How Starving Yourself Will Affect Your Skin and Nails

Eating disorders are complex psychological illnesses that will wreak havoc with your body. No part of your body will escape the stress that a lack of fuel causes. Even your skin and nails will show signs that you are suffering from malnutrition.

The condition of a person's skin and nails can give you a big clue about a person's dietary habits if you know how to read the signs.

What's the Problem?

We all know that the body needs fuel in the form of food, but we rarely think about how far-reaching the effects of starvation can be. Food deprivation is like tossing a heavy stone into a pond—it's going to cause a lot of ripples, which will extend to the far edges of the water.

When you deprive your body of the fuel it needs, it suffers from stress. This kind of stress sends your brain into a panic. The brain recognizes that a lack of fuel is the problem, and it does what you would do if gas or electricity became scarce, or if the power was down and your cell phone was dying. The brain tries to conserve energy.

To conserve, the brain sends out signals throughout the body to stop sending what little energy you have to non-essential parts and functions. The brain is more worried about keeping your heart pumping, your lungs filling with air, and with keeping itself operational.

When it comes to essential body parts, things like the nails and skin just don't make the cut.

Dehydration

People with eating disorders are at high risk for dehydration. Dehydration can have dangerous effects on the body, but the first signs of dehydration can usually be observed in the skin and nails.

Without enough fluids, the nails will get dry and begin to get brittle. The skin will also lose fluids, causing it to look dry, cracked, and dull. The complexion may become more uneven, and the skin may become itchy and flaky.

In an attempt to retain water and with your nutrients out of balance, the skin may develop edema (swelling).

Malnutrition

When your body is starving, nutrients get depleted quickly and are re-distributed to those more critical body parts. A lack of nutrients takes a toll on the nails. Nails require keratin to grow healthy and strong. Keratin is a special protein that makes your nails. When your body is lacking proteins, keratin is depleted. Your nails will become even more brittle and pitted. You'll find they break more easily.

A lack of nutrients might also decrease circulation and blood-oxygen levels. Occasionally this will result in a bluish tinge in the extremities, such as the fingers, toes, and earlobes.

Seek Help

If you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder and beginning to show visible signs of starvation, seek help. The damage to nails and skin are reversible, but damage to nails and skin may indicate more pressing health issues are a concern.

Sources: Total Beauty

Photo: Pixabay

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