Does Hypothyroidism Cause Acne

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

This could be the debate of the ages. Does hypothyroidism cause acne? You have to consider if the thyroid even would affect acne breakouts in the first place. There are so that says it will have a direct effect on acne and those who are of a contrary opinion that day the thyroid has nothing to do with acne. Who is right? Obviously, Obviously, we need some learned opinions here. People who are experts in thyroid function could shed some light on the matter.

Remember, too that each person is different and their bodies react differently to biological functions go into hyper mode. One person could have major acne trauma from hypothyroidism while another person would not have any acne appear at all. The thyroid could affect acne breakouts if it is not functioning properly. We will explore the question if hypothyroidism affects acne or not.

Cool That Thyroid Down

Cool That Thyroid Down

It may be the case that acne is caused by what is going on inside the body and not actually what is going on with the skin. One expert says that it is a hormonal balance that causes acne from what he has seen in his experience in treating patients with acne. The thyroid may have a play in these hormonal balances. It seems to affect about 5-10% of the population according to studies done of the relationship between hypothyroidism and acne.  Consider this that hypothyroidism will cause hormonal imbalances and each one of these imbalances could lead to acne.

The sad fact is that hypothyroidism may be more of a culprit for causing acne directly or indirectly than people thin. It seems like it is misdiagnosed a lot when the medical profession is looking for the root causes of acne. It can also be a mismanaged cause as well. The percentage as given above for the population affected by acne because of thyroid problems may seem insignificant but it is a large enough sector of the population that it needs to be addressed.

Hyper Thyroid For Hyper Acne

Hyper Thyroid For Hyper Acne

In what could be an initial study of hypothyroidism and acne and their relationship. The study involved two groups of people. 220 who had thyroid issues and 95 healthy people who had normal thyroid functions. The researchers identified the 95 people as the control group. The study suggests that there is a small percentage of cases where hypothyroidism can play a part in people having acne breakouts. About 5 percent of the group with thyroid issues had acne vulgaris and 3.6 percent had acne rosacea. The control group had about the same percentages for acne as the thyroid group had. So, the conclusion is that hypothyroidism can affect acne breakouts.

Hormonal Factors Causing Acne

Hormonal Factors Causing Acne

As was mentioned previously hypothyroidism can affect hormone issues in the human body. If this happens that the hormonal levels are influenced in any way then acne breakouts may occur. Thyroid issues can cause testosterone levels to be affected and if this happens then there will be an increase in acne breakouts. Also, thyroid issues may touch estrogen levels throwing those hormones off balance. If this happens than acne could occur.

Also, the main culprit in this hormonal-caused acne is hypothyroidism. To treat this type of acne manifestation you need to either increase thyroid hormones artificially and/or increase thyroid function naturally. If the thyroid is functioning like it’s supposed to then the acne disappears.

What to Look At This Hypothyroidism Caused Acne

What Look at This Hypothyroidism Caused Acne

First, you want to do some investigative work to see if the thyroid is causing the acne problems. Your best bet is to go to a dermatologist or physician that specializes in skin conditions. Describe to them the factors surrounding your acne. How often do you get it? Where do you get it? What does it look like? The doctor may order a hormone quest sort of speak or more accurately hormone tests. Usually, the tests will tell if hypothyroidism is behind the acne breakouts. A lot of times hypothyroidism is the cause of hormonal related acne but don’t be fooled because hypothyroidism can cause acne independently of any hormone factors as well. Things the doctor may look for to determine if the acne is caused by hypothyroidism.

  1. If you suspect or the doctor suspects the acne is caused by hypothyroidism it will usually clear up with a thyroid hormone. If it does clear up after the thyroid hormone is given then this is your cause. If this doesn’t solve the problem then you need to investigate other causes.
  2. If the acne is caused by the thyroid tan it most likely will be cystic in nature. Or in simple terms, you will have cystic acne. Cystic acne is when the oil ducts become clogged than the pimple abscess ruptures.
  3. The unpleasant part of acne caused by hypothyroidism is that it doesn’t-come and go at different times. It is there perennially on your body. The only time it will be alleviated is when the thyroid is treated and returned to its normal functioning state. Again, this can be taken care of by taking a thyroid hormone or treating the thyroid naturally to get it to operate normally again.
  4. It usually has nothing to do with the menstrual cycle. It is totally independent of this female function.
  5. These are some blatant changes in your bodily functions. You will gain weight easily and you will have a harder time losing the excess weight. The appearance of your nails and hair could change. Your hair and nails may become dry and brittle. If you noticed you are fatigued this is another symptom of hypothyroidism -caused acne.
  6. This is another obvious sign the acne will be all over the body not just relegated to the facial area.

So, if you and your doctor find any or all of these indicators then it is a very good chance your acne is caused by hypothyroidism. Keep in mind that if left untreated the hypothyroidism will make the acne only worse it will not improve the condition if left to its own devices. Don’t give up hope because it can be treated.

Detailed Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:

In this section, we will talk about symptoms of a hyperthyroidism and how to find out if you have this condition or not. Because if you have the condition and you are having constant acne breakouts then this will be the cause of the acne proliferation.

  1. You are just too tired. You sleep your normal range of hours then you have to take a nap in addition to your regular sleep.
  2. You gain weight without really trying and on top of it you try every diet in existence and you just cannot lose weight.
  3. Your moods swing from North to South to East to West. One minute you are happy and the next minute you are depressed, anxious and just feeling low for no apparent reason.
  4. You have serious and very abnormal hormonal changes that seem to come out of the blue. The sex drive just is not there. You have unexpected PMS which also means you could be having irregular periods. That time of the month is not following its normal patterns. You are trying to conceive a baby and it just is not working out. You have infertility issues in other words.
  5. You have unexplainable joint pain and muscle pain for no known cause. You develop tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome and you cannot figure out why. Because neither condition is related to a motion disorder or repetitive motion.
  6. Your hands and feet feel like they are in ice blocks all the time and your body temperature is consistently below the normal body temperature range. Other people are not experiencing the cold sensations like you are.
  7. Again, as listed above you have dry skin as dry as a desert and the skin on your hands is cracking like the Grand Canyon. It is reported that 54 percent of people with hypothyroidism report having very dry skin on their hands.
  8. Your bowels are blocked and you are chronically constipated.
  9. Your Brain is in a constant daze because you cannot think straight. You will have memory lapses and the inability to concentrate.
  10. Your neck swells like a balloon, you snore so loud you wake up the neighborhood, and you have a raspy voice.

Hypothyroidism Symptom Scores:

Below is a range of scores that indicate the chances you do have hypothyroidism. Please use the list of symptoms above to score your chances of having this thyroid condition.

  • If you have at least five symptoms or more you have a good chance of having hypothyroidism.
  • If you have between six and ten symptoms you have a very good chance of having hypothyroidism.
  • If you have more than 10 or all of the above 10 symptoms you certainly have hypothyroidism but the doctor just has not found out that you have it yet.

All of these factors are mentioned because if you have the acne as described above and you have some of or all the symptoms listed above then your acne is definitely being caused by hypothyroidism.

Tests to Be Taken for Hypothyroidism

Tests to Be Taken for Hypothyroidism

  1. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone test measures the amount of this hormone is in your blood and if your level is two then it is normal. Higher than two and you will have problems. Lower than two is not normal either.
  2. The Triiodothyronine 3 test measures thyroid function in the body. If you are not taking any type of medication it should be in the top 50 percent of the range.
  3. The Thyroxine 4 test is used to measure thyroid function in the body as well and it too should be in the upper 50 percent range.
  4. The reverse T3 test should be less than 15
  5. Sex-binding hormone globulin should be in the normal range 0f 70 to 80 if the person is not on birth control pills. Anything out of this range and you have a problem with your thyroid.
  6.  Thyroid antibodies should score as close to zero as can be.

If you have acne as described above and you suspect you have any or all of these symptoms then have the doctor take the above-mentioned tests and if the scores do not fall in the listed ranges you have hypothyroidism and this is what is causing your acne problems.

You can also increase the thyroid hormone naturally by taking certain nutrients that people, who have hypothyroidism, have deficiencies in. They are zinc, selenium, and vitamin B6  which are all critical nutrients to proper thyroid function. If you lack any of these nutrients in significant quantities than you will have thyroid problems, namely, hypothyroidism. Along with that if you have acne this is the cause of it.

Living Cases of Acne Caused by Hypothyroidism

Living Cases of Acne Caused by Hypothyroidism

The first writer said she thought she had hypothyroidism because it ran in her family. She also stated that her hands were dry and cracked.  She said her body was dry. Another sign she said is that she has acne. She thinks she has this thyroid condition. Notice one of the symptoms was acne. She is very physically fit and she is not overweight but thinks she has this thyroid condition.

This lady shared that she may have the thyroid condition too even though she is not overweight. She read somewhere that acne was one of the byproducts of hypothyroidism. She said her extremities were always cold and she implied that it was causing her acne. Her doctor told her to take her temperature for several days and average out all the temperatures. The final number would determine the constant daily temperature. If the temperature is below normal you may have the thyroid condition. This is a self-determining test.

Another individual stated that you could simply go and have a blood test taken and tested for the thyroid condition and it could tell you if you had it or not. Also, you could find out if this is the source of any acne you have.

This person said they had the condition for sure they are normally underweight but all of a sudden they gained a bunch of weight. They had dry skin and it ran in the family. Acne could have been one of the symptoms as well but it was not mentioned if they had acne or not. The implication was there because the thread was about acne and hypothyroidism.

This woman was diagnosed with hypothyroidism three years earlier at the time of her writing. She was underweight but she had acne. She said acne was prevalent in her diagnosis. It was inferred she went to the doctor to find out why she had acne and could not get rid of it. The diagnosis came back she had a thyroid problem.

This lady said she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 4 years earlier at the time of her writing. She said when she was diagnosed that she had a spike in her acne. She says she doesn’t know if the two are connected. It seems they are connected because she had acne before she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

The pattern with the above woman has she had acne before she was diagnosed with the thyroid condition and then it spiked when she was officially diagnosed. Throughout the thread on the website everyone who thought they had hypothyroidism or definitely did have it connected it back to acne breakouts or increased acne.  

The thing is that when you have hypothyroidism you will have acne all the time it will not go in cycles. You won’t have a clear cycle of no acne then have a cycle of intense acne. You have acne all the time. The living examples who posted in the thread did not express directly they had acne all the time but the implication of that seemed to be in every post.

Simply put if you have acne and some of the other symptoms (whatever the number of symptoms) you may have the thyroid condition and it most likely could be the source of ongoing acne. If you can think of no other reason why you have acne it could be the thyroid condition.

It seems like there is a definite correlation between acne and hypothyroidism. There are too many similarities in the people who actually said they had the thyroid condition and they suffered from acne.

Grand Conclusion:

The question as far as this author is concerned has been answered. There seems to be very strong evidence that hypothyroidism can cause acne both directly and indirectly. It can cause it indirectly by influencing hormonal changes within the body. It can cause it directly just simply by producing acne on the skin. The exact process for how it caused acne directly could be a deficiency of the above minerals mentioned. If the body lacks these minerals the thyroid will not function normally which could produce the acne. Anyway, there seems to be compelling evidence that hypothyroidism can cause acne. There was a study cited as well where the researchers drew a link between hypothyroidism and acne.  


Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.