Hypothyroidism and acne

Hypothyroidism and acne causes

by alicedice under CC BY-SA


When we talk about the thyroid gland and the imbalances of the thyroid hormone, most people would readily think of its role in the metabolism and maintenance of different processes in the body but only a few people realize that the thyroid gland can also affect the appearance of the individual such as the case of hypothyroidism and acne.

The thyroid gland, a small butterfly shaped organ located at the anterior aspect of the neck, is responsible for the production of two important hormones in the body – T3 or triiodothyronine, and T4 or thyroxine. These hormones are responsible for not only regulating the metabolic rate of the body including the level of energy and appetite of the individual, but also for the growth of the cells.

Acne and Hypothyroidism can be traced back to the role of the thyroid hormones in the skin. These hormones play a role for controlling the growth of hair and cells, pigmentation of the hair, and providing a supply of sebum or natural oil in the skin. Hence, an imbalance of the thyroid hormones whether too much or too little can lead to the development of skin problems such as dry skin, pimples, edema, uneven skin pigmentation, and rashes.

Hypothyroidism and Acne Treatment

The reduced levels of the thyroid hormones in the body cause changes in the integument due to its effect of slowing the metabolic rate of the body. Acne results from the buildup of sebum or skin oil that occludes in the pores and the poor blood circulation in the skin that increase the predisposition of the blocked pore to infection.

Aside from these, hypothyroidism acne that results to dry and rough skin can be attributed to the decreased amount of phospholipids in the body that nourishes the skin, as a result of decreased fat metabolism.

Another noted cause of the hypothyroidism was mentioned in a European study showing that the sebaceous glands which produce sebum, a compound that helps normal growth of hair and preserves moisture of the skin, becomes affected by the autoimmune problems causing decreased thyroid function.

Whatever the cause of acne is, it can be differentiated from the normal skin breakouts that most of us experienced during the teenage years is that – the acne from an underactive thyroid gland does not only appear on the face and back but can also appear on the chest, scalp or back of the ear. Another concern about this type of acne is that they are slow to heal and can even cause discoloration of the skin due to the reduced moisture and nourishment of the skin as well as the decreased flow of blood in the area due to increased blood sugar levels.

This problem can only be resolved by directly addressing the imbalance of thyroid hormone levels in the body. The cause of the malfunctioning thyroid must be recognized first such as hypothyroid state due to lack of iodine in the diet may be resolved by intake of sea foods and other iodine rich foods. Hormone replacement or supplementation therapy may also be advised to the individual to correct the condition.

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