Skin Health

What Your Skin Says About Your Health

According to the National Institutes of Health, our skin is the body’s largest organ. While it protects the body, it also does things such as hold fluids in, keep microbes out, regulate body temperature, and more. While most people think of skin only in terms of beauty, but there’s a lot more to it.

“The way our skin looks says a lot about how healthy we are, believe it or not,” explains Dr. Sanjiv Saini of MD Dermatology, in Edgewater and Lexington Park, Maryland. “Healthy-looking skin is often an indication of a healthy person, while the opposite is true of someone who has health conditions.”

Here are some things your skin might be trying to tell you:

You need iron. People who find that their skin is paler than normal may be anemic. Anemia, which results an iron deficiency, anemia can also be a sign of other diseases, such as an inflammatory bowel disease.

You need more water. When someone is not drinking enough water on a regular basis, their skin may look flaky, tight, and dry. Getting plenty of water will improve the look and feel of skin.

You need to reduce stress. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that stress has an inflammatory impact on the skin, which could lead to such conditions as rosacea, psoriasis, and acne. Lowering stress levels can give you clearer skin.

You may have a thyroid problem. Having a yellowish tint to the skin can be a sign that there are thyroid problems. Beta-carotene levels are increased in the blood when the thyroid is underactive, giving the skin the yellowish tone.

You need more omega-3 fatty acids. Having skin that is dull and dry can be a sign that you’re not getting enough of these acids, which are found in walnuts, sardines, and flaxseed.

Overall, Saini emphasizes, skin care goes beyond cleansing and cosmetics.

“Pay more attention to your skin beyond just adding moisturizer,” he says. “What you see can be signs of something bigger that needs to be addressed. And when in doubt, see a doctor so that you can be sure it’s not a sign of something major.”

For more information about Dr. Sainni and skin-care issues, visit

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