The skin is our body’s largest organ, and while it protects the body, it also does things such as hold fluids in, keep microbes out, and regulate body temperature. While your clients are likely most concerned with their skin’s superficial appearance, there is a lot more to it, says Dr. Sanjiv Saini of MD Dermatology, based in Edgewater and Lexington Park, Md. “Often when you look a little deeper it is clear to see that our skin is telling us something about what’s going on with our overall health,” he says.

Dr. Saini cites five things the skin may reveal about a person’s health:

1. Iron is needed. For those with skin that is paler than normal, their skin may be letting them know that they are anemic. Resulting from an iron deficiency, anemia can also be a sign of other diseases, such as an inflammatory bowel disease.

2. More water is needed. When someone is not drinking enough water on a regular basis, their skin may look flaky, tight, and dry. Getting plenty of water will keep the skin looking and feeling better.

3. It’s time to reduce stress. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that stress has an inflammatory impact on the skin, which could lead to such conditions as rosacea, psoriasis, and acne. Reducing stress can help give people clearer skin.

4. There are thyroid problems. Having a yellowish tint to the skin can be a sign that there are thyroid problems. Beta-carotene levels are increased in the blood when the thyroid is underactive, giving the skin the yellowish tone.

5. More omega-3 fatty acids are needed. Having skin that is dull and dry can be a sign that the person is not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, which are rich in foods like walnuts, sardines, and flaxseeds.

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