By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
If you are unhappy with the appearance of your skin, you may not have considered the influence of your thyroid gland. Correcting a thyroid problem can bring a big improvement in your skin’s health and appearance.
Your thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate your metabolism. That means it determines how efficiently your body burns calories. Therefore a healthy thyroid gland helps you maintain an ideal weight and a normal body temperature. Thyroid hormones enable the cells of your body to produce energy and they also help to influence your mood, emotional state and how sharp your memory and attention are.
If your thyroid gland is under active, this usually causes your skin to become dry. Fine lines and wrinkles appear earlier and are more noticeable. You may suffer with cracked heels and dry hands that no amount of moisturiser can remedy. Unfortunately an untreated under active thyroid gland will age you more rapidly. Another common symptom is brittle nails that break easily, and dry, brittle hair that is prone to splitting. A lot of women lose excessive amounts of scalp hair, which can be very distressing.
Some women also experience dry eyes. Sometimes the eyebrows become thinner or you may lose the outer third of your eyebrows. This isn’t always an indicator of a thyroid problem though. It is also just a common symptom of getting older. For most women, body hair becomes more sparse as they age.
Having an under active thyroid usually causes fluid retention and puffiness. Therefore common symptoms are bags under the eyes, and a bloated abdomen. You may experience swelling in your fingers, legs and ankles. Your calves may feel excessively tight and your feet can ache from standing all day. These symptoms are usually significantly worse in summer.
If you experience several of these symptoms, please visit your doctor and ask for a thyroid blood test. Hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) is extremely common and often remains undiagnosed for many years. It causes fatigue, but many people attribute that to a busy lifestyle or insufficient sleep. This means a thyroid problem can go undetected for a long time.