March 26, 2021


Is your skin condition a red flag for heart disease?

Believe it or not, skin conditions and heart disease are linked. The outer layer of your body demands your attention for causes much greater than cosmetic and aesthetic reasons. The largest organ in your body, the skin, may actually be warning you about cardiovascular diseases - and more. Crazy, right? Just keep reading.

As an ICU nurse and licensed aesthetician, this topic is important (and simply fascinating) to me. I deal with cardiac cases daily and experience first-hand the magnitude of cardiovascular health. Why? Heart disease leads to heart attacks.

You don’t need a medical degree to know that’s serious. Monitoring your own body for heart disease is vitally important. Thankfully, it’s easy to do thanks to an unlikely helper: your skin.

Skin conditions can be a warning sign that bigger things are going on below the surface. So how exactly does heart disease affect your skin? Let me explain. 

What does heart disease have to do with my skin?

Think of skin conditions like your first line of defense. Discoloration, itching, pain, discomfort, or irregularities are your body’s way of ringing the bell.

Think of it this way: your skin is totally visible. What better place for your body to alert you? Your skin is a direct reflection of your overall health. It’s often one of the first places to show signs of an illness within the body.

How do I know if I have heart disease?

Your skin is a good place to start. There are several warning signs of heart disease on your skin

One sign is lower leg or feet swelling. Heart disease can cause excess fluid build up in the body, commonly pooling in your lower regions. Another place to swell may be your fingers causing nails to turn downward.

Your skin may show gray, blue or purple coloring. Sometimes, these abnormal cool shades even make a lace or net-like pattern on the skin. These color changes could indicate a sign of blocked blood or even blocked arteries. This is commonly caused by high cholesterol, a condition that increases the risk of developing heart disease.

Lastly, brown or red discolored lesions or painful nodules are another telltale sign of a heart infection. While rare, these unsightly skin developments could be something called infective endocarditis, aka an infection in the surface of your heart.

Do you have one of these skin conditions?

Be sure to look out for any irregularities and monitor their progress. Taking photos of your skin and setting reminders to check on the spot is a smart strategy. If skin conditions progress, meet with a medical professional.

Other health conditions your skin could be warning you about

Cardiovascular problems aren’t the only disease your skin can sniff out! Some other serious medical conditions can be suggested through skin reactions, like:

  • Hyperpigmentation could indicate Addison’s disease
  • Red, itchy patches might be signs of Eczema
  • All-over itching (usually harmless) can be a warning for liver disease
  • Chapped or cracked lips might be the results of a Vitamin B deficiency
  • Yellowed skin may be a sign of jaundice, liver disease or hepatitis
  • Waxy bumps could mean high cholesterol or diabetes
  • and more…and even more...

Before you freak out, don’t! Rather than overanalyzing every skin irregularity, understand that our skin changes continuously. Every minute, we shed 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells. It’s natural to have a bump or red patch from time to time. If you’re still worried, simply seek a doctor to put your worries to rest. 

Ways to improve your skin’s overall condition

Thankfully, there are many safe and simple ways to improve your overall skin condition, as well as your health in general.

Certain skin conditions may require extensive or medical treatments, however the majority of us can improve our skin’s health and appearance through proper care and healthier choices.

First, prioritize skin care. Invest in quality products with effective, dermatologist-approved ingredients. Rather than getting swept up in beauty trends or buzz-words, look for products that are backed by science and medical research, like Posie Cosmetics.

If you suffer from dull or dry skin, drink, drink, drink more water! Fix the issue at the source and ensure your body is getting the necessary water requirements. Mayo Clinic claims that adult women need 11.5 cups of water per day (men need over 15!). Bottom’s up!

To revive lackluster skin, try a Vitamin C serum to increase your overall skin brightness and pair it with a hydrating moisturizer that compliments your unique skin type.

Cheers to your skin supporting a healthier future!

If there’s any takeaway, I want you to remember this: Your skin is your BFF. It’s time to read the writing on the wall - or should I say on your skin. If it’s flaring up and acting strange, take action! Invest in the care of your skin and pay close attention to the signs it’s visibly showing you. It could just save your life one day!