Got lackluster locks? Or a scaly patch on an elbow? Your body may be trying to tell you something.
“There are huge links between how we appear on the outside and what’s happening inside,” said Dr. Ramsey Markus, an associate professor of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Even the most common beauty woes, like brittle nails and a dull complexion, can hint at issues beneath the surface. Give yourself a once-over for these six superficial signs you should see your doctor.
If you have: Thick, dark facial or body hair
It might mean: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
“We’re not talking about a few wispy strands,” said Dr. Zoe Stallings, a family physician at Duke Medicine in Durham, N.C. “This is a thick coat of ‘I have sideburns that tweezers can’t handle’ hair.”
It tends to sprout in places where men grow hair (like the cheeks, chin, chest and back) and may be due to elevated levels of male sex hormones—a common symptom of the endocrine disorder PCOS, which can increase your risk of infertility and diabetes. Ask your doc for a blood test.
“The pro is that it’s effective,” Stallings said. “The con is the price.”
Each session costs around $300, though some insurance plans will cover the treatment.