Skin Signals: What Your Face Reveals About Your Health

October 31, 2014
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

YFH helps where dermatologists failed—and reveals hidden health issues that the typical physical would never find.

When Shira M. signed up for a HealthPrint+ blood test she wasn’t really thinking about her future health. After all, she was a healthy young woman—she didn’t have to worry about cholesterol or cancer yet, right?

What did worry her was the cystic acne that had plagued her for years. “It was all over my face, red and bumpy” said Shira. “I’d had it since puberty. I’d tried everything, and it never went away.”

Shira is smart and outgoing—but the acne took its toll on her confidence.

“I was always nervous that people were just focusing on my skin and how awful it was. And I hated having my picture taken,” says Shira. “I always thought everyone was staring at me.”

Her choice of career made the problem even more critical: she was enrolled in a program to become a licensed medical aesthetician. She dreamed of one day working in a dermatologist’s office, but knew that her own skin problems might get in the way.

“I did everything the doctors told me—and nothing worked.”

Ironically, Shira’s experiences with dermatologists hadn’t been very helpful. “They had me try Retin-A, lactic acid, different face washes, some prescription that was supposed to balance my hormones. I used something with salicylic acid for awhile, but that just made it worse—my face peeled all over.”

Shira did everything the doctors told her, but nothing worked. “It was so frustrating to still have this problem in my 20s,” she said.

Then one summer, Shira (whose my niece) came to visit me. I took one look at her skin and knew something had to be done. I also suspected there was more going on with her health than she realized.

My own skin has always been a sort of barometer of my health, and while they say the eyes are the windows of the soul, I believe the skin is an open book of your body.

Luckily, I knew just what to do.

First, I told Shira to stop eating any foods that contained gluten. It was difficult, but Shira persevered—and she saw some results quickly. “Within two weeks, the redness in my face calmed down,” she says—but it wasn’t completely gone.

You’re never too young to invest in your health and your future

We were encouraged, but wanted to go further. I told Shira all about convenient, comprehensive blood testing available from Your Future Health, and suggested that she get a HealthPrint+ to find out more about what might be causing her skin problems. Because of the inflammation I saw in her skin, I also recommended the VAP genetic cholesterol pattern test and the Omega-3 Profile +.

Encouraged by the progress she saw as a result of one dietary change, Shira decided now was the time to change her life: “I realized I had to do this for myself.”

Shira called Your Future Health and set the process in motion. In a few days she received the testing package in the mail, and with one quick visit to a lab in a nearby hospital complex, she was done. She didn’t know it yet, but within a few weeks her results would provide her with information that would drastically change her life—and maybe even save it.

Breakouts are your body’s cry for help

The results of Shira’s HealthPrint+ revealed plenty about her skin problems. But more importantly, it revealed that her stubborn breakouts were a not-so-subtle cry for help. The issues that were causing her cystic acne were also shortchanging her health in unseen ways—and over time, were likely to cause big problems.

Reading her HealthPrint+ report, Shira gained a new perspective. It wasn’t just about appearance anymore—now it was about her health and her future.

The inflammation she had seen on her face for years wasn’t just red and ugly—it was a sign of systemic inflammation that could contribute to future heart disease. Her skin’s inability to clear toxins from its pores wasn’t just a cosmetic issue—it indicated widespread dysfunction that was starving cells of oxygen and clogging them up with wastes.

Plus, the additional tests revealed something more: Shira was at a significant risk for serious health problems, like heart disease, diabetes and even cancer, if she didn’t make changes fast.

Uncovering hidden threats that normal tests would never find

In particular, the results of Shira’s Omega-3 Profile+ test showed serious issues. This test, which assesses levels of five specific essential fatty acids (EFAs), is unique to YFH and one of the only tests of its kind in the world. For optimal health, the EFAs all need to be kept in proper balance.

Shira’s results showed that hers were way out of whack: too much arachidonic acid (AA) translated into systemic inflammation; low eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) meant less than ideal cardiac and brain function; and undetectable levels of gamma linolenic acid (GLA) equaled a weakened immune system.

Her combined omega-3 score for cardiac risk was way too low—one third of the ideal score. And her AA/EPA ratio, a number used to assess inflammation, was terrible: more than ten times higher than it should be.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Shira’s VAP test for genetic cholesterol pattern came back with the worst possible result: a B pattern, indicating highly sticky cholesterol molecules.

The VAP result, combined with the poor results on the Omega-3 Profile +, meant that Shira was 70 percent more likely to die of a fatal heart attack in her lifetime—an assessment backed by several clinical studies published in respected medical journals.

All this news took some getting used to. After all, Shira was only in her 20s and had always thought of herself as healthy.

And if she had had a physical with a typical doctor who ordered the typical blood tests, she would have been told that she was healthy: the standard heart health markers on her HealthPrint+ were within ‘normal’ range, her total cholesterol was good, and even her C-reactive protein, the commonly used marker for systemic inflammation, was acceptable.

But the HealthPrint+ told a different story—a more complete, more comprehensive story that made all the difference.

10 year issue erased in just 30 days

It didn’t take much to set Shira on the path to better health—and a clearer face. Your Future Health recommended some dietary changes, including avoiding red meats, pasta, breads and cereals and adding more lean protein and nuts.

Her customized report also recommended supplementing with zinc and magnesium which she already had in her nutritional arsenal. She simply had to increase her daily intake to meet the recommended amounts—50 mg zinc and 800 mg magnesium.

Essential fatty acids were a huge focus of her personalized recommendations.  I immediately put her on the purest fish oil—free of contaminants like mercury, PCBs and dioxin—that I use with my clients which is the Super-EPA. With 600 mg of omega-3s per softgel providing 360 mg of EPA and 240 mg of DHA, I felt confident that she would restore her omega-3 reserves within a month.

Shira implemented all the changes right away, and within two weeks she saw improvement in her skin. Within just one month, a problem she had struggled with for a decade was gone—with no prescription drugs and harsh topical treatments. Just a few dietary changes and a few supplements were enough to make the difference.

In addition, to support her immune system and address the gamma linolenic acid deficiency uncovered in her test, I sent her GLA-90 and recommended she take two with each meal. Interestingly, I later learned that GLA is the most deficient essential fatty acid of all the essential fats that YFH tests.

The difference Shira was feeling wasn’t just in her skin. She felt a shift in other ways too. “I feel so much better, I have so much more energy,” she said.

Those positive effects are radiating through her life: “My whole attitude has changed. I just feel that I want to do more. I made the Dean’s List at school, I never did that before. Now I’m more comfortable talking in front of a group. When people take a picture, I’m right up there front and center. I’m so excited.”

Plus, she’s grateful that she learned at a young age about her predisposition toward heart disease. “In the long run, you have to think about your entire life—would you rather know now, or know then?” says Shira.

Now she knows that the more information you have about your health, the sooner you can correct imbalances before they become full-blown health concerns.

For those of you who are interested in the specialty test that changed—and maybe even saved—Shira’s life, I’ve arranged for a 5% discount from Your Future Health with promo code ALG5.

For more information call 877-468-6934 or visit

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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Lana F.

    Very insightful, blog, Ann Louise. I will check this out for my own teenage daughter who has skin problems and a history of heart disease on her father’s side. Thank you for all you do!

  2. Paulette W.

    Thank you Ann Louise for this info. I just ordered the Super EPA and will get my daughter to go gluten and sugar-free – if possible (LOL). Love to see such practical doable recommendations for our children 🙂

  3. M Bottaro

    A Dermatologist diagnosed my facial redness and small, even bumpiness as rosacea. I have chronic itchy ears as well. My face has small bumps on my chin, around my mouth and on my cheeks and some on my nose. My face heats up and reddens after I eat. I turn red when I drink hot liquids. My skin is often red. I have used metronidazole gel topically and also took an antibiotic in pill form that, after a while, caused me to itch all over. I stopped taking that antibiotic. I feel I must be allergic to something because the red bumps on my face don’t go way in spite of cleansing twice daily. This has gone on for at least five years or so. I am now 57. Whatever is going on with my facial skin must also be causing problems in my brain and internal organs. I have a problem with word retrieval when talking, and even some garbling. I don’t know if I need to detox or balance or simply lose weight as I am on the higher end of “overweight” on my BMI scale. I worry something seriously wrong is occurring internally, especially as I got unusual signs in a blood test. But no one knows what it means. I want to find out what’s wrong. My blood pressure is 114 over 72. I am healthy other than my face, but I’m concerned.

    • Cheryl Lukins

      To M. Bottaro: Why don’t you call the YFH Lab and ask whether the VAP or Omega 3 test would be appropriate for you? You sound like an older version of Ann Louise’s neice Shira and the main message of the blog is that outer skin conditions that don’t clear up shouldn’t be taken lightly. Typical labs don’t test for what the YFH folks assess and YFH apparently uses optimum healthy ranges to determine whether something is really “normal” or not….

      You can also get one of ALG’s books like The Fast Track Detox Diet which cleared up my skin. Going deeper and testing with a lab like YFH may get to the underlying medical issue directly.

  4. Rosita

    Hello there,
    What about us who live in the UK and interested in the blood test. How do we do this?

    • TEAM ALG

      Dear Rosita:

      We just checked the website and found this email address for potential new customers: [email protected].

      If you get no response, let us know and we will try to get another one for you.

      Best of health,
      TEAM ALG

  5. Meg

    Fascinating blog. Thanks so very much, Ann Louise.

  6. Liz

    You have pointed out how important it is to look beneath the surface of a presenting symptom to the root cause. Thank you for sharing this extremely helpful information!

  7. Kathleen

    Ann Louise, This has to be the best info I have ever read in troubleshooting manifestations of ill-health on our skin. I wish to set myself up for this blood test. (Thank you so much for the discount ALG5). You are so good to help us! One would be searching forever for solutions–with your research and knowledge, now we know! I cannot thank you enough and am so filled with gratitude for all the info you give us on your web site, blogs, and facebook pages!!

  8. Sandy

    Great article! Does Shira continue to take the same supplements in the same dosage ongoing, or did she cut the dosage down on any of them after she was doing so well?

  9. Ann Louise

    Hello Sandy:

    Shira optimized her Omega 3s with an orthomolecular dose for the first month, after which she cut everything by 1/2 the amount but still followed the gluten-free diet. Now she is in nursing school and I am encouraging her to go back to the original protocol for another three weeks and then cut back. Thanks for asking!


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