Your skin is the largest organ in your body and its appearance is a strong indicator of your overall well-being. While some changes in colouration are perfectly normal and benign, others are not. Watch out for the following symptoms, which could be signs of a larger medical problem. When in doubt, contact an expert, such as the highly trained physicians at the Cosmetic Skin Center at Bangkok Hospital Siriroj.
Yellow or waxy bumps
If you notice these bumps appearing on your eyelids arms, legs or core, it could be a sign of sky-high triglyceride levels associated with out-of-control diabetes.
A new unexplained mole or growth
Talk to your dermatologist if you notice any unusual moles or marks on your skin. There may be nothing to worry about, but in some cases these are signs of skin cancer. The good news is that this is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, but only if it’s detected early.
A rash that does not respond to treatment
A stubborn rash that does not disappear after antifungals or topical steroids have been applied could be a sign of hepatitis C. It could also be an allergic reaction to a medication or other substance.
Yellowing of the skin
Sickly, yellow pigmentation is potentially indicative of several conditions. Jaundice occurs when the body is suffering from liver disease or a blockage of the bile duct. It’s fairly common in infants and often clears up on its own, but should be closely monitored. In some cases, yellow skin can be caused by an excess of beta-carotene, a plant pigment abundant in orange vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots. While this is rare in adults, if you have a fussy baby who eats a high percentage of baby food made with these ingredients, you may want to watch out for symptoms.
Darkening in the creases of the skin and around scars
If old scars and areas around your joints are suddenly darkening or becoming more pronounced, you may be suffering from Addison’s disease or another form of adrenal disease.
Swelling and hardening of the skin
This could be an early sign of systemic sclerosis, an autoimmune disease. If not dealt with properly, it can lead to vital organs including the heart and lungs hardening.
Bronzing of the skin
If you have diabetes, see a doctor immediately if you noticed this, as it could be a sign of an inability to effectively metabolise iron and can lead to liver failure.