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Is There a Link Between Hypothyroidism and Acne? Yes, And It Could Be Causing Your Breakouts

There is solid scientific evidence that shows a strong correlation between hypothyroidism and acne. Understand why in this article.

Read on

There is solid scientific evidence that shows a strong correlation between hypothyroidism and acne.

While most symptoms resolve when thyroid levels are rebalanced, some symptoms like acne can persist. If this little gland is out of whack, it can have many undesirable effects. Including wreaking havoc on your skin. If you have hypothyroidism you’re not alone - 5 to 10 percent of the population has an underactive thyroid condition.  

An estimated 20 million Americans have a thyroid condition in some form. And, it is estimated that 60 percent of those with a thyroid condition are undiagnosed.  

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism refers to the condition where your thyroid is underactive and does not provide adequate amounts of thyroid hormone. This can be a result of an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  

Surprisingly this small butterfly-shaped gland in your neck has a huge role in the balancing act that takes place in your body. An underactive thyroid imbalance can cause fatigue, pain, inflammation, weight gain, and depression just to name a few.

Hypothyroidism and acne

Acne is often a reflection of an underlying issue that’s occurring inside the body rather than on the surface of the skin. However, acne can be caused by bacteria, excess oil, dead skin cells, and pore inflammation. It can also be caused by internal imbalances and reactions. Hypothyroidism can cause facial acne in a few ways. Let’s dive into the 5 main reasons that hypothyroidism can cause acne.  

#1 Hormonal imbalance

When we think of acne we often think of hormonal acne that occurs during puberty. No matter your age, hormones can cause skin issues. In the cause of thyroid conditions, hypothyroidism often causes acne because it can cause an imbalance of estrogen/progesterone levels.

Estrogen / progesterone - A properly functioning thyroid gland creates hormones that are used to convert cholesterol into progesterone. If your body is not producing enough thyroid hormone, your ovaries may not be able to produce adequate levels of progesterone, causing an estrogen dominance in your body. This estrogen dominance can cause acne breakouts and overly oily skin. It may also cause PMS, and particularly painful periods.

#2 Poor gut health correlated with hypothyroidism

Another important aspect of hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's Thyroiditis are gastrointestinal issues such as intestinal permeability (IIP), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Think of the gut as an ecosystem, if your intestinal tract is overpopulated (or underpopulated) by bacteria, the whole ecosystem is thrown for a loop. This can cause GI symptoms like bloating, gas, and diarrhea. But in some cases, it can cause non-GI symptoms such as acne, eczema, fatigue, or nutrient deficiencies.

#3 Dry and cracked skin

Thyroid hormones have an important role in regulating skin cells. A study in The Journal of General Internal Medicine reported 74% of hypothyroid patients reported dry skin. This may be because skin cells have a shorter lifespan and a rapid turnover rate. This means the skin cells might be more sensitive to low thyroid hormone levels - causing dry, cracked skin. Having poor skin cell health as a result of low thyroid levels can have a direct impact on your acne breakouts. If your skin is very dry, it might try to compensate for that and create excess sebum, so you might have an oily t-zone where flaky skin cells get caught between the sebum and the pores -- creating an inflammatory skin response like acne.

Talk to your doctor

Whenever dealing with a complex issue like hypothyroidism, it is necessary to consult with an endocrinologist specialist about how to treat your hypothyroid symptoms. Talk to your doctor about any occurrences of acne.

Remember acne can be an indication something else is happening internally -- and it's important to investigate. Your endocrinologist can help balance your thyroid hormones as well as other hormones that could be causing acne breakouts.

Talk to your doctor about any GI discomfort or disturbances. GI issues are common with hypothyroidism and are indications of a gut health issue. These issues can be investigated by your physician as well.

The Bottom Line

  • Yes, a thyroid condition like hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's thyroiditis can cause acne.
  • The thyroid gland has a direct effect on estrogen and progesterone. An underactive thyroid can cause an imbalance resulting in hormonally driven acne.
  • If you have hypothyroidism and GI disturbances, talk to your doctor about gut health. The health of your gut has a direct impact on your skin, energy levels, and immune function. Treats Acne Online

While you investigate the root cause of your acne with your specialist, you might also want to topically treat any current breakouts or healing acne.

While the cause of your acne might be internal, that doesn’t mean you can’t help your skin from the outside in. The proper care of an acne breakout may help reduce acne scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation marks.

Strut offers free online physician consultations for the treatment of acne. We offer physician and pharmacist formulated acne medications that can help with controlling acne and brightening the appearance of any marks or scars you might have.

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