Hypothyroidism confuses your immune system so that it attacks your own thyroid. As a result, your muscles and joints feel weak, you constantly feel cold, you gain weight without changing your diet, and you always feel tired. Your skin hair, and nails will reflect these symptoms, appearing duller and dryer.
As such, thyroid patients can lose self-confidence. It’s discouraging enough to deal with health problems; how much more if your looks seem to work against you, too? While it’s critical to focus on healing your body if you have hypothyroidism, caring for your mental health is also essential. And your mental health thrives when you love that skin that you’re in, making you more positive about your recovery journey.
That said, if you’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and other thyroid problems, here are the effects you may notice on your physical appearance, and how to reverse them:
1. Thinning Hair
Your thyroid hormones also regulate your hair follicles. In particular, hair follicles have stem cells with a short lifespan and rapid turnover, making them more reactive to low thyroid hormone levels than other tissues. Hence, your hair follicles will stop regenerating when your thyroid levels drop. This causes your tresses to fall out, or become coarse. You may also notice the same effect on your eyebrows.
2. Itchy and Dry Skin
Low thyroid hormone levels disrupt the renewal of your skin cells. This leaves your skin dry, flaky, itchy, and taking longer to shed.
You may also notice rashes in the creases of your skin, painless lumps, or scaly and discolored skin patches. The affected skin may feel hard and waxy. Reddish spots and come and go may also appear.
3. Brittle Nails
Your nails may become thick, dry, and brittle with visible ridges. If not, they become soft, shiny, and prone to crumbling. They’ll also grow slower or quicker, and in some cases, lift up, or appear curved with your fingertips swelling.
4. Dry, Itchy Scalp With Dandruff
Because low thyroid hormone levels dry out your skin, it’ll dry out your scalp, too. This will cause itchiness and dandruff.
5. Changes in Your Features
If your nose seems to widen, your eyes protrude, and your palms and soles grow more lines, those are caused by your thyroid disease, too. Even your lips and tongue may feel swollen.
Thyroid-friendly Wellness Routine
Thankfully, you can reverse all those undesirable effects with a thyroid-friendly wellness regimen. And you don’t need to use specialized or expensive products. Your thyroid treatment will also help reverse the effects, but a good skin, hair, and nail care routine will enhance the aftermath of your treatment, and make you glow even while you’re still battling the disease.
- Skincare Routine
Dermatologists stress that you should keep your skin hydrated. To do that, use a moisturizer that comes in a jar, not the one with a pump. According to Matilda Nicholas, MD, Ph.D. of Duke Health, “scoopable” moisturizers are often more effective than those that come out of a pump. That’s because alcohol and other additives are usually mixed in pumped moisturizers so that they’ll come out of the tube. Still, check the ingredients in a scoopable moisturizer. You shouldn’t see alcohol in it. Instead, the product should contain ammonium lactate or urea.
This may surprise you, but Dr. Nicholas advises against washing your whole body with soap. She recommends using mild soap only on your groin and underarms. For the rest of your body, she suggests going for a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser, as an alternative for soap or body wash.
Natural oils also work great in hydrating your skin and scalp. Consider applying coconut oil all over your body after taking a bath. Its natural fats will seal your skin’s moisture.
- Hair Care Routine
Your hair health depends on what you eat. Boost your iron by taking supplements. It’ll replenish your ferritin, your iron stores that your low thyroid hormone levels decreased.
Boost your essential nutrients as well by taking multivitamins. It will also replenish your iron stores and encourage hair growth. Just keep the vitamins in moderation, because excessive supplementation can also thin out your locks.
With regard to your diet, include anti-inflammatory foods in your meals, such as ginger and turmeric. Avoid highly processed food, and minimize your caffeine intake.
- Nail Care Routine
Moisturize your hand and feet with the same moisturizer or natural oils you use on your skin. Take a break from nail polish and mani-pedis. Keep your nails trimmed as you undergo treatment to prevent them from curving and going brittle.
It’s totally possible to feel beautiful with hypothyroidism. But regaining your glow will take time, so practice patience. Follow your doctor’s advice, too. Staying committed to your goal to get cured will help you see your amazing progress clearer.