Our skin is one of the most important organs in our body. Much of the time we do not view our skin as an organ but it is in fact a metabolically active part of our body just as much as any other organ. In fact, our skin is the largest organ we have and functions to protect us from our outside environment, to house our peripheral nervous system so that we can sense our environment, and to provide an encasing to our other body structures so that we can interact with our environment safely. It is composed of numerous different cells – from skin cells to immune cells to blood and nerve cells. Our skin is also a great reflector of our internal health.
When we are lacking in certain nutrients or suffering from some level of disease in our body our skin can start to show signs of this. So much so that the health of our skin is not just skin deep but very much in tune with the rest of our body. It is also the organ which needs a great deal of nutrients to be healthy but receives the least by way of sacrifice to provide the rest of the body first. Remember, too, that hair and nails are just an extension of our skin and so these structures can also be affected when our nutritional balance or health in general is not sound. The result is that our external picture to the world is not one of health and radiance. As a doctor I am trained to notice first someone’s skin, nails, and to some extent hair to signal the level of internal body health. You can always tell someone who is in good health versus someone who is not by the health of these structures. So what are the things to look out for when looking at your skin, nails, and hair with regards to poor health indicators?
Beauty Is More than Skin Deep
Some of the signs and symptoms of poor skin health include:
- Dry skin
- Itchy and inflamed skin
- Loss of skin colouring
- Flaky skin or hair
- Pimples, pustules, boils, and other skin sores
- Cracked skin
- Brittle nails and hair
- Pitting or ridges in your nails
- Spoon shaped nails
- Discoloured nails
- White spots in your nails
All of these conditions can suggest an underlying health condition. When health is sound your skin will glow and not show signs and symptoms as above, your nails will be strong with white tips and pink bases, and your hair will not be brittle but will shine. We can of course ruin the constitution of our nails and hair by way of chemical treatments such as dying, false nails, too frequent washing etc. This is not what I am specifically referring to but rather the condition of your nails, hair, and skin in its natural state.
Dr Cris Beer
Holistic Medical Doctor