Your skin is so much more than a canvas for embellishments. In fact, many of the treatments that you use to hide blemishes, wrinkles, unwanted hair, and other imperfections, could also be masking potential health problems. There are several health problems that can make their presence known in your skin, long before you ever get a diagnosis. If you have any of these skin problems, consider contacting your physician before you call a plastic surgeon, or book a treatment at a spa or clinic.

Cosmetic Procedures and Underlying Conditions

Having an underlying condition does not mean that you can’t have cosmetic procedures. However, it does mean that you should address those conditions before you do anything else. A cosmetic procedure will make you look better, but it won’t help you treat or manage a potentially life-threatening illness.

Depending on the nature of your condition, you might also need to find a doctor or clinic that has the medical expertise necessary to work within your illness. For example, some diabetics have problems wound healing, which could affect your recovery.

Always do your research on any potential cosmetic surgeon, spa or clinic. Find out how many licensed medical professionals are on staff, and discuss your condition with them. You can also research their website and blog to see what kind of medical and skin care information they post.

Deep Wrinkles

Deep wrinkles on your face and neck could be a normal sign of aging and sun damage, and a simple skin care regime could take care of it; or it could be a sign of low bone density. In fact, in a 2011 study published in the Yale News, scientists reported that postmenopausal women with deep wrinkles were more likely to have lower bone density in the hips, spine, and heels, and were at increased risk of bone fractures.

This is because your bones and skin use collagen for strength and integrity, and collagen production in women is tied to estrogen production. Since postmenopausal women produce less estrogen, collagen levels in the skin and bones drop. In the skin, this leads to deep wrinkles as the skin loses its strength and integrity; in the bones, it can lead to fractures.

If you are a woman over the age of 40 and you have started noticing deep wrinkles forming on your face and neck, consult your family doctor or gynecologist for a bone density test.

Yellow or Orange Skin

People who tan often, either through exposure to UV light or with the spray-on variety, can sometimes have an orange cast to their skin. However, that coloration should generally not extend to the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet. If the coloration appears in those areas, it could be a sign of jaundice or a condition called hypercarotenemia.

-  If your skin and the whites of your eyes are yellow or orange, you most likely have jaundice, which is caused by a buildup of bilirubin in your blood;

-  If it’s just your skin, you most likely have hypercarotenemia, which is caused by a buildup of beta carotene.

Both jaundice and hypercarotenemia can have benign or serious causes. For example, infants often develop jaundice, which usually clears up on its own; and something as simple as eating too many carrots can cause hypercarotenemia. However, both conditions can also be signs of serious illness including diabetes, hypothyroidism, and liver disease.

Although medical photos often how the skin discoloration as vivid yellow, or orange, it’s also possible for the discoloration to be mild, and almost unnoticeable in the early stages. If the skin on your palms and soles appears to be yellowing, or if the whites of your eyes are getting dull, consult your physician.


Areas of darkening skin around the lips and skin folds, or a darkening of scars, could be a result of aging or sun exposure, or it could be a sign of an adrenal disorder called Addison’s disease. You might also notice the creases in your palms getting darker as well.

If you are between the ages of 30 and 50, and you notice darkening in skin creases, or around your lips, along with increased cravings for salt, consult with your doctor.

Varicose Veins

Everyone knows these huge, ropy veins are bad news, but most assume that it’s just for cosmetic reasons. The truth is that those enlarged veins could be a sign of a condition known as venous insufficiency, where the blood does not flow efficiently through the veins. Moreover, venous insufficiency could also be a sign of a blood clot called a deep vein thrombosis which can break off and cause a fatal pulmonary embolism.

If you have varicose veins coupled with leg swelling, pain or tenderness when standing or walking, and red discoloration to the leg, consult your physician immediately.

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