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Our skin is the largest organ of our body, and it’s not surprising that it tells us a lot more about our health than we can imagine. You probably already know that strange moles can be a sign of skin cancer, and that they require your attention. But do you know there are other conditions that may manifest themselves in your skin?

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While diagnosis of a disease is often more complex than just looking at one or two physical symptoms, and we don’t want anyone to start getting overly-paranoid, the following signs are basic knowledge that can help us better assess our health. If the symptoms and your gut tell you that you should be concerned, perhaps it’s better to err on the side of caution and see a doctor:

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1. There are dark patches where your skin folds

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If the folds and creases at areas like your armpit or neck are dark, it could indicate a high risk or an existing condition of diabetes. Called acanthosis nigricans, this is usually associated to obesity and diabetes, so if you start seeing these discoloration, consider testing for diabetes.

2. Skin that looks yellowish

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Development of a yellow tint in the skin, or jaundice, is a common indication of liver problems. (You’ll notice this commonly in newborn babies.) The reason why you turn yellow is because your liver is unable to break down old red blood cells. If you see your skin, and the whites of your eyes, turn yellowish, consult a doctor.

3. You’re breaking out

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While adult acne can be caused simply by a case of inflammation, it can sometimes point towards a hormonal disorder, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Watch for how persistent the acne is, and if you have made any changes in your life that can cause temporal changes to your hormonal levels (e.g. starting on contraceptive pills or going off them). If you find your acne outbreak unusual and persistent, consider getting medical help.

4. You have a rash

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Rashes can be caused by allergies, but they can also be triggered by stress. Hives is one example of rash that’s aggravated by stress. The stress-induced rash will usually go away after you’ve come to terms with the stressful issues you’re facing, so if you suspect your rash is caused by stress, start managing it by relaxing more, getting sufficient rest, engaging in stress-relieving hobbies, and seeking help.

5. There’s yellowish build-up around your eyes

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These yellowish patches may be cholesterol deposits, and are strong signs of high risk in heart-related problems. If the yellow build-up around your eyes bother you, see a doctor for a blood test (for cholesterol), and seek a nutritionist’s help to keep your cholesterol level in check.

 

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