What do dry skin, nail problems like ridges, and hair loss all have in common?
All of these conditions are common symptoms associated with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s.
Suffering from dry skin? It might be time to have your thyroid hormone levels checked. Your skin is a reflection of your overall wellness. It’s the body’s largest elimination organ, as well as a canvas for the below things to manifest:
- Toxin overload
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Hormone imbalances
Changes in your skin are often the FIRST sign that something may be off with your health.
Of course, if you’re experiencing dry skin it could be from a number of different factors including your skin care regime, lifestyle choices and diet. However, it’s worth noting that dry skin is also a key symptom of low thyroid function (hypothyroidism).
How can the thyroid affect skin hydration?
- Lipolysis (the breakdown of fats) is aided by thyroid hormone.
- Thyroid dysfunction causes lipogenesis (the development of fat) which contributes to sluggish bile production.
- Bile is responsible for emulsifying and absorbing lipids and fat-soluble vitamins.
- When that cascade is disrupted, it has a direct impact on skin hydration, resulting in dry skin and brittle nails.
If you’re suffering from unexplained dry skin accompanied by brittle nails and/or hair loss, then be sure to have your thyroid hormone levels checked!
Certain nail issues can be clear signs that your thyroid isn’t working as it should, especially when accompanied by other common hypothyroid symptoms such as:
- Hair loss
- Low libido
- Dry skin
- And unexplained weight gain.
Thyroid hormones are essential for metabolism and growth in the body! However, if you’re unable to make enough thyroid hormone, these processes slow down resulting in 4 common nail issues:
Paronychia is characterised by inflammation around the cuticles of the nails. This issue is typically associated with a tyrosine deficiency, an important amino acid for thyroid function. Dry cuticles and hard white tissue around the paronychia indicate low thyroid function.
Paronychia can also be a sign of stress, trauma and low immunity.
There are four different types of nail ridges associated with hypothyroidism, and each of them is associated with different underlying factors.
Vertical white ridges on both sides of the nail bed can be another indicator that something is wrong with your thyroid. This is often a sign of a selenium deficiency in terms of nutrition. Selenium is required for the conversion of the INACTIVE thyroid hormone T4 to the ACTIVE thyroid hormone T3.
Nail beading that drips down the nail like wax is associated with endocrine conditions, such as thyroid disorders and adrenal dysfunction. It is also associated with vitamin B deficiency (which is also common within thyroid disorders).
Longitudinal Ridges – Onychorrhexis can occur with ageing, but also be an indication of inflammation and autoimmunity.
Central nail ridges can be caused by iron deficiency, protein deficiency, folic acid deficiency, and essential fatty acid deficiency. Many people with thyroid disorders have low iron, so this is something that I see quite frequently in women with thyroid dysfunction.
Splitting at the tops of the fingernails is another issue highly common amongst those with hypothyroidism.
White spots on the nails is often an indicator of zinc deficiency, an important nutrient for thyroid function. Always check your nails for white spots or lines and ensure that you are getting sufficient levels of zinc into your diet and also through a supplement. Slightly larger white spots/lines are an indication that you may be deficient in selenium, so again ensure that you are getting sufficient selenium through your diet and supplement if you have to. I truly believe that everyone with thyroid dysfunction should be supplementing with selenium daily.
Hypothyroidism can cause gradual hair loss – you probably won’t notice a significant amount of hair missing or bald spots. Instead, your hair may appear thinner all over. Or you may notice that you are losing more hair in the shower than normal.
If this sounds familiar to you, I completely understand how disheartened and scared hair loss can make you feel.
The good news is that in most cases, hair loss caused by hypothyroidism is typically temporary! I must add that whilst it is temporary hair growth is the last thing the body will prioritise and it can therefore take time to improve. Working on the thyroid and supporting the body with the right nutrients and support on a consistent basis is key.
The natural remedies listed below are all designed to help with hair loss specifically caused by hypothyroidism:
Address nutrient deficiencies
Even if you don’t have a thyroid problem, nutrient deficiencies can lead to hair loss. Researchers say that levels of the following factors may influence hair retention and hair loss:
- Vitamins B-7 (biotin) and B complex
A high-quality multivitamin may help, but be aware that too much supplementation can hinder hair growth. This is why it’s always important to work with a skilled practitioner before starting / stopping any supplements.
Eat a nutritious and anti-inflammatory diet
A diet rich in whole foods is essential for good health. Processed foods can actually trigger an inflammatory reaction resulting in aggravated thyroid symptoms including hair loss.
Specific herbs are used in certain disciplines of alternative medicine to treat hair loss caused by disorders such as alopecia.
The following herbs are administered orally, although I’d recommend discussing herbal therapies with your doctor or a herbalist before trying them on your own.
- Black cohosh
- Dong quai
- False unicorn
- Red clover
Try essential oils
Studies show that eucalyptus oil along with a few other plant extracts may reduce hair thinning and improve hair density. Other oils to consider are:
- Arnica montana
- Cedrus atlantica
- Lavandula angustifolia
- Oscimum sanctum
It’s always best to see your doctor before using essential oils, and to choose a high-quality brand such as Young Living or DoTerra.
If you need any support on your journey to wellness, then book in for a free breakthrough session with me.