The dark circles around your eyes or nagging acne on your face may be telling you more about your health than you think.
Megyn Kelly sat down with Dr. Susan Taylor, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, who explained Friday on Megyn Kelly TODAY that some facial skin changes could actually be signs of a more serious medical condition.
1. Eyebrow thinning
Many women credit their thinning eyebrows to age, frequent plucking or too much waxing. While all of these can contribute to thinning, it's important to note one symptom of a more serious underlying issue. Thinning eyebrows, notably in areas closest to the temples, can signal an underactive thyroid gland — a condition called hypothyroidism.
"You should look for other symptoms," Dr. Taylor told Kelly. "For example, people with hypothyroidism feel tired and sluggish. You can feel cold all the time. Your skin can be really dry, even drier than normal for winter. And you can have constipation. If you have all of that, you need to go to your doctor, and a simple blood test can determine if you have hypothyroidism."
2. Excess facial hair and acne
For many, facial hair may be hereditary, and acne may simply be related to stress. But if you find yourself removing facial hair often and suffering from frequent acne outbreaks, that may mean you're producing too much of the male hormone testosterone.
In some cases, these symptoms could indicate that your ovaries aren't functioning properly, a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. Dr. Taylor recommends seeing a gynecologist for treatment.
High levels of insulin can also boost oil-triggering male hormones, which causes inflammation. This results in a breakdown of collagen and elastin, making your skin saggy and wrinkly. Avoid foods high in sugar, like white bread and soda, to help curb these insulin spikes.
3. Red blotches on your cheeks
Some people blush easily. Others turn flush when they're embarrassed, or if they've had too much red wine.
It's important to notice if your cheeks, and even your chin, appear red. If the redness intensifies during the summer, your body could be telling you that you have lupus, an autoimmune disorder, in which case you should see a doctor right away.
Dr. Taylor said other symptoms include "arthritis, joint pains, muscle aches, lethargy, but often it can just be redness on the face."
4. Under-eye circles
The appearance of under-eye circles or bags occurs when fluid-filled fat pads that surround the eye swell or move beyond where they're normally positioned, causing those areas to bulge.
These under-eye circles can be a sign of too much salt in your diet, or it could mean your chronic allergies are causing blood vessels near your eyes to dilate and leak. But if there is also redness or dark patches around the eyes, it could be a sign of dermatomyositis.
This autoimmune disorder is associated with muscle aches, muscle tenderness and weakness. Dr. Taylor said those living with the disease may even have difficulty lifting their arms to brush their hair, or difficulty walking up steps.