Acne and The Thyroid - Is there a connection?
Acne? Well, we know the thyroid is responsible for many unpleasant symptoms and in the end, you get to think that it is responsible for just about everything that you experience in your life.
Thing is, in many cases, we are right. In many women (and men) it is also responsible for bad skin from dryness to rashes, acne spots, blackheads and whiteheads.
You get to realise this a lot more when you are in your 30's and 40's and you still have bad skin. In fact you can't remember a time when you didn't have bad skin, no matter how much effort you have put into your skincare, nor how much money you have wasted, yes, wasted on skincare products and treatments. Natural is best but often the problem lies deeper, much deeper.
Your money will be wasted too.
Why? Well the treatment you need to clear up the acne, blackheads, whiteheads, boils, pimples and spots is actually thyroid hormone preferrably in the form of Armour Thyroid and also some nutritional supplements that many low thyroid or hypothyroid women are in much needs of, especially vitamin C and the B complex.
Then there is adrenal fatigue/insufficiency. This can wreak havoc too. Adrenal fatigue is becoming an epidemic in todays modern and competitive world. It is debilitating and can lead to chronic illness. It also interferes with thyroid function.
Read more about it Here
Is it really that simple?
I could not understand my own skin. From teenage to now, it has behaved oddly. Of course, over the last few years it has been at it's worst.
For me, it has been the following collection of problems:
Huge white/yellowy blemishes underneath my eyes and down onto my cheeks - oily to the point of looking wet when stressed - whiteheads on whole of face - A waxy feeling to the skin - open pores - easily irritated - yellowy look to skin - spider veins - loads of pimples on backs of upper legs especially backs of knees and thighs - always getting a rash of infected looking spots after shaving bikini line - any spots I get on face do not contain pus, rather they are painful and solid but rare (fortunately) and always occur in the same places. Dry scaly skin on ears - dry itchy patches on face - red blotches on body - occasional rashes that look like the measels - sweaty clammy feeling to chest skin - occasional boils in armpits - recurring non infected boil at top of leg near buttock which is hard and very painful but appears every couple of months - hard white lumps behind ears (something my father also had but his sometimes became infected and pus filled) spots on buttocks.
Why does it happen?
In the book "Solved: The Riddle of Illness" by Stephen E Langer and James F Scheer it is explained that in Doctor Langer's pratice he has seen astonishing reversals in poor skin condition in hypothyroid patients through the supplementation of desiccated thyroid. The following conditions have often cleared up completely: eczema, psoriasis, cellulitis, erysipelas, impetigo, lupus erythematosus, acne, fish skin.
And as he also states "Rarely is an acne patient suspected of thyroid deficiency, yet hypothyroidism is at the root of many acne cases"
He states that once thyroid therapy is under way, many acne cases clear up completely, never to return. He is of course talking about natural dessicated thyroid such as Armour Thyroid as opposed to synthetic T4 known as levothyroxine in the UK and Synthroid in the U.S. I have taken T4 in the form of Levothyroxine and yes my skin improved at first, but reverted back within a short space of time, so it really must be Armour Thyroid that is used, but sadly is not available from most G.P's. We have to buy it privately over the internet. Please note, it still needs to be used under supervision and guidance and is NOT an acne remedy. It should only be used by those who are hypothyroid, low thyroid or thyroid hormone resistant, otherwise it is bad news for those with an already good functioning thyroid and may even cause acne in those who do not actually need it.
He also explains that it is due to our sluggish metabolism, lack of sufficient thyroid hormone causes skin to be deprived of oxygen, blood supply and therefore cells only get a minimum of 20 per cent of the blood supply that they are supposed to.
The skin becomes clogged without nourishment, blood supply and oxygen. Waste products of skin cells are not being removed and the skin becomes "constipated"
With skin this unhealthy, bacteria soon sets in causing infection. Like anything without a good blood supply.
Boils, pimples, whiteheads, blackheads appear and bacteria takes up permanent residence in the sebaceous glands and hair follicles.
The worst part of all this is that antibiotics will do precious little to help and neither will good skincare, skincare treatments or acne remedies.
The symptoms are being treated but not the root cause - Low thyroid or hypothyroidism. Those who have low thyroid generally have a poor response to medications so antibiotics prescribed by the GP for acne may not work - at all.
You might say "But teenagers suffer with acne - it's hormonal!"
Yes it is hormonal. Remember that the thyroid produces hormones and also that many cases of both hypo and hyper thyroidism start in the teenage years. Thyroid illness can start in the womb!! It is not restricted to middle aged women like the GP tells us. It just becomes worse in middle age, especially menopause.
So you see it is actually things like puberty, pregnancy and menopause that trigger a thyroid illness just the same as these stages in our life when hormone production is out of kilter can trigger many things.
A lot of people automatically think of hormones as being just sex hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Think again. Your endocrine glands produce lots of hormones and an out of balance situation with one gland will cause an effect on other hormones including sex hormones. A sick thyroid means sick adrenals and vice versa as well as problems with other endocrine organs. It also causes problems with many other body systems including the digestive system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, reproductive system and so on.
Dr Langer treats low thyroid conditions and full blown hypothyroidism with natural thyroid hormone, Vitamin B complex and a good diet and sometimes additional supplements where needed. Yes, at the end of the day, it really is that simple.
In 1890, an English Doctor discovered made a discovery when treating a 65 year old woman with thyroid treatment which in those days was chopped up pigs thyroid gland which the patient had to eat!
However, her eczema disappeared, but with his curiosity now aroused, the same doctor stopped the thyroid treatment and her eczema returned. He then restarted the thyroid treatment and once again, the eczema disappeared.
Dr Langer states that almost any skin condition could have it's root in hypothyroidism.
This really is quite exciting news - for us anyway, but not for all the pharmaceutical companies and cosmetic houses and skincare companies that make millions from selling us products that actually never work and of course if we are hypothyroid, then these products will never work either.
Many skin infections such as cellulitis, impetigo and erysipelas can become very serious and cause septicemia which can in turn cause kidney inflammation, pneumonia and rheumatic fever. Toxins spread throughout the body. At worst something that seems a superficial skin condition can actually kill.
Hypothyroisim should always be suspected where skin conditions are going on for years and where infection is setting in. where this pattern keeps recurring. Where skin conditions don't respond to treatment or products.
Psoriasis can even respond to thyroid hormone, though not always, but it is most definately worth a try to see if this is why you have the condition.
In conjunction with desiccated thyroid, Omega 3 fish oils (organic and must state from a very good source), B Complex and vitamin C (1000mg plus) should be used, but remember,without thyroid hormone, these supplements will do nothing alone.
Ultimately, Dr Langer has seen patients completely turned around by Armour thyroid. Yes, it may take time to get the desired results, but once achieved, they are permanent and for those suffering with the emotional problems that bad skin brings, this is a God-send.
However we have a problem. Our problem is in convincing a GP that we have a reason for thyroid hormone. It can become complicated as many of us have normal blood test results when our GP tests for thyroid function. Why? Because GP's use the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) as a guide when testing us. TSH is actually a pituitary hormone that fluctuates throughout the day and NOT a good indicator of thyroid function despite what GP's think. They have been trained in medical school to believe this, but masses of evidence suggest otherwise. The sure way is a 24 hour T4/T3 hormone test £85.00 (Order Code: TUK2)
which can be obtained from Genova Diagnostics. You can order these tests direct by calling 020 8336 7750 or emailing them direct email@example.com. You must mention Thyroid UK when ordering
This will tell you whether T4 and T3 are low and whether you actually need thyroid hormone.
For more advice about treatment with Armour Thyroid or other natural Thyroid treatment including synthetic T4 go to The Nutri Centre (Nutri adrenal or Nutri adrenal extra)
Another thing to consider is the gut. with modern day poor diet, this plays havoc with our skin and if we also have candida adrenal fatigue and or thyroid disease then our gut wont be functioning as it should. This can cause a build up of putrid decaying matter within the gut wall. Our skin is the largest organ of elimination, therefore our sluggish liver, in an attempt to detoxify this waste, struggles to filter waste products from our bloodstream which then end up as fatty deposits in our skin - lipoma's, white lumps under the skin and eyes.
The best way to improve your skin really is through diet - you really are what you eat and it is reflected in many things about you from your white coated tongue to poor skin.