupus. With no known cure, Lupus can be avoided with regular sunscreen use.

5- Diabetes:

Velvety plaques-shiny, thickened patches of skin due to high blood sugar-in the armpit or the back of the neck are a prime signal of prediabetes; which can quickly develop into Type 2 diabetes if not treated. Known also as ‘acanthosis nigricans’, these plaques can also appear on hands and lips. Additionally, leg plaques with red edges and a gold-colored center are also a rare sign of diabetes. These plaques will often not respond to treatment and will be accompanied by joint pains, fever or muscle aches. Adjusting your diet and checking your blood sugar is a good way to deal with this.

6- Shingles:

Painful skin and rashes in people over 40 signals a re-infection of the chicken pox-causing varicella-zoster virus. Though incurable, timely treatment can effectively eliminate the pain and rash, and prevent the condition from recurring. People with a weakened immune system might experience a loss of vision, hearing, or balance if treatment is delayed.

7- High Cholesterol:

Yellowish bumps on the skin are, most likely, excess cholesterol deposits, indicating an extremely high level of blood cholesterol and triglycerides. However, these bumps are rare and mostly show up in people with liver conditions or genetic cholesterol issues.

8- Tuberous Sclerosis:

Not to be confused with Tuberculosis, this rare, genetic condition causes benign tumor growth in the brain and other organs and is reflected on the skin as flesh colored lesions with an orange peel-like feel on the lower back. Red or brown bumps that resemble acne across the nose and cheek, often accompany these lesions.

9- Cancer:

Thick and velvety white palm skin, aka Tripe Palm, might be a sign of lung cancer. When coupled with acanthosis nigricans, it could mean a cancer of the stomach. On the other hand, dark coloured spots that might bleed or don’t heal and moles that change in size, shape or colour could signal skin cancer or Melanoma-which has the highest cure rate at 90%. It is important not to jump to cancer as a conclusion when it comes to skin problems, only a doctor will be able to properly diagnose you in this case.

10- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD):

Shiny and small, abnormal swellings on the shins along with an itchy rash on the elbows, knees, butt, back might indicate a bowel inflammation. If the rash is triggered by gluten consumption, it could be the deadly Celiac Disease, which is treated by employing antibiotics and a gluten-free diet.

If you observe any of the above skin problems, consult a doctor as soon as possible. You can now book an appointment with a top Dermatologist in Islamabad, Lahore and Multan through oladoc.com. Or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your skin-related issues without leaving your home.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Nabeel Asghar Dr. Nabeel Asghar is a cosmetologist based in Lahore. He offers a range of services including acne treatment, laser hair removal, mesotherapy, procedural dermatology, and others.