As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the body's metabolism and energy use. Your body processes slow down and change when your thyroid hormone production drops, affecting virtually every body system.
People with hypothyroidism often struggle with skin-related symptoms, including epidermal, dermal, and sweat gland changes. A primary complaint is of dry or coarse skin. This dryness is often due to decreased sweating, though the exact connection between the thyroid and sweat glands is unclear.
Other hypothyroid skin-related issues may include:
Celebrity makeup artist, and clean beauty expert, Suzy Gerstein has seven years of experience living (and thriving) with a thyroid condition. Ahead, she shares her five-minute skincare routine for dry, hypothyroid skin.
Cleanse with a gentle yet effective product that dissolves makeup, debris, and residue without unnecessary chemicals or additives that strip the skin. I like products with cupuacu butter, a plant-based alternative to lanolin. This fruit butter works on the cellular level, and supports 440% of its weight in water, making it particularly useful to plump and hydrate dry, hypothyroid skin.
Bonus! A product that smells and feels amazing helps to build a more consistent self-care practice. Self-care can help you manage stress, decrease adrenal fatigue, and create sleep-supporting rituals, which encourage healthy thyroid function.
Even though the skin can feel dry as a symptom of hypothyroidism, it is a living organism, and in this way can also be complicated. Many of my clients who have hypothyroidism are both oily and dry, depending on the time of year, time of the month, and climate. I like to have two toners on hand to switch between as the weather and your skin’s needs change.
I love toner products that contain honey. Historically, honey has been used for its healing properties. Recent studies show that honey's skin-healing ability is due to its antimicrobial properties and its ability to modulate the skin's immune system, making it an excellent choice for those with acne or dry skin.
A commonly under-moisturized area is the under eyes. The skin there is quite thin and lacks the oil glands and collagen that we have elsewhere on our bodies, making it prone to dehydration.
Wild-harvested rosehip seed is an excellent ingredient to restore and protect dry, hypothyroid skin. This oil contains substantial fatty acids and antioxidants. These properties help protect against inflammation and oxidative stress, making it an excellent choice for inflammatory skin conditions like eczema.
Bonus! A roller application also aids in depuffing and lymphatic drainage. Under-eye puffiness is a common complaint of those with autoimmune conditions. I like to leave mine in the fridge for some extra cooling action.
Similarly, you might apply a nourishing oil to your face before doing gua sha, or jade rolling, which have a tightening effect. For more pampering for dry skin, I suggest adding a sheet mask or reusable undereye mask into the mix.
Last but not least, lips. Protect your lips with a balm that includes soothing ingredients like fruit oils, vitamin E, and calendula flower. Also, frequently my clients with chronically dry lips are dehydrated. It's important to remember to drink plenty of water, irrespective of skincare products!
If you experience frustrating skin issues, consider taking a blood test to understand your thyroid function. Many labs only look at thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Still, it's also critical to measure fT3, fT4, and TPO antibodies to see the full picture.
If your results indicate that you have low thyroid levels, it is treatable in almost everyone. Optimizing your levels with medication is usually the first step in minimizing symptoms like dry skin. When determining a treatment plan with your doctor, remember that each of us is unique with individual sensitivities. There is no one-size-fits-all.
Find inspiration for a healthy way to support your thyroid