Did you know that your skin can actually provide some insight into your overall health? While it’s known to be the largest organ of the body that acts as a protective barrier on the outside, it also plays an integral role in your health and wellbeing on the inside. It’s important to be aware of the state of your skin and understand how it responds to your environment and any possible underlying health issues. By keeping notice, you can discover what your body–or your skin itself–needs and how to properly take care of yourself. 

Here are five things your skin might be trying to tell you about your health: 

You’ve Had Too Much Sun Exposure

If you’re experiencing dark spots and wrinkles, chances are, you’ve been soaking up too much sun. If your skin receives too much harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, it can begin to feel dry and leathery. Ultimately, this exposure can lead to signs of premature aging and sometimes, even skin cancer. 

Luckily, there are a few ways you can prevent the sun from harming your beautiful skin. We’ve all heard it time and time again, but you should always wear sunscreen! Regardless of the season or what the weather is like, remember to apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. 

If you start to notice signs of aging skin, consider incorporating retinol skincare in your daily skin regimen. Retinol helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production and enhancing cellular turnover. Not only that, but it also works to diminish dark spots and improve the texture and tone of your skin. So by using retinol-containing products, you’ll be able to better protect your skin from experiencing sun-damage and preserve your youthful glow in the long-run.

You’re Stressed Out

Feeling stressed and overwhelmed doesn’t only affect your mental health, it also affects your physical health. For example, if you have too much on your plate, or something specific is causing your anxiety, your skin will most likely respond with blemishes and breakouts. 

When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, which can increase skin inflammation and sebum production in the skin. This can lead to skin flare-ups with random breakouts that are hard to clear up. That’s why it’s crucial that you listen to your body and work to manage your stress. 

To des-stress, practice more self-care by partaking in hobbies that you enjoy. Try meditation or yoga to lower your stress levels. Even something as small as walking outside for a half hour can work to calm your nerves and ultimately clear up your skin. 

You Need to Get Your Hormones in Check

Contrary to popular belief, hormonal acne is not reserved for teenagers. Even adults can develop hormonal acne from time-to-time. If you are experiencing acne along your jawline specifically, this could be your skin telling you that your body is dealing with a hormonal imbalance. The closer you get to menstruation or menopause, the more likely you are to experience hormonal acne. 

Fortunately, there are ways to control your hormonal acne. Washing your face in the morning and again at night is something everyone should do on a regular basis. But, if you are experiencing hormonal acne, this is a crucial step to clearing it up.

Avoid wearing heavy makeup a week before and during the week of your period. A fresh face will help to keep your pores open and prevent them from flaring up during this time.

You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep is a necessary component of staying healthy for a wide variety of reasons. If you’re not getting your eight hours of sleep–or more if you need it–your body will be the first to let you know. 

Besides feeling groggy and lethargic, you might develop some dark circles under your eyes. You can cover those “designer bags,” as some humorously call them, with a concealer that is a shade or two lighter than your foundation color. However, it’s best to fix the root of the issue. 

To make sure you are getting enough quality sleep, remember to put your electronics away at least an hour before bed. We’ve all at one point or another been distracted by electronics when we are supposed to be asleep. A good way to combat this is to keep your electronics–TVs, computers, tablets, etc.–out of your bedroom. That way your bedroom becomes a sleeping sanctuary. 

You Need to Evaluate Your Hair Care

If you are finding you tend to break out along your hairline and forehead, this may be stemming from your hair care regimen. Hairline acne and forehead acne are sometimes referred to as “pomade acne,” which are thick blemishes and often caused by using mineral-based hair products. 

This is something a lot of women deal with since they are more likely than men to use hair care products on a regular basis. To improve your hairline acne, try using non-comedogenic products. These products are made and specifically formulated to not block or clog your pores. 

If you notice these blemishes pop-up more at nighttime, consider changing your pillowcase more often as it collects oils from your hair and face overnight. Additionally, be sure to stay on top of your regular hair washing schedule to keep the oils that collect in your hair away from your face as much as possible.