Why does Hypothyroidism Cause Dry Skin?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Sep 05, 2011

The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck just below the voice box (larynx). This glad of the body releases hormones that help control the metabolism of the body. Damage to the gland cells, resulting in its inflammation, is one of the main causes of hypothyroidism.

In case of hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone. The skin on the shins gets thick due to raised plaques or nodules, caused by deposits of altered material in the skin. The epidermis of the skin thickens, resulting in an itchy, dry skin condition.

  • One of the main reasons why hypothyroidism causes dry skin is the unbalanced thyroid growth in the body. This itch may be painful, itchy and irritating.
  • The state of hypothyroidism is often referred to as an under-active thyroid. Since it slows down the pace of the body’s metabolic function, the skin becomes cold, pale and dry.
  • Apart from dry, cool skin, a physical examination by a doctor may reveal brittle nails, thin and brittle hair, swelling in the legs and arms and coarseness in the facial features. An in-depth diagnosis, consisting of an x-ray, may also show an enlarged heart.

In order to avoid severe repercussions, it is very important to get proper treatment done for hypothyroidism. This will help replace the lack of thyroid hormone in the body. Most doctors prescribe Levothyroxin. Apart from a regular monthly check-up, life long therapy is essential for treating hypothyroidism.

Another way to reduce the effect of hypothyroidism on the skin is to use moisturisers and soap substitutes for bathing. If the skin has been affected by dry, itchy patches, moisturisers containing hydrocortisone might give some relief.

One must never neglect such signs. If symptoms go unnoticed, it can lead to a severe condition — keratoderma. This state occurs when the skin becomes so dry that there is no sweating and it may also result in the thickening of the palms and soles.


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