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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Facial Clues about Your Health

Your face reports the status of your health

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Stand in front of the mirror and look at your face. What do you see? Did you know that your face can tell a lot about your state of health? It’s not an exact science, but using clues (signs) on your face can aid you and your doctor to learn more about your health and well-being. Let’s have a look at some of them.

Facial clueWhat it may mean
Yellow, soft spots on eyelids
  • These spots represent cholesterol deposits also called xanthelasma.
  • Researchers found that people with these spots tend to have more problems with their arteries and heart.
Puffy eyelids
  • Did you just cry? Some people who cry a lot tend to have puffy eyelids.
  • Having puffy eyelids without a history of crying isn’t normal.
  • It could suggest that you’re allergic to something. A dark purple hue may accompany your puffy eyelids.
  • Too much eye puffiness called periorbital swelling could suggest a fluid overload in your body. Something isn’t working right in your kidneys or heart. Seek medical advice.
Blood shot eyes
  • Bloodshot or red eyes could suggest you have conjunctivitis.
  • Conjunctivitis can be secondary to a viral or bacterial infection, an allergic reaction, or foreign body (something in your eye).
  • Get checked out with an ophthalmologist.
The left and right sides of your face don’t match (facial asymmetry).
  • One side of your face might not be able to elicit a smile or may feel funny or numb.
  • Call for help because you might be suffering from an ongoing stroke.
  • Sometimes you might not be able to talk, so don’t wait for that.
A change in colour.
  • A change in complexion can contribute essential info about your health status. Being pale could suggest you’re anaemic (you may need blood).
  • Yellowish discolouration of your skin (also called jaundice) could point to a liver or autoimmune problem.
  • How about your lips? If they’re blue (cyanotic), your body may not be getting enough blood (heart problem) or oxygen (lung problem).
A receding chin
  • We’re not trying to insult you. A receding chin coupled with a thick neck, house-shaking snoring, and the world’s worst headache in the morning steer in the direction of sleep apnoea.
  • Don’t laugh, sleep apnoea is serious. It’s a condition where your breathing halts for 10 seconds while you sleep.
A butterfly-shaped rash spread from one cheek to the other cheek crossing the bridge of the nose.
  • This isn’t something to be proud or happy about, even if you’re thinking of becoming a MASKED super hero.
  • It could suggest that you may have an autoimmune disorder called systemic lupus erythematosus.
Unwanted excess hair
  • Ladies who develop hair on the upper lip, jaw, and chin may have a hormone imbalance called polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS for short.
  • They typically have more testosterone in their system, hence the male pattern of hair growth.
Too much acne
  • This can be caused by an unhealthy diet loaded with processed foods and sugars.
  • Ladies with too much acne on their faces, chest and upper back could also be facing a more disturbing condition like polycystic ovary syndrome.
Dry lips and flaky skin
  • You may need more fluids in your system (dehydration).
  • May suggest that you have a thyroid problem (hypothyroidism). This clue coupled with weight gain, inability to tolerate the cold, and getting tired easily raises the likelihood of the diagnosis even more.
  • Blurring of vision, urinating more often, getting thirsty all the time, and dry lips could point to a diagnosis of diabetes.         
Dark circles under your eyes
  • This could be from lack of sleep.
  • In Traditional Chinese Medicine it also indicates poor kidney chi which may indicate kidney or adrenal problems.
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Nobody knows exactly how early facial diagnosis really began. Many traditional healing systems have utilised it for centuries. But even today, doctors still make it a vital part of a complete physical examination (examining your face).


You see? Some clues may be written all over your face and you might not even know it. They’re right there. All you have to do is regularly examine your face in front of a mirror. Facial traits can mask hidden health conditions. Remember, an overall change in appearance is what you really should watch out for. Now, if you notice any of these clues visit your doctor.


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