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June 28, 2023 9 min read

If you've noticed that your skin has become dry and flaky recently, it could be a sign of hypothyroidism. This condition occurs when your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormones, leading to various symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, and sensitivity to cold temperatures. However, many people may not realize that dry skin is a common symptom.

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a medical condition that occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. The thyroid gland is located in the neck and is responsible for regulating metabolism, growth, and development throughout the body. Hypothyroidism can be caused by a variety of factors, including an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

Autoimmune thyroid diseases are conditions in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing it to become inflamed and damaged over time. This damage can lead to decreased production of thyroid hormones, which can result in symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, and depression.

Why does hypothyroidism cause dry skin?

Why does hypothyroidism cause dry skin?

So, why does hypothyroidism make our skin feel a bit parched? The answer lies in the function of the thyroid gland. This tiny butterfly-shaped gland in your neck produces hormones that help regulate metabolism and other bodily functions, including keeping your skin moisturized. When your thyroid is underactive or has hypothyroidism, there isn't enough thyroid hormone production to maintain proper skin hydration. This can lead to dryness, itchiness, scaling, or roughness.

The thyroid gland is essential for maintaining healthy skin moisture levels and plays a key role in skin maintenance and regeneration. This is because thyroid hormone receptors are present in the epidermis and dermis (the top two layers of skin), as well as in hair. When the thyroid functions properly, it stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid and glycosaminoglycans, two critical components responsible for keeping our skin plump and supple. However, when there is a deficiency of these hormones due to hypothyroidism, the water content in the epidermis layer reduces, resulting in skin dryness. Moreover, this dryness is often attributed to decreased sweating, although the precise link between the thyroid and the sweat gland remains unclear. Consequently, the importance of proper thyroid function cannot be overstated for preserving healthy, hydrated skin.

If left untreated for too long without a medical intervention like thyroid hormone replacement medication or supplements, these symptoms will worsen over time.

What are other hypothyroid skin-related issues?

People with an underactive thyroid and imbalanced thyroid hormone levels may encounter a variety of skin-related problems. Hypothyroidism can manifest as hair loss, thinning eyebrows, and brittle nails. Additionally, other hypothyroid skin symptoms include:

  • Dry, brittle, coarse hair: The lack of thyroid hormones can result in changes in hair texture, making it more prone to breakage.

  • Hair loss (body and scalp): Hypothyroidism can influence hair growth cycles, leading to thinner hair and even hair loss on the scalp and body.

  • Coarsened, thin, scaly skin: With less thyroid hormone being produced, the skin's natural regeneration process may be disrupted, leading to a more coarse, thinner, and scaly appearance.

  • Pale or yellow-colored skin: Thyroid dysfunction can cause reduced blood flow to the skin, leading to a pale or even slightly yellow hue.

  • Swelling (edema): Hypothyroidism can lead to excess fluid retention, causing swelling or edema, especially in the face and limbs.

  • Coarse, dull, thin, brittle nails: Imbalanced thyroid hormone levels can also impact nail health, resulting in weakened, brittle nails that can break or split easily.

Understanding these possible skin manifestations of hypothyroidism can help individuals be more aware of potential thyroid dysfunction and seek medical attention when needed.

Does treating hypothyroidism will relieve dry skin?

Whether your hypothyroidism is caused by autoimmune thyroid disease or other causes, treating the condition with thyroid hormone replacement therapy can improve skin hydration and alleviate the discomfort of dryness.

There are two primary types of thyroid hormone replacement therapy: synthetic hormone replacement, such as levothyroxine, and natural desiccated thyroid (NDT). Each type of therapy is designed to address hypothyroidism by supplementing the hormones your body may not be producing in sufficient amounts. Here's a more detailed explanation of each:

1. Levothyroxine

Levothyroxine is the most commonly prescribed thyroid hormone replacement medication. It is a synthetic version of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland, thyroxine (T4). The human body naturally converts T4 into triiodothyronine (T3), the active form of the hormone. Levothyroxine works by increasing the levels of thyroxine in the body, ultimately helping to regulate metabolism and energy levels. It is available in various strengths and is typically taken once daily, making it easy for patients to maintain their treatment regimen. However, levothyroxine may not work for everyone since it only contains one thyroid hormone: T4.

2. Natural desiccated thyroid (NDT)

If you've been taking levothyroxine for a while and you have normal thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH levels), yet you still experience hypothyroidism symptoms like dry skin, it might be worth considering natural desiccated thyroid (NDT). NDT is derived from the thyroid glands of pigs and has been used for over a century to treat hypothyroidism. NDT contains both T3 and T4 hormones, which can be beneficial for individuals who have difficulty converting synthetic T4 into active T3 hormones in their bodies. NDTs, such as Armour Thyroid, Nature-Throid, VitaliThy, and WP Thyroid, maintain a consistent ratio of T3 and T4 hormones, allowing for a more balanced hormone replacement therapy in some patients.

Aside from medications with prescriptions, you can also buy desiccated thyroid online in the form of supplements, such as VitaliThy. Aside from containing both T4 and T3 thyroid hormones, VitaliThy is also free of lactose, gluten, fish, shellfish, and eggs, as well as artificial coloring and flavoring. Thus, making it a great option for anyone with certain food sensitivities.

What are other ways to relieve dry skin due to hypothyroidism?

Does treating hypothyroidism will relieve dry skin?

While medication alone may help relieve some cases of dry skin caused by hypothyroidism, taking care of your skin externally is important. Here are some ways that may help relieve dry skin besides thyroid medication or supplements:

1. Find the right moisturizers

To keep your skin hydrated, use moisturizers specifically designed for dry skin caused by hypothyroidism. These moisturizers contain urea, lactic acid, and ceramides that help repair the skin barrier and retain moisture. Look for products labeled "for dry or sensitive skin" or "intensive care," and avoid those with fragrances or alcohol, as they can further irritate already dry skin.

2. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is crucial in maintaining a healthy glow and preventing dehydration-related issues. When dehydrated, your skin becomes less elastic and more prone to wrinkles and fine lines. It can also become flaky, itchy, and irritated.

To combat these symptoms, drink plenty of water throughout the day. Aim for at least eight glasses of water daily or more if you are particularly active or live in a hot climate. You can also incorporate hydrating foods into your diet, such as fruits and vegetables with high water content, like cucumbers, watermelon, and strawberries. By staying hydrated from the inside out, you can help keep your skin looking healthy and radiant.

3. Find mild or gentle soaps.

Choosing the right soap for your sensitive skin can make all the difference in how comfortable and confident you feel. When it comes to hypothyroidism, dry skin is one of the signs that thyroid hormone action may be slowing down. Thus, to avoid further damage to your delicate skin, find mild or gentle soaps specifically formulated for sensitive skin. These types of soaps typically contain fewer harsh chemicals that can strip away natural oils from your skin. Look for products with moisturizing ingredients like shea butter or coconut oil to help hydrate and nourish your skin while cleansing. By choosing a suitable soap, you can take a positive step towards improving the health and appearance of your dry skin.

4. Don't bath or shower too much

You better cut back on those long, luxurious baths or showers to avoid aggravating your delicate skin. If you have hypothyroidism and experience dry skin as a symptom, over-bathing can make the problem worse. Excessive washing can strip your skin of its natural oils and cause it to become even more dehydrated.

Instead of taking daily long soaks in the tub or lengthy hot showers, aim for shorter and cooler bathing sessions. This will help keep your skin moisturized and prevent further damage caused by thyroid disease. Now let's move on to the next topic - how using a humidifier can also alleviate dryness associated with hypothyroidism.

5. Use a humidifier

You may not realize it, but a humidifier can be your best friend when combating the discomfort caused by hypothyroidism. This condition slows thyroid hormone production, leading to dry skin and other symptoms. Using a humidifier in your home or office can add moisture to the air and alleviate some of these uncomfortable side effects.

When shopping for a humidifier, look for one with adjustable settings to control the humidity in the room. For safety reasons, consider getting one with an automatic shut-off feature. Using a humidifier regularly can help relieve dry skin and prevent further irritation.

6. Find a nourishing body oil

One way to nourish your body and keep it moisturized is by incorporating a luxurious body oil into your daily routine. By using natural oils like coconut or almond, you can provide essential hydration and nourishment to your skin.

Not only does using a body oil help with dryness, but it also promotes overall skin health. These oils are packed with vitamins and antioxidants that protect against free radicals and premature aging. Massage the oil onto damp skin after showering for ultimate absorption and long-lasting moisture.

7. See a dermatologist

If you're struggling to keep your skin healthy and moisturized, consider booking an appointment with a dermatologist for personalized evaluation and treatment recommendations.

During your visit, the dermatologist will likely examine your skin closely and ask about any other symptoms or medical conditions you may have. They may also recommend blood tests or other diagnostic procedures to determine if there is an underlying hormonal imbalance or other medical issue causing your dry skin. Based on their findings, they can recommend appropriate treatments, such as topical creams or lotions, lifestyle changes like increasing water intake or avoiding certain irritants, and medication or referral to another specialist. With expert guidance from a dermatologist, you can take steps towards achieving healthy and radiant-looking skin while addressing any potential underlying health concerns.

By working with a dermatologist to address any issues related to dry skin caused by hypothyroidism or other factors affecting thyroid hormone production, you can take proactive steps toward improving the overall health of your skin.

8. Switch your thyroid medication to NDT

Some of the complaints about your skin condition above might be resolved by trying to replace your intake of thyroid medication from synthetic into NDT (Natural Desiccated Thyroid). This is because NDT, as explained above, contains both T4 and T3 thyroid hormones. T4 is inactive and needs to be converted to T3. Unfortunately, some people can't do this conversion properly. Thus, taking levothyroxine won't do them any good as their body can't use it anyway.

One great option if you want to try this natural option is VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online. VitaliThy is an NDT supplement rather than a medication due to differences between US and Vietnam regulations, where VitaliThy is produced. However, you can rest assured that it adheres to the high-quality standards established by the Good Manufacturing Practices implemented by the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture, an organization known for its rigorous guidelines.

9. Healthy Diet

A healthy diet can help improve thyroid function and relieve dry skin by providing nutrients and antioxidants. Here are some dietary tips that may help:

  1. Eat foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries and dark chocolate. Antioxidants can help fight free radicals that can damage your skin and cause dryness.

  2. Incorporate foods high in vitamin E, such as almonds and sunflower seeds. Vitamin E is known for its moisturizing properties and can help improve the appearance of dry skin.

  3. Reduce or eliminate processed foods, as they can be high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, contributing to inflammation and dry skin. Instead, focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods that give your body the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain healthy skin.

  4. Cover your skin in cold seasons

Cover your skin in cold seasons to prevent skin from getting dry and cracked. The cold weather can strip your skin of natural oils, leaving it dry and itchy. Choose clothing that covers your arms, legs, and hands, and wear a hat and scarf to protect your face and neck. Use a thick moisturizer after showering or bathing to help lock in moisture. Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet rich in healthy fats to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out.

Conclusion: There are numerous ways to relieve dry skin due to hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland controls metabolism and produces thyroid hormones. When the production of this hormone is low, it affects various aspects of your body, including your skin tissues.

The good news is that there are several effective solutions to combat dry skin caused by hypothyroidism. Ensuring appropriate thyroid hormone replacement therapy, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and taking care of your skin using gentle moisturizers are all important steps toward achieving relief.

When exploring thyroid hormone replacement therapy options, don't forget to consider natural desiccated thyroid (NDT). Many patients prefer NDT due to its natural origin and providing a combination of both T3 and T4 hormones, potentially resulting in a more balanced and effective treatment for hypothyroidism and the associated dry skin condition. One great option to try is VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online.

Wojciech Majda
Wojciech Majda

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