For women and men concerned about the state of their overall health, wellness testing can be an ideal way of checking up on what is happening beneath the surface. Certified dermatologist Dr. Ellen Turner provides dermatology services in Dallas, where she performs four types of testing to assess general wellness and provide a closer look at what’s really going on in the body. These analyses (which focus on hormones, the presence of heavy metals, cardiometabolic risk, and gut health) allow her team to deliver more personalized results and develop treatment options that better cater to individual needs. In light of increased interest in the connection between skin conditions and overall health, Dr. Turner provided insight for a general audience into how the two relate.
Comprehensive testing can help patients to identify the existence of abnormalities and deeper health concerns that may be the root cause of ailments. Since, the various functions of the body are interconnected, something amiss deeper in the body often manifests in the skin.
While everyone desires a naturally beautiful, ever-glowing complexion, the importance of protecting and nourishing the skin goes beyond aesthetics. The skin is the largest and fastest-growing part of the human anatomy, and it executes many important functions, such as shielding cells from harmful ultraviolet light and regulating internal temperatures. The condition of the skin can be of tremendous importance for physical and mental health. Minor aberrations, while sometimes easy to ignore, may be the first indication of more severe, underlying issues that are present in the body.
A plethora of information on the wellbeing of a patient is gained by simply observing the state of the integumentary system (the skin and its related appendages) and taking note of visible diagnostic clues. In many cases, lifestyle changes can be made to improve these problems.
Digestive Health and the Gut
Seventy percent (70%) of our immune system resides in our gut. Our skin is very closely tied to our gut, and some skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, acne, and vitiligo can indicate abnormalities related to the gut and its biome. By addressing the four Rs of gut restoration and health—Remove pathogens and allergens, Replace digestive enzymes or stomach acid, Repopulate symbiotic-friendly bacteria, and Repair the lining of the digestive system—many skin issues dramatically improve or can be cured.
Hydration Levels and Renal Disease
Dehydration manifests in a noticeably sallow complexion with a dull, uneven, or lacklustre appearance. Cutaneous conditions that are uncomfortably dry, cool, or itchy may also suggest insufficient water intake. Drinking enough water is important for kidney health, as it is vital for cleansing and removing toxins from the body. Many people who are experiencing renal disease also contend with various skin abnormalities, such as Xerosis, pigmentation disorders, or severe itching.
Liver and Blood Disorders
Paying attention to what your skin is telling you can help you to pinpoint more debilitating issues that you may not have been aware of before. Hepatitis C is a viral infection that can lead to symptoms ranging from mild damage to complete liver failure, while increasing the likelihood of liver cancer. Jaundice, or the yellowing of the skin and eyes, is typically a sign of liver damage, which may be linked to viral infections or disease. It may also occur when too many blood cells are broken down and shunted to the liver.
The skin offers a window into hormonal activity. Changes in skin moisture, texture, temperature, and sweat levels may be signs of thyroid gland issues, such as hyperthyroidism. For some people, chronic stress or a lack of sleep may be the cause of their skin problems. It is believed that increases in the levels of the primary stress hormone cortisol are linked to outbreaks of acne and general aging of the skin.
Nutrient Deficiencies or Excesses
Sometimes an inadequate amount of a particular mineral or vitamin—or, conversely, an overly large intake of it—can result in changes to the skin. For example, diets that are low in vitamins A and C can cause red or white bumps to appear. Skin rashes and discolorations sometimes result from chronic overexposure to metals like mercury, silver, or lead.
Chronic Autoimmune Diseases, Cancers, and Other Conditions
Being aware of spots, sores, raised bumps, heavy flushing, and other changes to the skin is always important. Skin areas that are frequently exposed to the sun are at risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer. Notice dark, waxy patches on the neck or armpits? Among other symptoms, these can suggest undiagnosed diabetes or pre-diabetes. Chronically dry skin is typically associated with eczema or psoriasis.
For further advice on wellness testing and other dermatological services from the Dallas and Plano-based dermatology offices of Dr. Ellen Turner, call (214) 373-7546 or complete a form online to make a detailed inquiry.