Anaemia is a condition that occurs due to a decrease in haemoglobin levels in the blood. In some cases, it may also be caused due to the lowered ability of the blood to carry oxygen into the lungs.
In patients with iron deficiency anaemia, the body fails to produce enough haemoglobin for RBCs, as bone marrow requires adequate iron levels to produce haemoglobin.
The skin is one of the main organs affected by this condition.
Skin-related symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia?
Iron is an important nutrient that helps keep the hair, nails, and skin healthy. A deficiency of iron in the bloodstream may impact the health of these body parts.
Here are some skin-related symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia that patients may experience.
When iron levels deplete, the body is unable to produce haemoglobin—a reddish protein compound that impacts the blood's ability to carry oxygen.
This may cause the skin to lose its normal tone and start appearing pale.
Angular cheilitis refers to the painful cracking of the skin near the corners of the mouth.
This is a common symptom of iron deficiency anaemia and is usually followed by other symptoms like slight swelling, redness, and in rare cases, bleeding around the affected area.
Pruritus refers to itching of the skin and is followed by a reddening of the affected area.
While this may seem like a mild symptom, diagnosing the underlying causes behind it and getting the necessary treatment may help avoid further complications like rashes.
Can pale skin due to anaemia be treated?
Pale skin could be attributed to a range of reasons, including lifestyle habits like limited exposure to sunlight, exposure to cold temperatures, and naturally pale skin.
Unnatural paleness in the skin, however, may often be a result of anaemia. In such cases, using over-the-counter medications may prove ineffective—iron deficiency skin problems require specific medical attention from a specialist.
To treat iron deficiency anaemia, your doctor may prescribe you iron supplements.
Once the underlying condition is treated, iron deficiency skin problems like pale skin and other symptoms may recede.
Speak to Dr Suhirdan Vivekanandarajah
Dr Suhirdan is a Sydney-based gastroenterologist and a hepatologist trained to provide
healthcare services to patients to improve their digestive health and guide them through their treatment.
If you are experiencing unusually pale skin—especially along with other symptoms of anaemia—schedule an appointment with him to get a diagnosis and explore your treatment options.
Consult Dr Suhirdan at these locations
Meet Dr Suhirdan Vivekanandarajah
Interventional Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist
Bsc (Med) | M.B.B.S. (Hons) | FRACP
When should I see a doctor?
It’s advisable to consult your doctor if you notice your skin getting paler and you experience other symptoms of anaemia like fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath or brittle nails.
What are the other symptoms of iron deficiency?
In addition to pallor, itchiness and rashes, iron deficiency can also affect the body in other ways.
For instance, hair loss due to poor nutrient supply and flattened nails with raised edges—also called spoon nails—are two of the most common symptoms.
What are the treatment options for pale skin?
If the cause of pale skin is anaemia, it’s necessary to treat the underlying cause—iron deficiency.
Treating iron deficiency with iron supplements, and in more advanced stages, with blood transfusions, may help relieve the symptoms and regain the health of your skin.
Consult Dr Suhirdan Vivekanandarajah for treatment for iron deficiency skin problems
Dr Suhirdan's services are only available to patients in Australia.