Yellow Skin Tone

What Causes Yellow Skin Color?

Yellow skin color can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'troubling' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose yellow skin color, we could:
  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "yellow skin color" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Infectious Mononucleosis
  • Kidney Disease
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Hemolytic Anemia
  • Cirrhosis Of The Liver
  • Low Progesterone
  • Pancreatitis
  • Hepatitis

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
infrequent daytime urination
frequent unexplained nausea
high cigarette smoke sensitivity
blood transfusions
recent loss/regaining of appetite
having hot flashes
suspected liver cirrhosis
dark areas under eyes
sickle cell trait
moderate unexplained fevers
long-term hypertension
red palms/fingertips
... and more than 80 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of yellow skin color:
Cause Probability Status
Low Progesterone 92% Confirm
Sickle Cell Disease 20% Unlikely
Cirrhosis Of The Liver 14% Unlikely
Hepatitis 4% Ruled out
Infectious Mononucleosis 4% Ruled out
Kidney Disease 3% Ruled out
Hemolytic Anemia 1% Ruled out
Pancreatitis 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Skin Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about yellow skin tone:
Does your skin seem to have a more yellowish (jaundiced) tone than previously? It may help to look at untanned areas.
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ Probably / somewhat
→ Definitely
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate absence of yellow skin tone, possibly jaundiced skin or jaundiced skin, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Iodine Requirement
Hypothyroidism can manifest as dry or scaly or yellowish skin.
Cirrhosis of the Liver
Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes that occurs when the diseased liver does not process enough bilirubin.
Malaria can cause jaundice through the loss of red blood cells.
Jaundice may be due to blockage of the bile duct from the inflamed pancreas.
Vitamin B12 Requirement
Pale skin, often with a lemon tint, can be a sign of B12 deficiency.
... and also rule out issues such as:

Related Questions

Skin Symptoms