What 3 Different Skin Conditions Can Reveal About Your Overall Health

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Skin disorders are one of the most common reasons people visit their general practitioner, accounting for almost  43% of doctors’ visits in the United States. While skin conditions are common, and often manageable, a persistent problem should never be ignored. Your skin is your body’s largest and most visible organ, and problems with your skin may be the first warning sign of serious underlying systemic issues. 

Acne Can be a Symptom PCOS

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions; 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24 will experience at least some degree of acne. Typically associated with the onset of puberty, hormonal factors play a major role in contributing to acne, and when acne persists into adulthood, it may indicate a hormonal imbalance. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal condition in women, which causes lower levels of estrogen and progesterone, and surges of androgen and testosterone. Higher androgen levels trigger excess oil production in the skin, causing acne breakouts. Many women who have PCOS experience acne as a symptom, and bringing it to their doctor’s attention can help them attain an accurate diagnosis.

Allergies Can Cause Dermatitis 

If your skin is frequently itchy, red or inflamed, an allergic reaction could be the cause. When you’re exposed to an allergen, your immune system releases a chemical called histamine. Histamine causes inflammation and fluid accumulation underneath the skin, giving you rashes and hives. Common sources of skin irritants can be found in laundry detergents, soaps, cosmetics and jewelry. Food allergies can also manifest in a skin rash.  To treat allergic dermatitis, your dermatologist may recommend making lifestyle changes to avoid allergens, taking an antihistamine or immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots.

Atypical Moles May Indicate Melanoma

While almost everyone has moles, certain types of moles may be associated with a form of skin cancer called melanoma. Common moles vary from person to person, but are typically smaller than ¼ of an inch, are round or oval shaped, and have distinct edges. A dysplastic nevus, also called an atypical mole, may have a scaly surface, irregular edges that fade into the skin, and is usually larger than a common mole. If you notice changes in the color, shape or texture of a mole, bring it to the attention of a medical professional. Early detection and intervention is key for effectively treating melanoma.

Skin conditions are common and typically not a cause for alarm, however, it is best to take preventive measures and discuss any concerns with your doctor. Take time to inspect your skin periodically, and take note of any changes. Even if you’re not faced with a major health issue, living with any degree of discomfort or self-consciousness when it comes to your skin warrants a visit to a dermatologist.

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