An underactive thyroid can make a mess on your skin. Things can get difficult — skin begins to itch, becomes dry, and this is not just a physical problem, for some people it becomes an emotional issue as well.
Skin can become puffy and distended because of all the fluid that is stuck somewhere under the surface. Your arms, legs, face, lips and even eyelids can enlarge due to a fluid buildup. We're all different and the skin problems associated with thyroid disease can vary from person to person, but this are the most common ones:
- Dry scalp
- Dry hair
- Shedding more hairs
- Facial bloating, commonly lips and eyelids
- Being paler than usual
- Yellowish looking skin
- Thicker skin, especially on the legs
- Bruises all over the body
The most common therapy for underactive thyroid gland involves hormone replacement. With this kind of treatment, most problems that accompany hypothyroidism such as scaly skin eventually decrease or withdraw completely. A few people are stuck with dryness and bloating even after the hormones are regulated, and it's still isn't clear why this happens.
Due to possible complications such as increased perspiration, hormone replacement therapy is introduced slowly. It's possible to be extra sensitive to the therapy and develop aftereffects such as skin rash, but luckily there are a few tricks you can try to ease your skin problems caused by an underactive thyroid.
1. Soothe itchy skin
First things first, avoid scratching your skin. It can be hard to refrain from itching, but you can only make the problem worse. There are various natural ways to ease itchiness, but using oatmeal and aloe vera showed as the most efficient. The process looks like this:
- Make sure your skin is clean
- Apply oatmeal to the itchy part of the skin
- Leave it on for half an hour and rinse with warm water
- Use aloe vera gel instead of facial cream
- Do this whenever the itchiness gets difficult to bear
2. Make sure to moisturize
To look and feel beautiful, even the healthy skin requires attention and care. Dry skin is even more difficult to maintain than oily skin, and moisturizing it regularly can prevent itchiness. Instead of commercial moisturizers loaded with chemicals, you can try more natural versions such as an emollient oil.
Unlike drugstore lotions that can dry the skin and inflame scaly area, natural moisturizers like jojoba or olive oil soak into the skin and actually help to ease these symptoms. When your skin is clean, lightly massage the oil in until you feel it being absorbed. Remove the excess oil with a tissue or a washcloth.
3. Make showers quick
Long baths and showers tend to dry out the skin, and there's a big chance to develop other skin issues as well. Scaly and cracked parts of your skin are good locations for germs to multiply. Also, the longer the shower, the dryer the skin gets. Never rub your skin to get it dry, rather pat it lightly with a soft towel. Don't forget to moisture your body after showers, as well as your face.
4. Use only warm water
Some people prefer hot water, but remember that your skin can't handle it so fight the urge to increase the temperature. Again, after you're done, moisturize your skin well with jojoba or olive oil.
6. Choose a good ointment
Finding a good cream or lotion can be tricky, but once you succeed, your skin will be grateful. Mild moisturizers help with itchiness, flaking, as well as cracks that are a common part of having dry skin. If your skin is dry, make sure to use lotions that moisten the skin and prevent water loss.
Read the labels! Try to always pick ointments and creams that contain urea or ammonium lactate because they help to remove dead skin from the surface. Also, therapy with keratolytics seems to remove scaly skin and lesions. This is good because then moisturizer can enter deeper into the skin.
6. Choose gentle soaps
If your skin is dry and itchy, harsh soaps can further irritate it. Use gentle soaps with as little ingredients as possible, and only on the “smelly” parts of your body. There's no need to soap that tummy too often. Also, avoid products labeled “antibacterial”. They're really not that necessary; we even need some bacteria in our lives.
7. Use makeup made for dry skin
Wearing makeup can be a challenge for people with dry skin because it can make the problem even worse. Make sure to use good-quality makeup that is suitable for your skin type. Also, you can use makeup products labeled for sensitive skin.
Makeup won't look well on scaly skin so it's crucial to moisturize well so that makeup doesn't look flaky. Choose dewey or radiant finish if you have dry skin to add that beautiful shine. Matte finish is usually made for oily skin prone to breakouts. Also, liquid makeup is better for dry skin than powders. Before applying foundation, you can protect your skin with a high SPF factor.
8. Ease puffiness with cold compress
Facial puffiness is a common symptom of hypothyroidism. It can even affect your lips and eyelids. If you're swollen and puffy often, you can try cold compress to eliminate eye swelling and ease the itch. When it comes to cold compressions, you can use anything: from ice, eye creams, plain water, and even cool milk. If you're using liquids, make sure to remove all the extra liquid from the cotton pad. Leave cool cotton pads on your eyes for 10-15 minutes and you'll probably see some changes for the better. Ice should never be used longer than you can tolerate it touching your skin.
9. Visit a skin specialist
If it seems like you've tried everything and your skin is still dry and itchy, it can be good to visit a dermatologist. A specialist can prescribe something that can help you better than over-the-counter ointments, which aren't that good if the condition that causes your problems is unrelated to underactive thyroid. A dermatologist can rule out many possible conditions that can be a cause of your skin problems; if your battle with itchiness and flaky skin lasts for a while, it would be smart to pay them a visit.