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What Story Does Your Skin Tell?

Whether we’re young, old, or somewhere in between, I believe most of us admire and desire healthy skin. While the face is what we typically see first and put more emphasis on, the rest of the body warrants attention too. Beautiful skin ALWAYS catches my attention and for more reasons than its obvious beauty. Sometimes the condition of our skin is a result of what is going on outside our bodies such as something we come in contact with (i.e. chemicals, nickel in jewelry or buttons, poison oak/ivy) or that we’ve exposed ourselves to (i.e. sun, water, wind, heat). Other times the condition of our skin is an indication of what is going on inside our bodies such as hormonal imbalance, food intolerances (allergic reactions or sensitivities), detoxification malfunction, or digestive dysfunction. I like to observe people as they gaze into their mirrors from every angle imaginable. They pick, squeeze, stretch, and tweeze until they feel they’ve done all they can do, give themselves a half smile in the mirror as if they’re not satisfied with the results, and then resume whatever they were doing. Looking beyond the imperfections, it helps to understand and appreciate what our skin is “telling us”. Our skin can be a first outward sign of an inward problem if we know what to look for.

Dry skin that has lost its elasticity can indicate a variety of health issues from lack of estrogen or testosterone to thyroid disorders or hydration/nutritional status. A fine pruritic (itchy) rash can indicate contact dermatitis or food sensitivity. Eczema or atopic dermatitis sometimes indicates more severe food sensitivities or intolerances. Petechiae, small red “blood dots” on the skin can be caused by some medications, inflammation, a thyroid disorder, anemia, and a host of other underlying problems. While the petechiae themselves do not usually cause harm or pain, they are an indication that you and your health care provider need to investigate a little further. Fine lines and wrinkles can tell a lot about your disposition or your stress vs. happiness level. A heavily creased forehead and downward lines around your mouth can indicate stress and frowning a lot. Crow’s feet generally indicate frequent smiling (I’ll take these lines any day!) or squinting from the sun.

Skin, being our largest excretory organ, can tell so much about the condition of our digestive system. When we take into consideration the amount of toxins we ingest, it’s no wonder that some of us develop digestive system and skin problems. A slow GI tract (whether it is from lack of fiber, a thyroid disorder, or dehydration) causes not only constipation, but also a “backing up” of the detoxification process. Your body can’t get rid of the waste products and toxins quickly enough and sometimes the skin serves as an outlet. If we don’t sweat adequately, pores of our skin become clogged and blemishes can develop. Things just don’t “flow” properly.

The next time you start criticizing your appearance in the mirror, stop and ask yourself what your skin might be trying to “tell” you about how your body is adapting to its inner and outer environments. Is there something you can do about it? Do you need medical attention to help determine the underlying causes?

Contact Legacy Health Center, 16 Bellegrass Blvd., Hattiesburg, MS 39402. 601-620-0370 for questions regarding this article or to schedule a consultation appointment. We are now taking new patients.

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