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The beauty of iron



It might not be one of the most talked about signs, but did you know low iron levels can impact your physical appearance?




When you don’t have enough iron in your diet, your body cannot make enough haemoglobin, which means that your body won’t receive enough oxygen.




Lack of oxygen to different organs and tissues causes a variety of side effects, and this can impact your skin, hair and nails.



Low iron levels can make skin, including the inside of the eyelids, look paler. Haemoglobin gives blood its classic deep red colour, so if there is less haemoglobin this will make blood less red. This can make the skin on your face, gums, inner eyelids and nails paler1. If you have darker skin, you may only notice this in your inner eyelids.


Low levels of iron decrease haemoglobin levels in blood, which reduces the amount of oxygen reaching skin and mucosa. This can lead to dry and damaged skin as well as a dry mouth, sores and cracks at the edge of the mouth and mouth ulcers2.


If there is not enough oxygen reaching the cells that stimulate hair growth due to lower haemoglobin levels, this can cause hair loss3. This is more apparent in females of reproductive age.


Low iron levels can cause nails to become brittle, breaking and chipping easily. And, in severe cases, nails can become spoon shaped with the edges raised and the middle of the nail dipping4.








1Auerbach M, Adamson JW. How we diagnose and treat iron deficiency anemia. Am J Hematol. 2016 Jan;91(1):31-8. doi: 10.1002/ajh.24201. Epub 2015 Nov 17. PMID: 26408108.

2 Wu YC, Wang YP, Chang JY, Cheng SJ, Chen HM, Sun A. Oral manifestations and blood profile in patients with iron deficiency anemia. J Formos Med Assoc. 2014 Feb;113(2):83-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2013.11.010. Epub 2013 Dec 30. PMID: 24388269.

3 Goluch-Koniuszy ZS. Nutrition of women with hair loss problem during the period of menopause. Prz Menopauzalny. 2016 Mar;15(1):56-61. doi: 10.5114/pm.2016.58776. Epub 2016 Mar 29. PMID: 27095961;

4 Rathod DG, Sonthalia S. Spoon Nails. [Updated 2022 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: