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How Skin Issues Led To My Hashimoto's Diagnosis

Veracity Selfcare CEO Allie Egan shares how skin issues led to her Hashimoto's diagnosis.
How Skin Issues Led To My Hashimoto's Diagnosis
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The Paloma Health team sat down with Allie Egan, the brains behind Veracity Selfcare, to learn more about how her hypothyroidism diagnosis set her on a mission to help other women avoid guessing games about their bodies and skin health.

When Allie and her husband started trying to get pregnant, they thought it was the perfect time—right age, stable careers, healthy lifestyles. But, as it turned out, a hormonal issue affected her ability to get pregnant. Allie went through years of fertility treatments, devastating miscarriages, and tests upon tests before getting pregnant with their son, Cooper.

You had skin symptoms for years. Can you tell us more about that specifically?

Allie: The first time I remember noticing my skin was in middle school. I was a tomboy who was struck by the typical teenage plague of acne. After reading the beauty Bibles of the 90's—Cosmopolitan and Allure—and studying the shelves at CVS, I self-diagnosed my skin type as "oily" treated it accordingly for over a decade. 

After college, dry, flaky spots began to appear above my eyelids. I diagnosed myself with contact dermatitis with Google's help, which means something was irritating my skin. But neither Google nor a dermatologist could tell me what that something was. 

I stopped using products on my skin, including cleanser. As I added things back in, I changed my skincare routine, including extra-moisturizing products, but nothing worked, so I just put up with the dry skin.

When did you discover that dry skin is a symptom of hypothyroidism?

Allie: After several failed rounds of IVF, we implanted our last embryo and finally—success! I had a positive pregnancy test, a rising HCG level, and a due date. But at my 8-week ultrasound appointment, my doctor apologized and told me this pregnancy wasn't viable.

Obviously devastated, I knew I had to take matters into my own hands. I sought the help of a reproductive immunologist and started to arm myself with information about the right questions to ask, the tests I should request, and the lifestyle changes that might help. I became obsessed with understanding what was going on in my body, particularly with my thyroid. 

Even though I had been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in the beginning of my fertility treatments and put on Synthroid, I wasn’t really educated about the disease or what it did to my body.

In my research, I learned that a very common symptom of hypothyroidism is dry skin patches. I saw photos of this condition and immediately thought that's exactly what my skin looked like!. 

It wasn’t until after the miscarriages and going to the reproductive immunologist and doing my own research that I realized the full implications of an autoimmune disease. That’s when my ah-ha! moment kicked in that my Hashimoto’s had been showing itself on my skin for years and I hadn’t been able to identify the cause.

What other symptoms did you now realize linked to your thyroid function?

Allie: Infertility was the biggest one. When my thyroid was first checked by my fertility doctor, all the important functions of the thyroid—including infertility—were not explained to me.

Another symptom was metabolism. I am naturally slim so weight wasn’t an issue for me, but before my Hashimoto’s was under control, I was in a constant state of hunger!

And inflammation in general. Before my Hashimoto’s was under control, I felt like my body was in constant fight mode and trying to attack any little thing. I was bloated and even bruises seemed to heal more slowly.

Tell us about your experience getting your hypothyroid diagnosis.

Allie: I felt like it was treated like it was not a big deal. Just, “take this pill and you’ll be fine.” I really wish I had the education and support to know what it meant and how to help the disease proactively. 

How did you feel after learning that you had been mis-diagnosed or missed a diagnosis for all those years?

Allie: Even after solving my medical puzzle, I still felt so angry. I was frustrated by how long this journey took. How doctors always seemed to treat me like a statistic rather than look at my unique symptoms and lifestyle. And how I had to find so much information for myself despite having access to the best care. I couldn't help but think I might have been able to avoid some of the heartbreak had I known how to listen to what my skin was telling me years earlier. 

I wondered if there was something I could do to help other women better understand their health so that they could avoid anguish and get answers to their lingering questions. I met with many doctors across all practice areas to see if regularly measuring hormones could help women better understand their bodies. 

The result of this exploration is Veracity Selfcare, a new type of skincare and self-care brand whose mission lies far beyond skin. I want to empower more women to take their journeys of self-discovery to find the solutions that will make their lives better and put them in the drivers seat of their health. 

How do you take care of your thyroid now?

Allie: The biggest thing that makes a difference for me is going gluten-free. I always thought people who were gluten-free, but not Celiac, were over dramatic. But then I learned that gluten is one of the biggest drivers of inflammation in everyone and its molecules can mimic that of thyroid cells. So when you have a thyroid issue, gluten can be an extra demon you didn’t know you were living with. Going gluten free, I have never felt better. My energy levels are good and I never have those pesky stomach issues so many of us endure.

What are your top 5 healthy habits, and why?

1) Exercise daily

Even if it's just little movements. It's both my zen/meditation time and really resets my body.

2) Eat when you're hungry.

Don't worry about "meal time" but snack small and often. Keeping your blood sugar in line is key.

3) Throw balance out the window and focus on joy.

Balance is a misnomer, but joy is real. And what can bring you joy may differ day to day and bring you "balance" as a consequence. 

4) Fluids!

You can almost never drink enough water and other hydrating fluids. I always make sure to have a beverage with me, whatever I'm doing. Masks have made it a bit more difficult, but maybe someone will invent a mask straw—kidding!

5) Don't be afraid of medical care.

I used to fear doctors, but now I embrace them. Information about yourself and your body is empowering. I really believe in the power of proactive care—from physical therapy to more serious issues—and regular testing.

A final note from Allie Egan

Allie: What I know now is that if you know what you’re battling—whether a minor skin problem or a larger health issue—you can fight the war. Millions of Americans live with a thyroid condition—and more than half still remain undiagnosed. Testing your thyroid early and regularly may help you reduce your risk of developing more serious problems. Who knows, if I had tested earlier, maybe I could have forgone IVF! Equip yourself with the right information and a community for support.

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Veracity Selfcare

Veracity creates a personal self-care experience based on real data about your hormones and other biofactors that impact your skin and health. Instead of relying on age, skin type, or race to determine your skincare routine, they use simple at-home testing to gather data and offer products based on your unique biofactors. Find Veracity on their website or on Instagram @veracityselfcare.

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