Thyroid issues are often accompanied by skin issues.
This article is going to be useful for those who already know they have Thyroid issues, who are trying to understand how this is impacting their skin. And, it’s also going to be useful for those that don’t know they have a Thyroid issue, but are suffering from several skin conditions, which are often related to Thyroid problems.
For the latter grouping, this article will serve as the entry portal into a lot more research on Thyroid issues, and perhaps a visit to a naturopathic doctor.
Over 50% of us are presenting with Autoimmune Thyroid issues! It’s time to take our Thyroids seriously… and it’s great that our skin is the canary in the coal mine that can indicate a deeper problem!
***This article is the eighth in the Hormone Health Series.
***Return to Hormone Health Part Seven
***View links to all Hormone Health articles
Thyroid issues can be reversed… but, once you have started taking conventional medication, usually Thyroxine, it is much more difficult to take a natural approach to this condition, no matter how mild or severe.
Thyroid Skin Problems
As mentioned, Thyroid problems are often accompanied by skin issues. But, they are usually accompanied by autoimmune issues, also. Hashimoto’s and Graves’ Disease are two of the most common Thyroid issues, and both are autoimmune.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a condition caused by inflammation of the Thyroid gland. It is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body inappropriately attacks the Thyroid gland – as if it was foreign tissue. … It can be associated with other autoimmune conditions such as type 1 diabetes or celiac disease.
Graves’ disease, also known as toxic diffuse goiter, is an autoimmune disease that affects the Thyroid. It frequently results in and is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. It also often results in an enlarged Thyroid.
Autoimmune Issues All Start In The Gut
According to Eastern medicinal traditions, such as Ayurveda from South India, inflammation always starts in the gut. And, all autoimmune diseases have inflammation as a precursor.
Hormone Issues & Gut Health
Leaky gut causes autoimmune issues, which exacerbate autoimmune Thyroid conditions like Hashimoto’s.
It’s important to cut out grains and legumes when we have leaky gut, or else these things will prompt an immune reaction that will lead to an autoimmune attack on the Thyroid.
As I have written at length about these issues in Gut Health, and elsewhere on the Wild As The Wind website, I really want to avoid repeating myself here.
Suffice to say, gut health is fundamentally important to our overall health, and if our guts are dysbiotic, then our overall health will suffer, and illness will emerge via weak points in the body.
Gut health is of utmost importance to our general health. If things start going wrong in the gut, then they start going wrong everywhere else too… So, if you don’t know how your digestive system works, and how to fix it when it’s broken, then read Gut Health as well as Hormone Health Part Four about Depression & Anxiety to see how it’s not just physical problems that poor digestion impacts.
Just use the links provided to locate this information… or use the red search box to the right. Type in the word that best describes your query and hit return. The articles that will best address your query will then be delivered in the search results.
But, for now… I want to get on and talk about specific skin issues in relation to our Thyroid health… like dry skin…
***I will, however, expand upon gut issues as they specifically pertain to the Thyroid later in this article.
Dry skin is caused by low Thyroid function, especially when accompanied by constipation, low energy and weight gain. Thinning eyebrows and hair loss are often accompanying issues also, along with feeling cold.
Other causes of dry skin include…
Magnesium deficiency is also a key cause of dry skin.
Insufficient Essential Fatty Acids is also a major cause.
*** Keratosis Pilaris, the bumps on the back of our biceps, is usually a sign of insufficient EFA’s, and sometimes insufficient Zinc in our diets. Both of these nutrients are necessary for a healthy functioning of our Thyroids, so they are a warning sign that the Thyroid is under stress and compromised, or even dysfunctional.
*** Skin irritation and sensitivity can often caused by over-washing, especially if the products being used contain preservatives. These preservatives indiscriminately kill the microorganisms present on the skin, which ultimately opens the door to all kinds of infections as well as dry sensitive skin. Learn more :: Skincare Ingredients To Avoid
Acne & Oily Skin
Acne prone and oily skin are both symptoms of Hyperthyroidism. Other symptoms include; excessive sweating and heat intolerance accompanied by a lot of nervous energy, and even the development of a tremor, as well as increased metabolism and weight loss. Other symptoms of Hyperthyroidism include; fatigue, and often weakness as well as agitation, anxiety.
If your Acne outbreaks and oily skin are accompanied by a lot of these Hyperthyroidism symptoms, it’s time to learn more about gut health and to start amending your diet and lifestyle. It may be wise to also book yourself in with a Naturopath as longterm Hyperthyroidism, left unchecked, can cause serious heart conditions as well as other problems.
Acne can be a consequence of heavy metal toxicity, like Mercury from fillings or big fish, like Tuna, and the larger Mackerels etc… (UK Mackerel is okay!) Mercury is implicated in autoimmunity, so it’s a real baddy!
I recommend Hormone Health Part Five as a companion piece to this article, especially due to the information provided about Acne.
When our skin looks dehydrated it’s because we have insufficient healthy fats, or EFA’s (essential fatty acids), like Omega 3 from fish oil within our bodies.
It has nothing to do with water!
So, if you are looking dehydrated, start eating three servings of Mackerel a week, or supplement with a really good fish oil. But, be careful… low grade fish oil is likely to have heavy metals and all sorts of nasties in it. And, because heavy metals, like Mercury, are implicated in Thyroid issues, amongst many other negative health effects, you need to spend the money and get yourself a good quality fish oil.
***So, no shopping at health food shop chains… Go to your local independent health food shop!
Thyroid & Fungal Infections
Candida can interfere with Thyroid function and Tinea, the umbrella term for a group of fungal infections, including ringworm, athlete’s foot and jock itch, are also implicated in Thyroid dysfunction.
Eczema & Psoriasis & Autoimmune Thyroid Conditions
When we have one autoimmune condition it predisposes us to other autoimmune conditions. So Psoriasis and Eczema are also common accompanying conditions.
72% 0f us are Iodine deficient
Also, insufficient Iodine, which is vital for converting T4, (Thyroxine), to T3, (Triiodothyronine), the inactive form to the active form of Thyroid Hormone, (the T stands for Thyroid), also causes skin conditions including Acne, Eczema & Psoriasis
Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body enabled to absorb iodine.
Together, these hormones regulate our heart rate, temperature, and metabolism.
*Most of the T3 in our body binds to protein.
**There are Thyroid cell receptor sites on every cell in the body.
Acne & Thyroid Issues
As well as low levels of Iodine causing Acne, other Thyroid symptoms contribute to this condition.
The Thyroid is also reliant on good amounts of fat soluble Vitamin A, and dysfunction occurs when there’s not enough. Vitamin A deficiency is also implicated in Acne… this is why Accutane, (which I would NEVER advocate using), can be effective in treating Acne. It has synthetic Vitamin A in it, which helps if a Vitamin A insufficiency is at play.
However, the body does not like synthetic substances… they are definitely part of the problem and not the cure!
Instead of using chemical warfare, Wild As The Wind advocates the natural approach: Read Acne Causes & Cures for more insights.
Hypothyroidism causes low motility, which causes toxins to get reabsorbed and also causes an increase in dysbiosis… (Motility isn’t the same as mobility. Instead, it’s the ability of an organism to move and function independently, using the energy from food, (metabolic energy). Mobility denotes the ability of an object to be moved. Anything that can be moved, and is in the process of being moved, is deemed ‘mobile’.)
The toxins, which our body is failing to eliminate, will build up and eventually will be stored in our fat tissue. The skin will ultimately endeavour to expel them from the body. Toxic waste, that is being eliminated through the skin, is implicated in rashes… particularly Acne.
Mercury toxicity is also implicated in Acne as well as Thyroid dysfunction.
Watch this 15 minute video to understand how the Thyroid works… or read on for further insights…
Anxiety & Depression & The Thyroid
Thyroid autoimmunity is considered to be one of the five most common reversible causes of anxiety and depression.
Hypothyroidism or Thyroiditis is often misdiagnosed as Depression, leading to anti-depressants being prescribed, and for the Thyroid issue to remain untreated.
Thyroid Dysfunction Can Be Responsible For:
- Weight Gain
- Weight Loss
- Weight Loss Resistance
- Mental fogginess
- Excessive hair loss
- Dry flaky skin
- Ankle swelling
- Boils + spots
- Eczema + Psoriasis
- Peripheral nerve damage
- Dry, gritty eyes
- Menstrual cessation or irregularity
- Orthostasis (postural hypotension :: blood pressure falls when suddenly standing up from a lying or sitting position.)
Factors That Inhibit Thyroid Function
- Radiation / EMF
- Fluoride which is an antagonist to Iodine
- Autoimmune disease
Toxins, including environmental chemicals such as pesticides, and heavy metals, including Mercury from fillings and Cadmium from cigarettes etc, all inhibit the Thyroid.
Mercury induces and exacerbates autoimmune diseases.
***Mercury toxicity is also implicated in Acne.
Autoimmune diseases, which all cause inflammation, such as Arthritis and Celiac Disease also inhibit the Thyroid.
Organochlorines, in pesticides, are shown to increase reverse T3… more on that later…
Xenoestrogens increase Thyroid Binding Globulin, TBG, which makes it harder for our free hormones to bind to receptor sites…
An increase in TBG can result in an increase in T4 and T3, but, without there being an increase in hormone activity. Increased TBG levels can be caused by hypothyroidism, liver disease, pregnancy as well as Xenoestrogens.
Where there is high TBG, increased numbers of Thyroid hormones will be bound, which will decrease the amount of free Thyroid hormones in the blood.
The Liver needs nutrients to function. The Liver is also necessary for 60% of Thyroid hormone activation, as well as being the organ used for processing all of the spent hormones out of the body.
Excess fat, emotional stress, environmental toxins, including metals, as well as natural and synthetic hormones, or Xenoestrogens, all put stress on the liver, which, as well as processing all of these things, is also, as mentioned a major conversion and activation site for Thyroid hormone.
Helpful Articles For The Liver
Neurotransmitters & Hormone Health
Neurotransmitters and Hormones are the two devices used by the body to communicate with itself. Not surprisingly, then, they possess a codependent relationship…
Our amino acids become our Neurotransmitters, which in turn determine how we feel.
Dopamine is a really important Neurotransmitter for Thyroid Releasing Hormone, (TRH), produced by the Hypothalamus, which then triggers the production of TSH, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, from the Pituitary. TSH, in turn, helps with T4 from the Thyroid, and then the conversion to T3 in the body.
Mercury gets deposited around the body, but is especially fond of the Hypothalamus, thereby messing up Thyroid signalling right from the get-go.
A Healthy Thyroid Requires:
- Vitamin E, B2, B3, B6 and Vitamins C & Vitamin D + Vitamin K2
***Vitamin D is an Hormone. Vitamin D needs Vitamin K2 to be absorbed by the body.
When we don’t receive the dietary nutrients, and we are subjected to continued environmental toxins and other stressors, our Thyroids will start to dysfunction…
Gut To Thyroid Connect
Low Hydrochloric Acid produces improperly digested food which is then passed into the Small Intestine where it is meant to stimulate Pancreatic Enzymes. It’s also going to make it hard for the Gall Bladder to contract and produce bile. Both of these things are important for protein and fat digestion.
Thyroid Hormone has a protein backbone made of Tyrosine.
All of the minerals, Magnesium, Selenium, Copper and Zinc all have to be ionised. We need stomach acid to ionise these minerals, making them absorbable by the blood so they can be carried around the body to where they are needed.
Healthy gut bacteria, or Probiotics, produce B Vitamins, which are so crucial for Thyroid and mental health. Probiotics also produce other nutrients required by the body, whereas dysbiotic or bad bacteria just create toxins.
Bad bacteria creates toxins that triggers an inflammatory immune response, which, in turn, really uses up our bodily resources.
Good bacteria does the opposite, allowing us to absorb nutrients better, which then causes an upward spiral.
That upward spiral includes the Mitachondria producing more energy as we start producing more good bacteria, which then helps clear more infection… Conversely, it’s the bad bacteria and other infections that produce all the toxins that over-burdens the liver, that then shuts down our Mitochondrial energy production… So, of course, reversing this process has the opposite effect.
How the gut affects the Thyroid is simple…
The gut can trigger the autoimmune cascade.
Candida and other viruses and bad bacteria cause inflammation which, when an additional stressor is piled on top, like a relationship break-up, or redundancy, that’s what causes Hashimoto’s…
Other Factors Supporting Gut & Thyroid Health
The Liver needs nutrients to function and is necessary for Thyroid activation, as well as being the organ used for processing all of the spent hormones out of the body.
Adrenals have a major effect on the Thyroid with Cortisol.
When people have energy issues it is often seen as a Thyroid issue, but some see it as an Adrenal issue.
But if the Thyroid is functioning too low, we get cold and the body becomes dysfunctional, producing less energy, and becoming increasingly toxic.
When we become hyperthyroidic we make too much energy, we get hot and we start to burn out… Adrenals are used to moderate these processes… dealing with stress and allowing processes to return to normal.
The Mitochondria are needed to produce the B Vitamins and nutrients so that the processes can continue to run.
Factors That Cause Reverse T3
Reverse T3 is as it sounds. T3 and T4 are produced in the Thyroid and under normal circumstances T4 converts into T3.
Reverse T3, also known as RT3, is extremely problematic as it doesn’t simply mean a T3 insufficiency. RT3 and T3 compete for biding sites.
So, adding RT3 to all of the Xenoestrogens slushing around within our bodies from plastics, nail polish and till receipts etc etc, which refuse to let go of our hormone receptor sites, the outcome of RT3 can be extremely debilitating.
What Cause RT3?
Negative environmental and dietary circumstances can cause a reversal of T3 which will inevitably cause ill health.
- Low calorie diet
- Inflammation (cytokines etc)
- Liver or Kidney dysfunction
- Certain medications
Factors That Increase Conversion From T4 to T3
The conversion of inactive T4 to the active form, T3, requires specific nutrients that most of us are deficient in.
Selenium is needed for the deiodinase enzyme that converts T4 to T3.
Deiodinase (or iodide peroxidase or “Monodeiodinase”) is a peroxidase enzyme that is involved in the activation or deactivation of Thyroid hormones.
Thyroid Hormone is essentially four molecules of Iodine and one molecule of Tyrosine.
Magnesium and Zinc are also critical for Thyroid conversion as well as other trace elements like Copper and Co Q10.
Selenium is also important for the production of Glutathione, the primary antioxidant that supports Liver detoxification. 60% of our Thyroid hormones are activated in the Liver.
***Kelp is a better form of Iodine than straight Iodine. In most instances complete food sources are usually the best sources of the nutrients we need.
***I also eat three or four Brazil Nuts a day for the big Selenium content. Some say Brazil Nuts are radioactive and use this as an excuse to take a supplement… but Brazil Nuts also have saturated fat that’s good for us, and they are a complete food which is bio-available as long as our digestion is functioning properly.
Factors That Improve Cellular Sensitivity To Thyroid Hormones
The Thyroid needs good sources of fat soluble Vitamin A for it’s Thyroid receptor sites.
Thyroid receptor sites are on every cell in the body.
Fat soluble Vitamin A is from good saturated fats and fish oils, which are good for the cell membrane.
As well as Vitamin A, we also need regular exercise and Zinc.
Phenols & Essential Oils To Clear Receptor Sites
In Hormone Health Part 2 I’ve explained how the phenols in quite a few essential oils force Xenoestrogens to detach from hormone receptor sites to help restore normal hormone function. I recommend Clove Essential Oil and Star Anise Essential Oil at a minimum for this.
It is also possible to use a Wild As The Wind essential oil blend, that can be used by both men and women, called Hormone Detox, which is designed to clear hormone receptor sites that have been blocked by synthetic Oestrogens /Xenoestrogens.
Thyroid dysfunction manifests in both directions, causing hyperthyroidism as well as hypothyroidism… both of which usually lead to a lifetime of conventional pill-popping…
Lifestyle based reversal of hypothyroidism, which is an auto-immune condition, is entirely possible. It took Kelly Brogan about 18 months to reverse her diagnosis.
But, how do we do that?
Thyroid & Adaptogenic Herbs
Ashwaganda is possibly the best all round adaptogenic herb for hormone health. Taken as a tonic adaptogenic herbs reduce anxiety and tension, and help to restore hormone balance. There are many adaptogenic herbs, but Ashwaganda is considered to be the best for Thyroid health.
However, we are all made differently, and so it’s best to keep an open mind. I also like Tulsi, or Holy Basil, as well as FoTi, or He Shou Wu.
Adaptogens have an amazing impact on hormone health, I strongly advise reading the article in the Wild As The Wind blog entitled Adaptogenic Herbs.
Thyroid & B Vitamins
The reason why B Vitamins are so important is because B5 is needed by the Adrenals, and B6 is needed to synthesise neurotransmitters, so it’s really important for brain health, but it’s also imperative for the hormone synthesising cascade that supports the Thyroid.
B7 is Biotin, which is really good for collagen production, ensuring optimal connective tissue health within the skin, and also supports healthy nails and hair.
B12 is needed for the Mitochondria, which are responsible for energy production with every cell in our bodies. B12 is needed for methylation, which is exceptionally important for the Thyroid, healthy red blood cells, and DNA activation… So, it’s vital for our systemic health, which supports all bodily functions as well as our Thyroid health.
Diet & Lifestyle Changes For Thyroid Health
Pretty much all processed food contains sugar, bad salt and unhealthy fats.
Processed sugar is a leading cause of leaky gut, and is considered the worst neurotoxin there is… so, a leading cause of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia etc…
The salt used is most likely table salt, which is the type of salt that gave salt a bad name. Good salt, like sea salt and Himalayan Rock Salt are essential for good health… but bad salt is very bad for us.
Unhealthy fats are hydrogenated fats, and fats that are used for deep frying. Any GMO fat is bad news also.
Cooking from scratch is the only way forward if you want to be healthy!
To reverse all the symptoms of inflammation, blood sugar and low energy etc, we need our own particular combination of B Vitamins and Vitamin C, adaptogens and anti-inflammatory herbs and essential oils, like Frankincense Essential Oil, or the blend of oils which also has an infusion of St. John’s Wort called Pain & Inflammation Vanishing Oil, along with diet and lifestyle changes…
Cleaning Out The Chemicals
Plus, swapping chemical based cleaning products, which have been likened to smoking 20 fags a day, for green cleaning products will make a big difference.
Going for regular walks and bike rides etc, and reducing stress, both at work and at home, as well as dealing with financial stress are also crucial for Thyroid health.
Over-exercising is as bad as getting no exercise! The middle road is always the way to the cure!
Cleaning Out The EMF
Reducing exposure to radiation and EMF stress, (electromagnetic fields), is also vital.
Cleaning Out The Cosmetic Chemicals
And, really importantly, get rid of all of your toxic cosmetics and start investing in affordable natural skincare.
De-Bugging The Bad Guys
Lastly, heavy metals, intestinal parasites, virus and bacterial infections, especially of the chronic variety, like Helicobacter pylori, which causes ulcers, are all going to cause Adrenal and Thyroid issues…
Western medicine is notoriously bad at diagnosing a lot of these things, so I advocate doing metal detoxes, and parasite detoxes regardless. These things can only help!
Sleep – we need to sleep properly and at the right times. Our bodies heal when we are asleep… and, if we don’t get enough of the right sleep, our bodies start breaking down!
Everything Is Interrelated
Stress and sugar play havoc with your Adrenals, and so it’s important to balance Adrenal health… which will also help Thyroid health. *** Adaptogenic herbs are great for this also.
Fixing our guts will also have a dramatic impact on our Thyroid health. We need nutrients to run our Thyroids, so we need our digestion to be functioning properly. A dysfunctional gut will lead to a dysfunctional everything!
Reducing inflammation, which is the precursor to every autoimmune condition, will seriously improve Thyroid health. *** Frankincense Essential Oil is great for this.
Sugar Super-Charges Inflammation!
When we have a sugar spike, from eating a heavily processed meal, like Pizza, especially with a sugary fizzy drink etc, the Pancreas goes into overdrive to produce Insulin to get rid of it. This over-reaction means that our blood sugar then dives, and oftentimes it dives too low.
This then triggers another response… the stress response, and Cortisol, our stress hormone, is produced in order to take our sugar levels back up.
So, most people eating the Western, heavily processed diet, and who are sugar addicts like me, are on a continual roller coaster of massive sugar spikes, followed by massive plunges in sugar, quickly followed by the stress response, or ‘fight or flight response’..
If you have a lot of sugar or processed food in the diet it won’t just be your Thyroid and Gut that are in trouble…. it will be your Adrenals, which make Adrenalin and Cortisol, as well.
My Adrenals were shot!
The surges in Insulin and the surges in Adrenalin and Cortisol can affect our Thyroid and Thyroid activation at a cellular level, as well as in T4 to T3 conversion.
Sugar & Autoimmunity
Blood sug ar swings also stress out the immune system, which then exacerbates Auto-Immune Thyroid conditions.
Our Adrenals help regulate inflammation and energy. Cortisol is a glucocorticosteroid…
Gluco = sugar
Cortico = stress
So supporting the bodies ability to reduce inflammation through the Adrenals we are going to automatically improve Thyroid autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s.
By containing the Cortisol fluctuations and surges and supporting our blood sugar we take stress off the Adrenal Glands so that they can deal with the inflammation in the Thyroid.
Blood sugar stability is achieved by becoming more of a fat burning machine rather than a sugar burning machine. It takes 30 days, after we remove sugar and simple carbohydrates from our diets, to revert from a sugar burning state to becoming a fat burning machine.
Thyroid Problem Misdiagnosis
I have already dealt with this in Hormone Health Part Two, and do I won’t go on about it here. What I will say is that Thyroid meds are the most prescribed meds in the US and the third most prescribed meds in the UK. It’s a lucrative business!
There’s a nine minute video discussion in Hormone Health Part Two, recorded at the Mayo Clinic, revealing a lot of the prescriptions for these Thyroid meds are unnecessary…
The information provided is not intended to replace the medical directives of your healthcare provider. This information is not meant for the diagnosis of health issues. If you are pregnant, have serious or multiple health concerns, consult with your healthcare provider before using essential oils or associated products. If you experience any complications or adverse reactions contact your healthcare provider.
Deepen your knowledge by using the Wild As The Wind Recommended Resources
Another resource you may find useful can be found by following the link below. *Please note, I use sources from the Recommended Resources list as well as sources from the Healthcare and Skincare Information Sources list when researching articles for the Wild As The Wind Blog.
Wild As The Wind use a number of resources when deciding which formulas to put together for optimal healing and efficacy, as well as to support any health claims we may make.
We owe a particular debt to GreenMedInfo, and, of course, the teachings of Penny Price.
Other resources include:
Dr. Robert Pappas
Dr. Josh Axe
Dr. Eric Zielinski