The thyroid gland may be the small but crucial organ of the body. It produces thyroid hormones which regulate numerous body functions like metabolic rate, heart rate, body temperature, etc. The abnormal function of the thyroid gland defines thyroid illness. The thyroid gland starts producing a fewer or larger number of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream. It badly impacts the body's functions like embryonic development of mammalian skin, epidermal thickness determination, hair growth maintenance, and sebum secretion. It is imperative to diagnose and treat it on time.
When the thyroid produces fewer thyroid hormones, it becomes underactive, and when it makes more than required, it becomes overactive. In both cases, cutaneous changes occur and result in various skin conditions. This blog has focused on various skin diseases that are linked to thyroid dysfunction.
Skin conditions linked to hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism can be caused due to autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto's thyroiditis. It involves the chronic inflammation of the thyroid, resulting in either insufficient thyroid hormone production or the antagonism of target cells to thyroid action. The following skin diseases are linked to an underactive thyroid.
Myxedema usually develops due to wrongly managed or untreated hypothyroidism. When a person with hypothyroidism does not care, quits their medication, or takes an inaccurate medication dose, such complications can develop. In this condition, the level of mucopolysaccharides (chains of sugar molecules) is raised and accumulates in the corium (dermis), which is usually around the hair follicles and dermal vessels.
Myxedema includes thickening of the skin; along with this person can have other symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, depression, dry skin, brittle hair, etc. Myxedema problem often arises after a protracted history of hypothyroidism.
Thin, pale, and wrinkled skin:
When you notice some skin alterations like paleness, thinness, and wrinkles, it indicates hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism impacts the elasticity of the skin. It is because of the irregular dermal content of mucopolysaccharides and water.
The long chains of sugar molecules get deposits in the skin and cause myxedema. What happens next may surprise you. These compounds lure water, which results in puffiness, swelling, and fluid retention. Such skin modifications occur in hypothyroidism. You may notice puffiness and swelling around your face, eyes, hands, and feet.
Cold peripheries mean a reduced core body temperature and decreased skin perfusion. It usually occurs because of cutaneous vasoconstriction.
The palms and soles start getting yellowish due to an excessive level of dermal carotene. The main reason for carotenemia in hypothyroidism is the fewer conversion of carotene into vitamin A.
Did you know thyroid hormone is antagonistic to vitamin A and controls its consumption rate?
Excessively dry skin:
Hypothyroidism patients can experience extremely dry skin. It can be due to reduced eccrine gland secretion. In critical cases, sweating processes get disrupted and result in the skin of palms and soles becoming thick and dry. This condition is comprehended as keratoderma. It makes skin abnormally dry, itchy, cracked, and paving-stone appearance. This condition is also called eczema craquelé.
Wound healing tendency gets slow:
Due to thyroid hormone deficiency, the healing tendency becomes slow compared to a healthy person.
Hypohidrosisis is also linked with hypothyroidism. It refers to an unusual lack of sweating where sweat glands produce little or no sweat. It may cause severe burns, inflammation, infection, or other injuries to the skin.
Did you know that around 57-59% of hypothyroidism patients experience changes in skin texture and poor skin hydration? Skin starts feeling excessively tight. It becomes rough, dry, scaly, itchy, and red or pink irritated skin, particularly on the arms and legs.
Skin conditions linked to hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism produces thyroid hormones excessively. When you have an overactive thyroid, metabolism starts racing uncontrollably. A person can experience rapid weight loss, heart palpitations, an irregular heartbeat, anxiety, sweating, tremors, heat sensitivity, fatigue, menstrual changes, and sleeping problems. Besides this, they can experience skin issues.
Warm and moist skin:
The cutaneous blood flow increases and causes warmth. It usually occurs along with redness of the face, palms, and elbows. It is often called palmar erythema.
The excessive moisture in the skin is due to the underlying metabolic state.
Smooth, soft, thin skin:
The outer layer of skin on the body is thin but not atrophic, and the outermost layer of the epidermis, i.e., stratum corneum, is completely hydrated. Due to this, the hyperthyroid patient has smooth, soft, and thin skin.
A hyperthyroid patient can struggle with hyperhidrosis issues also. It is a condition where unusual and excessive sweating may be observed, especially on the palms and soles.
Pruritus pretibial myxedema:
Pruritus pretibial myxedema is associated with autoimmune diseases, i.e., Graves' disease. It is also termed thyroid dermopathy. It is an uncommon skin disorder where localised pretibial skin thickening results from hyaluronic acid deposition.
Did you know that a small number of hyperthyroidism patients are diagnosed with Graves' disease (less than 5%)? It commonly occurs within two years after the hyperthyroidism diagnosis.
A person may experience both generalised and localised hyperpigmentation with hyperthyroidism. It happens because the secretion of ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone )from the pituitary increases to balance the upregulated degradation of cortisol.
Can skin issues be controlled?
If you think that skin condition will control your life, it can be true. If we leave any diseases untreated, it creates more complications and can make life miserable.
Right, and on-time treatment can be the saviour. Once you develop any skin issue, it is crucial to find if it is due to thyroid dysfunction or any other reason. When you discover that thyroid dysfunction is a wrongdoer here, it's time to find the root cause of thyroid dysfunction. Taking care of Thyroid hormone and root causes helps reduce skin issues slowly.
The last words
Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or autoimmune diseases, any of these can cause skin issues. Every condition is different and requires a distinctive set of corrective mechanisms. It is crucial to stress finding the root cause that impacts the thyroid hormone imbalance within the body.
Early diagnosis helps to set early treatment plans to get fast results. We at Jeevam Health choose a functional medicine approach and uncover the root cause of diseases. The functional medicine approach includes modifications in lifestyle like the proper diet according to the body type, regular workout, and healthy living clubbed with appropriate medication based on the patient's needs.
Are you still suffering from skin problems even after taking different treatments? Yes? Your healthcare provider might be missing something.