Skin Health and Thyroid Function
Every patient that comes across my desk these days gets their thyroid evaluated. I do this because thyroid function is important for SO MANY processes in the body. It contributes to our metabolism, gut health, mood, energy, body pain, appearance, and SKIN. This week I discuss thyroid function’s role in skin health. If you are interested in your skin’s appearance, and want to be as proactive as you can here, then read on!
Low thyroid function can classically be seen by looking at someone (this is called myxedema). There will be pronounced bags under the eyes, overall puffiness of the face, dry skin, and thinning hair (specifically the lateral third of the eyebrows). These changes occur because excess sugar is deposited in the skin as a result of low thyroid and sugar attracts water, causing swelling. Lower eye puffiness is one of the more common complaints I see; thyroid function should be evaluated prior to cosmetic procedures aimed to address this.
Thyroid hormone is released from the thyroid gland where it circulates to find a thyroid receptor. These thyroid receptors are abundant in the skin, affecting its quality. Underactive thyroid causes pale, rough, scaly, and dry skin. Cells that produce skin (AKA keratinocytes) are DIRECTLY mediated by thyroid hormone. Low thyroid function slows down the turnover of skin cells. It’s reasonable to conclude then, that procedures such as chemical peels and microneedling will be more effective with proper thyroid function, because they call upon skin cells to produce new skin. Moreover, our ability to heal from injury is dependent on thyroid function, influencing recovery time.
Thyroid also influences hair and nail quality. Similar to skin, low thyroid function can lead to dry, coarse, brittle, slow growing hair and thinning eyebrows. Nails are thick, brittle, and also slow growing.
Thyroid hormone influences our blood’s ability to flow in the body and perfuse the skin and organs. Skin can be cool to the touch and you may find yourself feeling cold all the time. Moreover, the upper eyelids can droop because there is less innervation to the controlling muscles. I can’t tell you how many of us complain about drooping eyelids. This is not to say that all droopy eyelids are from underactive thyroid, but why not evaluate when treatment is so easy?
As you can see, the health of our skin and nails is dependent on thyroid function. As a patient of mine, you will receive a comprehensive evaluation of your thyroid function, ensuring that thyroid function is optimal. I am so excited to be offering cosmetic procedures and helping people achieve their cosmetic goals, however A HEALTHY BODY IS THE ROOT TO BEAUTY!