Our skin is an amazing organ that serves as a protective barrier against harmful substances. It has many key roles such as temperature control, vitamin D production, preventing moisture loss, and more. It goes without saying that taking care of our skin is crucial to our overall health. Paying attention to warning signs such as a rash, a change in color or a new mole may indicate a bigger problem, and ignoring the changes can harm your well-being. Eat this, not that! Health spoke with Dr. To Tomi Mitchell, a board-certified family physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies which shares what we need to know about our skin and the signs to look out for. Read on – and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Surefire signs that you’re already over COVID.
dr. Mitchell says: “That’s right, the skin covers the entire surface of our body and protects us from the outside world. It consists of several layers, each of which has its own unique purpose. The outermost layer, the epidermis, is robust and waterproof. It helps prevent harmful bacteria and toxins while regulating body temperature. The dermis, located beneath the epidermis, contains hair follicles, sweat glands and blood vessels. This layer helps keep the body hydrated and provides nutrients to the epidermis. Finally, the hypodermis is the deepest layer of the skin. It contains fat and connective tissue that helps insulate the body and supports the other layers of the skin. Together, these three layers make up our largest organ – the skin!
Without X-rays, computed tomography and more invasive tests and interventions, we cannot “see” what is happening in the body. However, it is safe to say that our skin can leave important clues, so it is important to read these clues correctly and immediately.
Here are some clues in your skin that you should never ignore, as they could indicate something sinister.”
dr. Mitchell explains: “The skin under the armpits is sensitive and can be easily irritated. When the skin is exposed to the sun, it can produce more melanin, resulting in darker skin. Shaving can also cause dark underarms as it removes the top layer of skin, making the area more prone to to irritation Deodorants and antiperspirants can also cause darkening of the skin under the armpits because they contain aluminum and other chemicals that can irritate the skin.
Some medical conditions can cause darkening of the skin under the armpits, such as hyperpigmentation and acanthosis nigricans. Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition characterized by thick, dark, velvety skin lesions. It usually appears in body folds such as the back of the neck, underarms and in the groin. Although it can affect people of any age or race, it is most common in obese adults and children. Acanthosis nigricans is not harmful or contagious, but it can indicate an underlying medical condition. The most common cause of acanthosis nigricans is insulin resistance, which is often seen in people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. The condition may also be associated with certain hormonal disorders, such as Cushing’s disease and polycystic ovary syndrome. In rare cases, acanthosis nigricans can be caused by certain medications or cancer. Treatment for acanthosis nigricans focuses on relieving the symptoms and addressing the underlying cause. If the condition is due to obesity, weight loss and exercise may be recommended. Medicines may also be prescribed to improve insulin sensitivity or manage hormonal imbalances.”
“There are many possible causes of inverted nipples, from benign to more serious conditions,” says Dr. Mitchell. “In some cases, the condition can be caused by a build-up of scar tissue surrounding the milk ducts. This can happen due to nipple piercing, previous breast surgery, or long-term use of certain nipple creams or ointments. In other cases, the condition can be caused by a narrowing of the milk ducts , which can occur in response to infection or trauma. Certain types of breast cancer can also cause ingrown nipples, so it’s best to be cautious and seek medical help right away.”
dr. Mitchell says: “Breast rashes are usually harmless and often go away on their own within a few days. However, in some cases they may indicate a more serious underlying disease. For example, rashes that are accompanied by itching, pain, redness, or swelling may indicate an allergic reaction. Rashes that last longer than a week or two or seem to be getting worse may also be signs of an infection, such as cellulitis or impetigo.
While any change in the appearance of the breast should be checked by a doctor, there are certain skin rashes or changes that may indicate breast cancer. One such change is the development of a rash resembling an orange peel, peau d’orange. This rash is often accompanied by itching, redness and swelling and can be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer. Other skin changes that may indicate breast cancer include dimpling, redness, itching, or peeling. Breast cancer can also cause the nipple to invert or ooze fluid. If you notice any of these breast changes, it is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.”
“Seborrheic keratoses are non-cancerous growths that usually appear on the skin as people age,” says Dr. Mitchell. “They are usually brown or black and can have a waxy, scaly or crumbly texture. Although not dangerous, they can be unsightly and people often want to get rid of them for cosmetic reasons.
Acute onset of multiple seborrheic keratoses, also known as sign Leser-Trélat, is a possible indicator of an underlying internal cancer. This is because cancer cells sometimes release substances that stimulate the growth of seborrheic keratoses. However, it is important to note that seborrheic keratoses are very common in healthy adults. Because of this, Leser-Trélat sign is often overdiagnosed. If you suddenly develop multiple seborrheic keratoses, it is imperative that you see a doctor so that any underlying cause can be ruled out.”
dr. Mitchell says, “Lichen planus is a skin condition that causes a rash. The rash is usually itchy and can be painful. It can also affect mucous membranes, such as the mouth and genitals. The rash consists of small, purple bumps that can coalesce and form scales similar patches Lichen planus is not contagious The exact cause is unknown, but it is thought to be an autoimmune reaction.
Lichen planus was associated with hepatitis. This liver disease can be caused by hepatitis B infection, the hepatitis B vaccine, and especially liver insufficiency caused by hepatitis C. People who have this disease may also have primary biliary cholangitis. This is a condition in which the bile ducts in the liver become inflamed. If you have any of these conditions, you may experience tiredness, itching and yellowing of the skin. You may also lose weight and have joint pain. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.”
dr. Mitchell tells us, “Eruptive xanthomas are yellowish bumps that can appear suddenly on your skin. They are most often seen on the backs of the hands, buttocks, elbows, knees or palms. Eruptive xanthomas sometimes run in families. they can also be symptoms of a more serious condition, such as diabetes or high cholesterol.
These growths are fat cells that usually measure less than half an inch. They can be itchy but usually not painful. You may have just a few lesions or hundreds. In some cases, eruptive xanthomas disappear on their own. But if you have a lot of them or they are accompanied by other symptoms, you should consult a doctor.
Dyslipidemia is a serious condition because it means that there are abnormal amounts of lipids or fats in the blood. This can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and other problems. The most common form of dyslipidemia is high cholesterol, which occurs when there is too much cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol is a substance that the body needs, but too much can be harmful. Too much cholesterol in the blood can build up on artery walls and cause them to narrow. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Dyslipidemia can also cause inflammation of the arteries, which can also lead to heart disease. Treating dyslipidemia is critical because it can help reduce the risk of these serious diseases.”
dr. Mitchell explains: “Skin discoloration can have many causes, but purple discoloration is usually a sign of something sinister. This is because purple discoloration is often caused by a lack of oxygen in the blood. When the blood lacks enough oxygen, it can turn purple. This can cause more things, but it’s often a sign of heart or lung disease. If you notice any purple skin discoloration, it’s important to see a doctor to find out what’s causing it. It might not be anything serious, but it could mean something more serious. Either way, the best is to have it reviewed by an expert.”
dr. Mitchell says this “does not constitute medical advice, and these answers are in no way intended to be comprehensive. Rather, they are intended to encourage discussions about health care decisions.”