• By Vivien Williams

Mayo Clinic Minute: What skin changes tell you about your health

June 19, 2017

How closely do you watch for changes in your skin? Most of the time, rashes, breakouts and texture changes are nothing to worry about. But, sometimes, these issues are a sign that something inside your body needs attention. Dr. Lisa Drage, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist, diagnoses diseases by examining patients' skin.

Changes in your skin can be clues that there’s an internal issue with your health.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: A broadcast-quality video package (1:00) is available in the downloads. Read the script.

“When a patient is concerned about that, their doctors will send them to see me, and I’ll sort of canvas their skin to see if I can see anything of the typical findings that could help with a diagnosis. It’s sort of detective work.”

Dermatologist Dr. Lisa Drage says certain conditions can cause specific skin changes. Lupus can cause many skin issues, the most typical of which is a butterfly-shaped rash on the face. Thyroid disease can cause dry skin. Gluten sensitivity or celiac disease can trigger a super itchy rash called dermatitis herpetiformis.

“Itchy bubbles or blisters on usually the elbows, the knees and the back of the scalp.”

And stress can make you itch all over and prompt flare-ups of acne. Dr. Drage says many people worry that a skin issue may be a sign of an internal problem.

“Sometimes there is, but many times I can just reassure them that they’re OK.”

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