Don’t freak out — changes in colour on our body are pretty normal. But when these changes occur in certain areas and products of your body, it can tell you important information about the state of your health.
Here are some of the areas of your body it pays to be aware of — and yes, your poo is included. (Sorry not sorry.)
If you constantly have your nails painted, it’s good to give them a rest once in a while so you can pay attention to how your nails are naturally looking, particularly in terms of colour. Here are some changes that can indicate health issues.
A common but difficult-to-fix discolouration of the nails is fungal infection, which can cause your nails to turn a slight green colour (this is called onchychomycosis). See your doctor for treatment options if this is the case.
Your tongue isn't just there to taste delicious food; it can also serve as a little messenger for what's happening way further down in your body. The following colours on your tongue can indicate different health issues.
Dr Nespolon explains that if you notice a dark area in the middle or on other parts of the tongue, you might have hairy tongue. This is commonly caused by antibiotics, smoking, or alcohol. The black colour is caused by a fungus that grows in small areas.
There are a few other reasons why your tongue can have black spots on it, including from oral piercings, exposure to chemicals, ailments and oral cancer. Be sure to see your doctor to narrow down what the cause is.
White spots can indicate that your tongue is very dry. They can also be a sign of oral cancer or leukoplakia, or that you have Lichen planus. Dr Nespolon also explains that while many people think white patches on your tongue can indicate thrush, this generally only occurs in infants, older patients, and some people with systemic diseases such as diabetes or asthmatics who take steroids.
But do visit your local GP if you notice the patches, just to determine what the cause actually is.
If your tongue is looking a tinge redder than it normally does (and you haven't been eating red lollies...) it could mean that you have a folate or B12 deficiency, Dr Nespolon says. However if combined with a fever, it can point out something quite different.
"Fever and tongue colour that looks like a strawberry could mean that you have scarlet fever and you should see a doctor for antibiotics," he explains.
Again, book an appointment in with your doctor if you notice your tongue is suddenly redder than usual.
Let's talk about snot, baby...
It mightn't be the most glamorous of subjects, but it's an important one — because the colour of your mucus can reveal many secrets about your health. Here we go.
Clear snot reflects a bill of good health. Nothing to see here, move along.
Red mucus commonly occurs during winter due to cracks in the mucus membranes of the nose, which cause your blood vessels to bleed a little. It can also happen if you have a very dry nose and tear your nostrils when blowing it.
Discoloured snot, which is commonly yellow or green, can mean a variety of things. Dr Nespolon says it could indicate a common cold (a viral infection), and it can also mean you might have sinusitis, which is an infection or inflammation of the sinuses. Be sure to see your GP if you notice changes in the colour. (Post continues after gallery.)
Your bowel movements
We know it might a be a little uncomfortable to talk about, let alone look at, but paying attention to the colour of your poo is something we should all be doing.
Let's keep this as brief as possible. Brown poo is normal; however, light brown to yellowish poo may indicate you are producing too little in the way of bile salts.
A bright green poo can indicate a quick transition through the bowel and usually happens if you have diarrhoea.
Greyish or pale yellow
This can indicate problems with organs like the liver, so see your doctor to confirm why it is happening.
Red poo can reflect a number of things. You might have eaten beetroot or taken iron tablets recently; or it could be caused from more serious factors, like haemorrhoids, anal fissures, bowel polyps, peptic ulcers and also bowel tumours. You should always talk to your doctor if you see any blood after you poo. (Post continues after gallery.)
If you've noticed your hair losing its shine and looking a little duller than normal, it could be an indication you're not getting enough protein in your diet.
A study conducted by the University of California, and published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, found those who took a protein supplement had significant improvement in overall hair shine, health, volume, scalp coverage, and thickness of hair body after 90 days. Interesting.
Have you noticed your hair changes when your health does?