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Pale Skin

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By Medicover Hospitals / 29 Mar 2021
Home | symptoms | pale-skin
  • Pale skin makes the skin appear lighter than usual. Another term for this is paleness, and it can occur in a person with any skin tone. While people associate paleness with the face, it can also cause the nail bed to become very light or white. The color change can also affect the lips, gums, and tongue.
  • Article Context:

    1. What is Pale Skin?
    2. Causes
    3. Diagnosis
    4. Treatment
    5. When to visit a Doctor?
    6. Home Remedies
    7. FAQ's

    What is Pale Skin?

  • Pale skin refers to abnormal lightening of the skin or mucous membranes. Pale skin can be generalized (occurring throughout the body) or localized to one area. It is often accompanied by the pale lining of the eyes, the inside of the mouth, and on the surface of the tongue. Reduced blood flow and oxygen or a decrease in the number of red blood cells can cause paleness. It can occur all over the skin or appear more localized. Localized paleness usually affects one limb. You should see your doctor if you appear to be a general or pale limb.
  • Causes:

    • Excessive bleeding: Excessive bleeding due to periods or injuries, lower iron levels in the body causing pale skin.
    • Anemia: It is a condition in which your body does not make enough red blood cells. It is one of the most common causes of paleness. Anemia can be acute, sudden onset, or chronic, and develop slowly.
    • Infections: One of the most severe is sepsis, an infection that may be caused by bacteria in the blood. If the bacteria damage red blood cells, it can make a person look pale.
    • Shortness of Breath and Respiratory Problems: The body does not get enough oxygen, which makes the skin look pale.
    • Genetic Disorders: Rare genetic disorders can affect red blood cells and lead to chronic paleness. However, this is a lifelong condition and does not occur for a short period.
    • Temperature: Extremely cold temperatures or freezing can cause pale skin.
    • Low Blood Pressure: A drop in blood pressure can also cause the skin to turn pale, this is accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, and fatigue.
    • Decrease in sun exposure: The body produces essential vitamins from exposure to sunlight, and when exposure decreases, it causes a deficiency that can lead to pale skin.

    Diagnosis:

  • Low blood pressure and fast, weak pulse are signs you are seriously ill. Abdominal pain and tenderness may mean that internal bleeding is causing your paleness. If you experience any of these symptoms, your doctor may need to order additional tests immediately to identify the underlying cause of your condition. Your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history, perform a physical exam, and monitor your heart rate and blood pressure. Paleness can often be diagnosed with the naked eye, but it's difficult to detect on dark complexions. If you have a darker complexion, your doctor can look for color loss in your inner eyelids and mucous membranes.
  • To determine the causes of paleness, the following measures are used:
    • Complete blood count (CBC): This blood test helps evaluate if you have anemia or infection.
    • Reticulocyte count: This blood test helps your doctor see how well your bone marrow is working.
    • Stool culture: This test checks the stool for blood, which may show internal intestinal bleeding.
    • Serum pregnancy test: This test rules out pregnancy. Anemia, which can cause paleness, is common during pregnancy.
    • Thyroid function tests: This series of tests check your thyroid hormone levels. An under-functioning thyroid can cause anemia.
    • Kidney function tests: Because kidney failure can cause anemia, your doctor may order a BUN or creatinine blood test to check how well your kidneys are working.
    • Vitamin deficiency screenings: Your doctor may order a serum iron, vitamin B-12, or folate level test to see if a nutritional deficiency is causing the anemia.
    • Abdominal X-ray: This is a non-invasive test that uses X-rays to examine your abdominal organs.
    • Abdominal ultrasound: This non-invasive test uses sound waves to detect problems in your body.
    • Abdominal CT Scan: This test uses x-rays to form high-definition images of the organs and blood vessels in your abdomen.
    • Arteriography of the limb: This x-ray test involves injecting a dye into an artery in a limb to help your doctor to see if there is a blockage.

    Treatment:

  • Treatment depends on the cause of your paleness. Options can include:
    • Eat a balanced diet.
    • Take iron, vitamin B-12, or folate supplements
    • Take medication or receive treatment to control ongoing medical problems
    • Surgery, usually only in severe cases of acute bleeding or to treat an arterial blockage

    When to visit a Doctor?

  • When paleness is the only symptom a person has, an urgent trip to the doctor is usually not necessary. If the paleness does not go away or worsens, see a doctor within a few days. Contact a physician when paleness occurs with:
    • High fever
    • Any fever in a newborn or baby
    • Symptoms of an infection, such as swollen lymph nodes or a swollen lesion
    • Stomach pain
    • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Seek emergency medical attention when paleness occurs:
    • During or after a bleeding episode
    • With shortness of breath, such as shortness of breath
    • In an infant or newborn with a respiratory infection

    Home Remedies:

    Sandalwood:

  • Sandalwood has soothing and healing properties for the skin, it is used as a mask to combat skin problems such as acne and dull skin. However, this natural ingredient can also be used for pale skin.
  • Milk:

  • Milk has mild exfoliating properties due to lactic acid, honey has nourishing and skin-repairing properties, and the combination of the two can have a positive effect on pale skin.
  • Aloe vera:

  • Aloe vera can regulate the activity of tyrosinase in the skin that handles the production of melanin. It also has skin repairing properties due to antioxidants that give it brighter and smoother skin.
  • Exfoliation:

  • A gentle exfoliator, tomato removes dead skin cells and brightens skin tone. The presence of vitamin C in tomatoes also solves other problems and helps you preserve the natural color of your skin.
  • Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Paleness can be a manifestation of emotions such as fear, or it can be a sign of serious medical problems such as severe anemia, bloodstream infection, or frostbite.
  • Paleness can also be the result of cold temperatures, frostbite, dehydration, and the use of certain medications. When general paleness appears gradually over time, it can be caused by anemia, a condition in which there are very few red blood cells in the blood.
  • Paleness is a colorless quality, particularly when it comes to a person's complexion.
  • Lack of sleep was also associated with paler skin, more wrinkles or fine lines, and more drooping corners of the mouth.
  • Our skin is a kind of barometer of what happens inside our body. When we are under incredible stress, our body switches to survival mode, redirecting blood flow to vital organs and leaving our skin looking doughy and unhealthy.
  • Citations:

  • Pale Skin - https://journals.lww.com/plasreconsurg/Abstract/2010/04000/Extended_Forehead_Skin_Expansion_and_Single_Stage.10.aspx
  • Pale Skin - https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00228-010-0890-6
  • Pale Skin - https://www.jstor.org/stable/2793760?seq=1