Health: The hints your skin gives about your health

The largest organ of the body, your skin is usually the first to suffer when there's a deficiency, as the body concentrates on getting nutrients to vital organs. Watch out for these subtle clues skin gives as to what might be going wrong on the other side:


Dry skin

"Healthy cells need effective levels of essential fatty acids – if skin has become dry, you're lacking," says herbalist Ed Berger. "Take flaxseed, hempseed or fish oil or supplements," he recommends. Boots nutritionist Vicky Pennington suggests oily fish, as well as vitamins A and E, which she says help maintain healthy skin and are found in eggs, liver, butter, margarine, full-fat milk, avocado, nuts and wheatgerm.


Puffy under-eyes

"Puffiness is caused by fluid retention which suggests the kidneys aren't working 100 per cent effectively," says Ed. "A dandelion tea or supplement should stimulate fluid elimination,' he advises.


Scaly scalp

"Stress can be a major factor in increased cell turnover which causes flakiness on the scalp," says Glenn Lyons. Glenn advises washing hair every day and says he sees great improvements in many patients who reduce intake of dairy products. "Some people find drinking white wine and champagne shows on their scalp, too, with increased irritation," he adds.


Inflamed, spotty skin

Red, inflamed skin or acne rosacea could, according to Elemis's Noella Gabriel, be a result of too much 'heat' in the diet – spicy foods, lots of alcohol… "It's a high-acidic diet that inflames skin," she says. Eat lots of vegetables for alkalinity, avoid citrus fruits in particular and watch out for your triggers – if you feel skin becoming hot when you eat a particular food or drink certain alcohol, steer clear," she adds.


Chalky skin

What it reveals: "We are the brown paper bag generation - eating lunch at our desks," says Noella. "Bad digestion as a result of such habits manifests itself in a dry, tight, dusty looking complexion. Rosy cheeks, congested T-zones and dry patches as well show a real lack of nutrients." Give yourself time to digest your food properly, always tone – even after washing skin – to make sure it's really clean and use antioxidant-rich skincare to nourish and protect.

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