4 Health Problems That May Show Symptoms On Your Skin First

We all know how crucial it is to regularly check your skin for cancerous moles, and how important it is to turn to a dermatologist if you find something suspicious. But outside of the regular bumps and bruises and the occasional annoying pimple, your skin has ways of telling you it could be something else. Although you may not think of them, there are health problems that may show symptoms on your skin before you notice any other signs.

They may not be the only symptoms you have, but there can be ways your skin tries to tell you something more is wrong. "You can tell if you’re susceptible to an existing systemic disease by keeping an eye out for specific signs and symptoms appearing in your skin," Dr. Zein Obagi of the Obagi Skin Health Institute tells me over email. "It is important to pay attention to any changes in your skin, as this can often determine potential underlying conditions you may not realize are present. Consulting your doctor or dermatologist is key if you notice any changes in your complexion over time."

According to Dr. Obagi, these systemic diseases may show up as symptoms on your skin. Here's what to look out for, though you should always see your own dermatologist for a proper check every year.

1. Ovarian Polycystic Disease

"In teenagers, signs of ovarian polycystic disease include excessive loss of bodily and facial hair and stubborn acne," says Dr. Obagi. It's also known as Polysystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, and it affects more people than you would think. If you have stubborn acne that just won't go away, it could be a sign you may need to see a specialist.

2. Liver Failure

It's not common, but liver failure does happen, so it's important to know the signs. "Liver failure will often lead to a yellowish orange tint in your skin, particularly around the eyes," says Dr. Obagi. If you notice it on yourself — or a friend — say something.

3. Diabetes

Diabetes comes with a slew of symptoms, but some may show up on your skin. "Symptoms of diabetes include dry skin, itching and leg ulcers," says Dr. Obagi. (P.S. a leg ulcer is a break in the skin that becomes infected.)

4. Lupus

"Lupus often leads to butterfly-like redness showing up in your complexion, photosensitivity and ulcers," says Dr. Obagi. (Photosensitivity is sensitivity to the sun). The autoimmune disease is serious, so if you notice a sudden sensitivity to the sun or other light sources, see a doctor.

Most little things on your skin aren't cause to worry, but if something sticks around for awhile (or looks like any of these symptoms), it's important to see your doctor and catch it early.

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