Have you ever felt the impression that your body feels hot on the inside but your cold on the outside? You are not alone. People around the world experience the same thing. What causes the body to feel hot but skin is cold to touch?
Feeling hot but having cold skin to the touch is common and generally harmless. It could be as simple as being in a cold setting or having a fever.
However, if the feeling persists, we recommend seeking medical advice. It could be due to a more serious medical condition such as poor blood circulation, anemia, or thyroid problems.
Despite being a common sensation, having to feel hot but the skin is cold can be quite alarming and discomforting. There is no reason for much concern. The sensation is generally harmless and goes away after a while.
In some cases, the sensation may be persistent. If the issue does last, it may be a sign of an internal health issue. Nevertheless, there are still no reasons to worry. Most of these problems are not life-threatening when recognized and managed early.
The initial step to ease the sensation is to identify the root cause. Read on to learn the reason behind feeling hot but skin is cold to touch.
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Feel Hot But Skin is Cold to Touch
Feeling hot but having cold skin may be disturbing and startling. However, it is common to experience such a sensation. As mentioned, there are various reasons why our skin may feel cold despite feeling hot.
Despite what most people imagine, the problem is not skin related. Normal body functions may alter our body temperature. It can also be a hint of an underlying ailment.
Susan Besser, M.D says “It’s a common assumption that we should be 98.6 degrees F as the “normal” temperature, but this temperature is actually just an average”.
Dr. Besser also said, “When you feel hot but your skin feels cold to the touch, this is generally harmless. However, there could be an underlying medical issue such as a thyroid issue or vitamin deficiency.”
Here are the reasons as to why our body feels warm inside despite having cool skin.
The Hypothalamus and Thermoregulation
The main reason that we sometimes feel hot but the skin is cold to touch is because it is cold. Most people underestimate the consequences of extreme temperature on our body.
Thermoregulation happens when we are encountering extreme temperatures. The core of the process takes place in our hypothalamus. The organ detects our internal body temperature.
It sends signals to produce heat when it’s cold. It also signals the body to cool down when the temperature is too hot.
However, a malfunctioning hypothalamus can cause fluctuating temperatures. The brain is not able to adjust to the environment. It follows in the body having difficulty adapting to the conditions.
This makes our body feel hot but the skin is cold to touch. It is more notable in our extremities.
Poor Blood Circulation and Reduced Blood Flow
Poor blood passage can also be a reason as to why the skin feels cold to touch. Weak blood circulation is when there are blockages to the arteries and veins.
Poor blood circulation is usually a sign of underlying conditions like diabetes or old age. People with bad health practices also suffer from poor blood circulation.
Reduced blood flow lessens the rate in which particular parts of the body receive warm blood. The hands and the feet are most affected by this fluctuation of body temperature. This affects the hands and feet, making it feel hot even though the skin is cold to touch.
Vitamin B-12 and Iron Deficiency Anemia
Vitamin B-12 and Iron deficiency cause anemia. The body requires Iron and vitamin B-12 to regenerate red blood cells. The red blood cells supply oxygen to the body.
The body can experience chronic coldness when there is a lack of vitamin b-12 and iron to produce red blood cells. Chronic coldness can result in having lower temperatures in some parts of the body, especially on our extremities.
Effects of Metabolism
Metabolism can also affect our internal body temperature. It is the process of converting calories and fat into body fuel. The process can generate heat within our body. People with fast metabolism have a higher body temperature. They produce and sustain more heat.
The contrary can be said for those who have a slower metabolism. Their body temperatures are often colder than the average. Aside from not being able to generate enough heat, they also lose body heat faster. Feeling hot while having cold skin can be a sign of having a fast metabolism rate.
Some findings show that thyroid glands have a huge bearing on our body temperature. The thyroid glands release hormones that can influence body warmth. However, a thyroid disorder can make us very sensitive to temperature. This can be the reason why we feel hot but are cold to the touch.
The two types of thyroid disorders are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism is when you have an overactive thyroid that secretes too many hormones. Those who suffer from this condition are sensitive to low temperature.
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid produces an insufficient amount of hormones. People with this condition are susceptible to high temperature.
Thyroid dysfunction can also greatly influence metabolism. The hormones that the thyroid produce helps the metabolism process. Excessive thyroid hormones can hasten our metabolism rate, leading to higher body temperature.
Any unexpected shift to the thyroid levels can also alter the number of proteins transported into the bloodstream. Lower protein saturation can induce lower temperature. Having low thyroid levels contributes to poor microcirculation.
Microcirculation is the blood flow in the tiniest sections in the body. These microscopic blood canals can normally be found in our ears, hands, and feet. When blood flow is weak in these regions, they can become cold.
See the below video for more information body temperature and why you may feel hot even though you are cold to the touch. Or vice verse, you feel cold, but you are hot to the touch:
What You Can Do When You Feel Hot but the Skin Is Cold to Touch?
Now we know what causes the sensation of being warm on the inside but cold in the skin. Depending on the root cause, you can take steps in alleviating the feeling and preventing it from returning. Here are a few things that you can do:
Cold Weather and Abnormal Hypothalamus
Dress right for the weather. As previously mentioned, we have a natural mechanism that shields us from extreme temperatures. We can assist our bodies to regulate our body temperature by wearing the appropriate clothes.
As a bonus, we also get to protect our skin from the effects of harsh weather. Certain products can also help us protect our body from excessive heat and cold.
Have a Healthy Hypothalamus. Research shows that consuming food with high amounts of saturated fat can harm the hypothalamus. Fish, walnuts, and leafy vegetables are healthier alternatives to fat intake. They contain high polyunsaturated fats like omega-3 acids.
Poor Blood Circulation
Eat foods that can promote better blood flow. Having a healthy blood circulation helps improve our body temperature. It is also a vital indication of good health. Antioxidant-rich food can clean our blood vessels, promoting increased blood flow.
Fruits, vegetables, and tea are some of the best sources of antioxidants. Vitamin C can also strengthen our blood vessels. Citrus fruits, kiwi, papaya, and vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower are rich in Vitamin C.
Consult a Specialist. Reduced blood flow can make you feel hot even if your skin is cold. We recommend consulting a specialist if this is the case. Bad circulation can be a warning of a hidden condition.
Poor circulation is often a symptom of heart problems, diabetes, anemia, or old age. It is better to get treated early to avoid further damages to the blood vessels.
Vitamin B-12 and Iron Deficiency
Get enough Vitamin B-12 and Iron. Fish, seafood, and beef are good sources of vitamin B-12 and iron. If you feel adventurous, animal organ meats, like livers and hearts, are also rich in vitamin B-12 and iron. You can also take vitamin B-12 and iron supplements.
Improve your Metabolism. There are many ways to enhance your metabolism. Feeling hot but having cold skin can be a sign of low metabolism.
Increase your metabolism by eating protein. Drinking the right amount of water, getting exercise, and getting the right amount of sleep also contributes to a better metabolism rate.
Take a Blood Test and Get Treated. To determine the best diet and treatment, it is crucial to determine your thyroid’s condition. A doctor would advise you to take a blood test to determine the level of thyroid hormones in your body.
Treating the thyroid can contribute to a healthy and stable body temperature. It will help lessen the frequency of feeling hot internally but cold outside.
Conclusion – Feel Hot But Skin is Cold to Touch
We now know why we feel hot but skin is cold to touch. The experience can be quite disturbing and alarming. Most of the time, it is just our body adapting to the environment we are in. Bad circulation, thyroid disorders, and iron deficiency can also be the reason.
It is also important to take care of our skin to avoid further damage. If you suspect that it is a sign of an underlying condition, see a specialist right away.