How the Health of Your Skin Reflects Your Overall Wellness

Written by Morgan Covington, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist on July 2, 2024 No Comments

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Our skin is the largest organ in our body, serving as a barrier to protect us from environmental hazards and playing a vital role in regulating body temperature and sensing touch. Our skin is also a window into our overall health and certain dermatological conditions can be indicative of other health issues, making it important to mind our skin health alongside our general wellness. If you are experiencing persistent skin problems, it might be time to seek professional care to address potential underlying causes.

The Importance of Monitoring Skin Health

Monitoring the health of your skin is not just about maintaining a clear complexion. It is about paying attention to signs that may point to more serious underlying conditions. Skin health is often reflective of our internal health, with many skin issues acting as early warning signs for conditions that require medical attention. Persistent dermatological symptoms should not be ignored, so if you notice any concerning changes in your skin, we always suggest you seek professional care from a dermatologist to rule out or manage possible health issues.


Acne is one of the most common skin conditions, particularly among adolescents. While often attributed to hormonal changes during puberty, acne can also indicate underlying health issues that include endocrine disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and Cushing’s syndrome.

When should you consider professional treatment for acne? If your acne is painful, persistent, or has not responded to over-the-counter treatments, it might be time to see a dermatologist. Common treatments include topical retinoids, antibiotics, and hormonal therapies, which can be tailored to individual needs.

Frown Lines

Frown lines, or deep wrinkles that appear between the eyebrows, can be more than just a sign of aging. They can indicate chronic stress, malnutrition, or dehydration. Stress causes the body to produce cortisol, which can break down collagen and elastin in the skin, leading to the formation of wrinkles.

Preventing and treating frown lines involves a combination of lifestyle changes and medical treatments. Techniques include using moisturizers, practicing good nutrition, staying hydrated, and avoiding excessive sun exposure. For deeper lines, treatments like Botox and dermal fillers can provide more immediate results.


Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, but it can also be a sign of serious health conditions such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or certain cancers. It occurs when the nerves responsible for triggering your sweat glands become overactive.

Managing hyperhidrosis often involves antiperspirants, medications, and in some cases, surgical procedures. Additionally, Botox injections can temporarily block the nerves that cause sweating. It is crucial to diagnose any underlying conditions that might be causing excessive sweating to ensure proper treatment.


Chronic itching can be more than just a minor annoyance — it can signal conditions like kidney disease and diabetes. These diseases can cause the buildup of waste products in the blood, leading to itchy skin.

To treat and prevent itchy skin, it is important to stay hydrated, use moisturizers regularly, and gently exfoliate. Avoiding irritants such as harsh soaps and wearing soft, breathable fabrics can also help. In some cases, a dermatologist may prescribe medication to alleviate severe itching.


Hives, or urticaria, are raised, itchy welts that can appear suddenly. They can be caused by autoimmune conditions like lupus and thyroid disorders. In lupus, the immune system attacks healthy tissue, which can result in skin rashes and hives.

Managing hives typically involves antihistamines to reduce itching and swelling. For chronic hives, doctors may recommend stronger medications or lifestyle changes to identify and avoid triggers.


Jaundice is characterized by yellowing of the skin and eyes due to an excess of bilirubin, a byproduct of red blood cells. It can indicate serious health issues such as gallstones, hepatitis, liver cancer, or autoimmune disorders.

Addressing jaundice requires treating the underlying condition. This might involve medication, surgery, or other interventions depending on the cause. Early diagnosis and treatment are important for preventing complications.


Peeling skin can result from general dryness, infections, or genetic conditions. Treating peeling skin involves moisturizing and protecting the skin, but it is also vital to address any underlying conditions. This might involve specific medical treatments or lifestyle adjustments to support overall skin health.

Paying attention to the health of your skin is not merely a matter of aesthetics; rather, it is an important aspect of monitoring your overall wellness. Persistent skin issues can be a sign of more serious health problems, and seeking professional advice can help in early diagnosis and effective treatment. By taking care of your skin, you are also taking care of your overall health.

Morgan Covington, MD

Dr. Morgan Covington received her medical degree from the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago. She completed her intern year training at Presence Resurrection Hospital and stayed in Chicago for her dermatology residency at the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital. Dr. Covington is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, Skin of Color Society, and Texas Medical Association.

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