We know that appearance is an indicator of overall health. Here, one expert reveals what your skin and nails may be trying to tell you.
When Alan Logan, ND, proclaimed that taking care of your skin isn’t just for vanity’s sake during an interview for Delicious Living’s June skin care feature (27 ways to get perfect skin, naturally), he wasn’t advising us to devote 15 extra minutes to morning primping. His statement reinforced that your skin’s vibrancy is a key indicator of overall health, and that maintaining both is very much dependent on your lifestyle—from diet and supplements to sleep and exercise. Dull pallor linked to dehydration, inadequate sleep, or nutrient deficiency? Got it.
The link between crow's feet and bone fractures? Let’s just say not quite as intuitive, but I also wasn’t shocked when I came across this recent study from the Yale School of Medicine, which shows the deeper your wrinkles, the lower your bone density. Or when Ariel Ostad, MD, a New York-based dermatologist, offered these clues your skin and nails are trying giving you about health. (Remember, it’s a good idea to see your doctor if you notice these symptoms.)
Yellowish skin, orange palms and soles
An unwanted hue can be the result of an underactive thyroid gland—a condition called hypothyroidism.
Dark lines on palms
This deepening of the pigment in the creases of the palms or soles may indicate adrenal insufficiency, an endocrine disorder also known as Addison's disease.
The possible causes of long-lasting bruises range from a bleeding disorder to scurvy (vitamin C deficiency). And if you’re over age 65, the main culprit is sun damage and weakened blood vessels, according to Ostad, who notes that excessive intake of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, vitamin E, or ginkgo biloba can worsen the condition.
The cause of small dents in your nails is often psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition that appears as scaly patches on the skin and also can affect the skin cells in the nails.
Nails that are slightly raised at the tip and curve down in the middle (the opposite of what they should be) are asign of iron deficiency or anemia.
Peeling nails can mean your diet is lacking conjugated linoleic acid, abundant in vegetable oils.
An under-active thyroid can cause both dry skin and brittle nails, as can a diet low in iron. Upping dietary protein and taking biotin supplements (a B-complex vitamin) are two potential fixes.
Yellowing nails turn this undesirable hue from lung disease or diabetes. Yellow spots on the nails can be an indicator of fungus or psoriasis.