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):
  • Malaria
  • Low Progesterone
  • Kidney Disease
  • Iodine Need
  • Infectious Mononucleosis
  • Hepatitis
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Jaundice

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:
major unexplained weight loss
elevated lymphocyte count
coffee consumption
low energy/stamina
very pale fingernails
low iodine consumption
short-term memory failure
frequent nighttime urination
African ethnicity
difficulty conceiving children
pale facial coloring
very fast iodine patch disappearance
... 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
Kidney Disease 94% Confirm
Hepatitis 14% Unlikely
Pancreatic Cancer 25% Unlikely
Low Progesterone 5% Ruled out
Infectious Mononucleosis 4% Ruled out
Iodine Need 2% Ruled out
Malaria 0% Ruled out
Jaundice 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.


Jaundice also suggests the following possibilities:

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: