Dry Skin: Could Your Low Thyroid Be The Culprit?
Many of us may remember how Oprah Winfrey made headlines by announcing she had a low thyroid on her nationally syndicated TV talk show. This was a good move because it brought awareness to a potentially serious condition if left untreated.
Low thyroid is typically more common in women than men. Some women may first encounter a low thyroid during perimenopause and menopause. However, younger people of both genders can experience a low thyroid as well.
Low thyroid or hypothyroidism can have a profound effect on just about every aspect of our bodies. This tiny butterfly gland located in the neck, regulates our metabolism and functions as our body's thermostat. Symptoms of a low thyroid can include depression, cold hands and feet, hypoglycemia, weight gain, hair loss, arthritis, and can even affect the skin. Changes in skin can include facial puffiness, acne, rashes, eczema and dry, flaking skin. Less common conditions can include vitiligo and yellowing of the skin. However, dry skin is by far the most common.
If you suspect you might have a low thyroid, then seek out a competent physician.
It is always wise to have the appropriate blood tests taken along with a physical examination. Your physician will look for various possible indicators such as elevated cholesterol, weight gain, hair loss, dry, flaking skin, etc.
The usual course of treatment is medication prescribed by your physician. Thyroid medication can be of natural origin or synthetic. You can discuss your treatment options with your doctor.
Even with proper treatment, your thyroid can still vacillate. Several factors such as stress and even seasonal changes can lower your thyroid. Often your body will tell you when you are out of balance. Even though I have been on thyroid medication for several years, I can usually tell when I am low. Recently, I experienced a return of carpal tunnel syndrome in my hands (many physicians are unaware that a low thyroid can cause this condition). Sure enough, I got tested and my thyroid was low. In this case, my physician adjusted my dose accordingly. Others may have a return of dry skin or depression which may indicate their thyroid is low. It will likely be different for most.
If you are experiencing dry skin due to a thyroid condition even if you are on medication, there are steps you can take which can keep your skin moist and hydrated. The following are great tips for dry skin, even if you have a normally functioning thyroid.
Stay away from harsh detergent cleansers, particularly those which are very alkaline. Most foaming cleansers and soaps are very alkaline. Alkaline products can dry and strip your skin. Use a very gentle gel type cleanser with no harsh detergents or a milky natural cleanser with can help keep your skin hydrated.
Use only alcohol and fragrance free toners. Alcohol, such as SD Alcohol 40 can be very drying. Added fragrance can cause skin irritation which can further exacerbate dry skin conditions. Look for toners that include soothing and moisturizing ingredients. Aloe Vera is an excellent natural moisturizer.
Use all natural anti-aging creams and moisturizers which use nourishing oils such as sesame seed oil, apricot kernel oil, jojoba and almond oil. Some heavier oils which you may want to try are macadamia nut oil, avocado oil and evening primrose oil. See which formulations feel best on your skin. Natural oils penetrate much better than petroleum based products which tend to sit on the skin. Petroleum, mineral oil and lanolin may actually cause drier skin in the long-run.
Exfoliate with gentle exfoliators. A once or twice a week exfoliating mask with glycolic or lactic acid is more than enough. Look for formulas which incorporate soothing and moisturizing ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Chamomile, and Hyaluronic Acid. Many natural botanical extracts also have anti-inflammatory properties which may help to reduce puffiness.
Don't despair. Dry flaky skin which might stem from a low thyroid can be treated with both proper medical treatment and well formulated all natural skin care.
Written by Dr. Teri Dourmashkin
Dr. Teri Dourmashkin received her doctorate in Health Education (Ed.D) from Columbia University. She is the founder and President of La Vie Celeste Skin Care, Inc., a company dedicated to providing all natural anti-aging skin care products which are not only remarkably effective, but are safe and non-toxic. La Vie Celeste –the perfect union of science and nature. To learn more visit http://www.laviecelesteskincare.com.