Spots, spots, wounds, hair: what the face can say about health – 03/17/2022

The skin functions as a protective cloak for the body and is connected with the entire organism. It is the largest organ of the human being, in addition to being one of the first barriers of the immune system, which acts against substances, viruses and situations that can harm and harm.

Because it is thinner than the skin of other parts of the body and is more exposed, the skin of the face is more subject to environmental conditions, such as solar radiation and other types of aggression that can vary according to each individual.

Therefore, “many conditions manifest themselves easily on the face. Literally, they appear ‘on the face'”, explains Alexandre Whistling, dermatologist at SBD (Brazilian Society of Dermatology) and at Clínica SiM, in Salvador. According to him, it is very common for some diseases to reveal symptoms in this region.

When any of the situations below occurs, it is important to seek a specialist to verify if it is a normal and/or safe condition and to verify the need for treatment, which may be different in each situation and from its causes.

Skin health signs

yellowish skin

One of the signs of health problems can appear in the skin color. When the skin becomes more yellow, it could indicate:

  • Excess beta-carotene in the blood, due to the large intake of foods rich in the substance, such as beets, papaya, carrots, pumpkin and tomatoes, for example (a condition known as hypercarotene);
  • Liver diseases (such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, cancer, gallstones and others);
  • Hematological diseases (of the blood, such as various types of anemia);
  • Severe nutritional disorders, caused by problems in intestinal absorption, anorexia, jaundice, among others;
  • Gallstones in the gallbladder;
  • Thalassemia (chronic anemia);
  • Pancreatic cancer.

dark spots

Melasma in black skin - Disclosure - Disclosure
Image: Disclosure

One of the most common complaints in dermatology offices is the appearance of dark spots on the skin. They can be signs of:

  • Melanoses (spots from photoaging, which come with age);
  • Ephelides (popularly called freckles);
  • Melanocytic nevi (benign tumor);
  • Skin cell damage;
  • Trauma or blood clotting disorders (from food allergies, drug allergies, and insect bites, for example).
  • Melasma (excess of melanin protein, which may be associated mainly with exposure to light, but also with the use of hormonal contraceptives and pregnancy);

sores on the lips

The herpes virus type 1 is best known for causing cold sores - Getty Images - Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

Lip wounds require special attention and warrant a diagnostic investigation. For this, it is important to know the time of evolution and the characteristics of the lesion. May appear when there are:

  • Lip herpes;
  • Ulcer;
  • Mucocutaneous candidiasis (when candidiasis appears on the mucous membranes);
  • Vitamin B12 and iron deficiency;
  • Use of inadequate dentures and dental pathologies;
  • Irritation by some external factor;
  • Dehydration;
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer that has wounds that take time to heal and bleed easily).

chapped lips

On the other hand, dry lips, a different condition from lips with wounds, are the result of exposure to aggressive agents. Happen when there are:

  • Chemical cheilitis (inflammation from contact with fruit acid);
  • Actinic cheilitis (inflammation from solar radiation);
  • Habit of passing saliva from the lips;
  • Allergic reaction (from toothpaste and lipsticks, for example).

redness in the face

If the face gets red very often or bothers, this could be, yes, a symptom of some health issue. It may indicate:

  • Dehydration;
  • Photosensitivity to sunlight (either because it is bright or because of rheumatologic diseases such as lupus erythematosus or dermatomyositis);
  • Photodamage (aggression of the skin by the sun);
  • Skin inflammation (such as rosacea)
  • Vasodilation (widening of blood vessels which is not always disease and may be related to hot temperatures, for example).

Nodules and spots

Most “spots” are normal, called nevi, and are genetic traits. These could be signs of:

  • Seborrheic keratosis (reddish or whitish balls from the accumulation of keratin);
  • Cancerous lesions such as carcinoma or melanoma;
  • Viral warts (transmitted by viruses);
  • Fibrous papules (skin irritation or injury);
  • cysts;
  • Closed comedones (blackheads that cover the pores of the glands).

Excessive facial hair

When hairs present as an isolated manifestation, they may not have clinical significance, but when associated with other symptoms, they may be:

  • Hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth all over the body);
  • Hirsutism (growth of hair in women in the most common areas in men);
  • Manifestation of polycystic ovary syndrome;
  • Cushing’s syndrome (elevated concentration of cortisol in the blood);
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (genetic disorder that affects the adrenal glands, located near the kidneys);
  • Disease of the adrenal glands (near the top of each kidney)
  • Hormonal disorders;
  • Medications (with corticosteroids, for example);
  • Excess weight that leads to insulin action.

drooping eyelid

Drooping eyelid - iStock - iStock
Image: iStock

It can be unilateral or bilateral and happens due to alteration of the levator palpebrae muscle due to:

  • Aging;
  • Postoperative complication;
  • Genetic predisposition;
  • Neurological problems, such as stroke (stroke);
  • Injury to the peripheral nerve of the face from herpes virus or trauma;
  • Tumors in the orbital (eye) cavity.

Source: Alexandre Sisnandodermatologist at SBD (Brazilian Society of Dermatology), working at Clínica SiM, in Salvador; Andrea Bannachdermatologist at SBD, working at the Profuse Clinic, in São Paulo (SP); Barbara Carneiro, dermatologist at ABME (Brazilian Association of Aesthetic Medicine) and Portuguese Society of Aesthetic Medicine; and Camila Ribeirofrom the American Society of Dermatology (AAD), working at the Inderm Clinic, in Salvador.

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