If your skin’s giving you attitude, there may be more to it than just the dry winter air: When something on the inside isn’t functioning properly, these issues start translating to your appearance — primarily, your skin. “Skin is the window to your health, and even 30 to 40 percent of skin issues may be attributed to an underlying chronic disease,” says Dr. Roshini Raj, co-founder of TULA skin care.
Here are eight skin issues that may be a sign of a more serious health condition:
A freckle can sometimes be skin cancer in disguise, so it’s important to check each one against the five danger signs, suggests Raj: asymmetrical shape, border irregularity, different colors, diameter greater than a pencil eraser and a change in shape, size or color.
2. Dry skin
According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, M.D., dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, if you have dry skin you may have low thyroid function — which may also be associated with thinning hair and eyebrows.
“Thick, velvety and brownish gray patches on the skin, predominantly present in the areas around the neck, armpit or groin, may be a sign of diabetes,” says Raj.
4. Eye bags and puffiness
According to Raj, it’s not just lack of sleep that can cause baggy, puffy eyes: High-sodium foods and diets rich in salt can promote water retention throughout the body, including the under-eye area. Chronic allergies may also take out their frustrations on your eyes by dilating blood vessels and causing them to leak, which creates puffiness and a dark purple-blue color.
5. Breakouts on your jawline and chin
“This may be a sign of a hormonal imbalance, such as polycystic ovary syndrome,” says Zeichner, and may be accompanied by excessive hair growth on your sideburns, chin or chest.
6. Redness, rashes, blotchiness
“Broken capillaries and redness may be caused by a variety of factors, like sun exposure, genetics, alcohol consumption or injury,” says Raj. “Flashing and persistent redness may also be an early symptom of rosacea.”
And we can’t not mention digestive problems that may show up on your skin in the form of super itchy clusters of red bumps and blisters (ick), which commonly appear on the knees, elbows and buttocks, and according to Raj, are a clear sign of celiac disease.
7. Sallow and yellow skin
If there’s a yellowish tint to your skin and it’s especially noticeable on your palms and soles, this may be a sign of hypothyroidism. “When there’s a thyroid concern, the gland doesn’t metabolize vitamins as quickly, which results in the accumulation of beta-carotene levels in the blood,” says Raj.
8. Subcutaneous lumps
“Lumps that occur under the skin could be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis,” says Raj, as well as thinning skin or translucency of the skin on the back of your hands.