In a time where a global pandemic has taken center stage and millions struggle to access and afford health care, it might seem like insights into your health are a privilege afforded to only a few. Admittedly, this may be true in far too many contexts, from extensive testing to formal diagnoses. And yet, there’s still a lot you can learn without having to make a GoFundMe—plenty of insights come from your body and you yourself, such as by looking at your face in the mirror.
When you think of your smile within the context of your health, you’ll likely find that oral health and dental care come to mind. A healthy smile is a happy smile, and you took the time to find the best dentist in Sydney to ensure you meet your dental needs from your very first visit onward. But did you know that your teeth can tell you about your health beyond visits to the dentist, too? For instance, you might be familiar with the connection between oral health and heart health. Sure, smiling at your reflection won’t replace an EKG. But it can offer a glimpse into what’s going on in the rest of your body.
Chances are, you’re not thinking about your health when you work through your daily skincare routine. However, like your teeth, you’ll find that the state of your skin can tell you an awful lot about your health more broadly. For instance, you may see indications of certain health conditions, like the butterfly rash associated with lupus or the yellowed skin of jaundice, associated with liver disease and other ailments. Your skin, too, has unique health needs, not just cosmetic or aesthetic concerns. In addition to dermatology, the branch of medicine studying the skin, skin oncology is a crucial aspect of skin health, detecting and treating not just skin cancers (such as melanoma, basal cell cancer, or squamous cell carcinoma) but cancers of the head and neck as well.
It makes sense that certain symptoms of medical conditions can be seen on the skin, but these aren’t the only symptoms that can be seen clearly on your face. For example, do you find yourself struggling with dry, flaky lips? Sure, you might need a bit of chapstick. However, this can also be indicative of underlying issues, including dehydration, thyroid problems, and vitamin deficiencies. Other symptoms found on the face include puffy eye bags (hypothyroidism or sleep apnea), excess facial hair (PCOS or hormonal imbalances), facial drooping or asymmetry (stroke or Bell’s palsy), and others.
Clearly, there are quite a few ways your face can offer insights into your physical health, but what about those factors that come into play even more internally? Whether you realize it or not, your facial expressions say an awful lot about your mental health, and they can even help diagnose certain psychological disorders. This can be taken a step further, too—habitual expressions like frowning or scowling can be evident in the wrinkles and skin, indicating whether you’ve dealt with serious emotional distress in your lifetime.
From dentistry to dermatology, your face can tell you a remarkable amount about your health. Best of all, it’s a built-in tool, ready to guide you toward the diagnoses, treatment options, and health care support you need. Whether you’re meeting with a dentist, trying to pinpoint an underlying condition, or simply getting a handle on where your health stands, your face—from your skin and teeth to your facial expressions and symptoms—is the hidden-in-plain-sight tool you didn’t know you needed. You can find all these insights and more, no insurance copay is required!