Skin conditions associated with thyroid problems are very common. Hormones secreted by the thyroid regulate the embryonic development of the skin, initiation, and maintenance of hair growth, determination of epidermal thickness and the secretion of the sebum. In this article, you will find out how thyroid affects the health of your skin and hair. 

Scientific terms

The scientific term for thyroid related skin diseases is Myxedema. In hypothyroidism increased glycosaminoglycan results in increased hyaluronic acid deposits in the skin leading to fluid retention in the skin. On the other hand, people with hyperthyroidism can develop a condition called Melanoderma or bronzed appearance on the skin.

How thyroid affects the health of your skin

The functioning of the thyroid glands and the hormones secreted by it namely T3 and T4 affects the health of your skin. Sebum, the protective barrier of the skin is the first one to get impacted by the thyroid hormones. 

An abnormally low thyroid level (hypothyroidism) can make the skin extremely rough and dry. An abnormally high level of thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can lead to excessively sweaty and wet skin. Skin also constitutes hair and hair follicles. An uneven thyroid level can lead to hair fall, hair on the eyebrows to fall and even cause brittle nails.

Signs that tell you, that your thyroid is not working properly

The signs are often subtle and very easily confused with other conditions rather than thyroid. Skin conditions that point towards thyroid not working properly are as follows:

  • dry, itchy and scaly skin;
  • itchy, flaky scalp;
  • dry, frizzy hair;
  • dry,  brittle, split nails;
  • thinned eyebrows and armpits;
  • pale colorless skin;
  • chronic eczema;
  • unnatural hair loss
  • facial puffiness, especially on eyelids


During Hypothyroidism the skin becomes thick, dry, rough and flaky. The elevated level of mucopolysaccharides (connective tissues containing amino groups) accumulates in the dermis around the hair follicles and dermal vessels. They cause the collagen to disintegrate. Skin also becomes pale, thin and wrinkled due to an abnormal dermal content of mucopolysaccharide and water. In severe thyroid cases, the sweating may drastically reduce.  This results in the palms and soles becoming dry and thick (keratoderma). There is the presence of slow growing and brittle nails, poor wound healing tendencies and diminished body hair. The yellowness of the skin may also indicate poor liver conditions. The liver is in charge of converting 60% of T4 (inactive thyroxine) into T3 (active thyroxine).


When the thyroid is overactive, there is an overproduction of thyroid hormones, leading to thyrotoxicosis which causes the skin to become thin and inflamed thus leading to conditions like eczema and psoriasis. An increased thyroid hormone means faster growth, thus resulting in an increase in conditions where keratin (skin protein) is overproduced. Excessive sweating occurs in palms and soles. An increase in blood flow causes warmth which results in redness of the face, elbows, and palms. Sometimes tender, red-brown nodules occur in areas like the shins, calves, and feet. An early symptom is also early greying of hair along with a decrease in pigment content of hair.

Causes of poor thyroid functions

To improve skin conditions caused by thyroid disruptions, one must look at the causes that are creating the thyroid to go haywire. Some of the causes of poor thyroid functions are:

  • Irregular blood sugar levels
  • Poor digestion, also if the liver is not functioning proper
  • Chronic stress, be it psychological or physical
  • Diet and lifestyle which is full of toxins like unnatural substances, unhealthy living, unhealthy activities

How to improve thyroid functions

Firstly you need to realize which cause is affecting your thyroid functions. The main problem is psychological and physical stress which can be controlled only by an individual by taking certain actions. Once the stress level is reduced, only then can you take other measures to improve thyroid functions.

  • Eating the right kind of food by eliminating all processed food and including more fruits, fresh vegetables, whole and real foods in your diet. Healthy fats like unsalted butter, ghee, egg yolks, and coconut oil are pro-thyroid foods. They are also good for maintaining a healthy skin.
  • Iodine deficiency is one of the major causes of hypothyroidism. Have salts that are free of chemicals and artificial additives to improve the thyroid functions.
  • Exercise- it not only helps maintain an ideal body weight but also helps in detoxification, improving the liver; thus improving thyroid.
  • Hormonal imbalances and emotions:  Hormonal imbalance can lead to emotional turbulence and depression.  This takes a toll on the skin as well and breakouts happen. Liver functions are affected due to hormonal imbalances. Mastering emotions will help you gain a healthy body. The thyroid is greatly affected by your mental and emotional stress.

Learn How to Interpret Your Thyroid Tests : A Complete Guide


Get Rid of The Flabby Skin – A Complete Guide

What Hypothyroidism Speaks About The Status Of Your Health?