Dry Skin Problems: Hypothyroidism

Among various kinds of dry skin problems, hypothyroidism-linked dryness is among the difficult-to-diagnose conditions.

Basics of Hypothyroidism

People suffering from hypothyroidism are unable to synthesize or metabolize the thyroxine hormone in the appropriate manner. This hormone is among the most vital of metabolic hormones. When thyroxine deficiency is established, the body is unable to conduct its critical metabolic functions, resulting in the impaired functioning of bodily systems.

Along with lethargy, a tendency to gain weight, excessive thirst/hunger and dryness of skin are primary symptoms. Hypothyroidism is also referred to as an under-active thyroid gland condition. This condition normally presents itself in the two forms:

  • Idiopathic Hypothyroidism—this is the more common form of hypothyroidism wherein there is no defined cause inducing the inactivity of the thyroid hormone.
  • Hashimoto's Thyroiditis—a serious inflammatory condition that causes inflammation and destruction of the thyroid gland tissue.

Hypothyroidism-Linked Dry Skin

The skin becomes overtly dry despite consuming appropriate amounts of water or maintaining moisturization throughout the day. The skin develops a pale hue and develops a typically itchy surface. The dryness isn't limited to the face, but quickly spreads to the neck and other parts of the body, including the scalp. This is why dandruff is also associated with hypothyroidism.

The problem presents a complex diagnosis since most specialists aren’t inclined towards ordering a hormone essay (testing) unless some other striking symptom indicates towards a thyroid-linked abnormality. Often, the condition is misdiagnosed as eczema or psoriasis, i.e. other dry skin problems that don’t have a defined cause.

Hypothyroidism-Linked Dry Skin Problems

The intensely dry skin leads to many other skin problems that can quickly multiply if proper treatment is not sought, including:

  • Rashes—once the skin develops a perennially dry exterior, it becomes more vulnerable to rashes. The itchiness of the skin makes if more susceptible to being repeatedly scratched and further raises the incidence of rashes. Hypothyroidism skin dryness is often linked with the repeated occurrence of hives and pruritus.
  • Thickened Skin—the dry skin undergoes an excessive degree of keratinization. Here, a protein called keratin is deposited excessively over the skin. This is because of the extreme dryness of skin that stimulates the over-production of keratin. As a result, the skin develops a distinctly coarse and thick appearance that doesn’t respond to basic moisturizing methods.
  • Skin Discoloration—this problem surfaces due to the combination of excessively dry skin and reduced circulatory functions in the body. The affected skin is unable to complete its rejuvenation functions. Thus, small patches of skin with reduced nutrition develops a slightly dull hue. Further, the dry skin is incapable of maintaining an even texture or tone. This leads to patchiness in the skin’s coloration. Dry skin is more vulnerable to sunburns or other causes of hyperpigmentation that further make the skin discolored. Hyperthyroidism is known to raise the pigmentation of skin in sudden bursts that adds to the uneven distribution of skin pigments. The lowered metabolic state of the body makes it difficult to metabolize vitamin A, rendering the skin a patchy, yellowish appearance.
  • Hairless Patches & Bumps—tightening of follicles happens because of disturbed circulatory functions induced by inactivity of the thyroid gland. The lack of thyroxine impairs the movement of bodily fluids, ensuring that hair follicles die prematurely. These suffocated hair follicles are incapable of growing hair. Further, they can get infected or turn into thick bumps that add to the coarse appearance of the skin.

Seeking Treatment

Hypothyroidism-linked dry skin problems are best resolved by combining intensive, daily moisturization along with hormonal treatment that seeks to correct the deficiency of thyroxine.

Have specific questions?

All Article Categories

Before & After Photos

Suggested Doctors

Recently Asked Questions