023: How Low Thyroid Plays A Role In Skin Rashes w/ Izabella Wentz

For people with thyroid disorders, the skin is often overlooked. However, many symptoms of thyroid disease can manifest on the skin.


Or, listen on your favorite app: iTunes (Apple Podcasts) | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn | Subscribe on Android

I am so grateful to have today's guest, Dr. Izabella Wentz, on the show. Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP is an internationally acclaimed thyroid specialist and licensed pharmacist who has dedicated her career to addressing the root causes of autoimmune thyroid disease after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in 2009.

Dr. Wentz is the author of the New York Times best-selling patient guide Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause and the recently released protocol-based book Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back.

As a patient advocate, researcher, clinician and educator, Dr. Wentz is committed to raising awareness on how to overcome autoimmune thyroid disease through The Thyroid Secret Documentary Series, the Hashimoto’s Institute Practitioner Training, and her international consulting and speaking services offered to both patients and healthcare professionals.

In this episode, we delve into how thyroid health can impact the skin

Do you have a thyroid condition that has affected your skin? Tell us about it in the comments!

In this episode

  • Potential side effects of topical steroid cream use
  • Why the thyroid plays a role in skin health
  • A parasite that can cause Hashimoto's, chronic hives, and IBS (and how the probiotic Saccharomyces Boulardii can help)
  • What should women do as far as testing if they suspect they have issues with their thyroid?
  • How Dr. Wentz's new book Hashimoto's Food Pharmacology support you in the kitchen



“One of the big things we see with thyroid disease in skin issues is slower skin turnover. So our skin is just not having that beautiful baby glow anymore because it's not renewing itself as frequently as it should be.” [3:00]

“97% of people with vitiligo actually have some sort of thyroid abnormality.” [4:30]

“I like to think of thyroid disease as a spectrum where we might have fluctuating symptoms of too much thyroid hormone and not enough thyroid hormone.” [9:02]



How Steroid Creams Make Your Skin Rashes Worse

Thyroid Skin Rashes: The Hidden Connection No One Talks About

Find Izabella online here

Follow Izabella on Facebook

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause

Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back

Izabella's new cookbook, Hashimoto's Food Pharmacology


“One of the big things we see with thyroid disease in skin issues is slower skin turnover. So our skin is just not having that beautiful baby glow anymore because it's not renewing itself as frequently as it should be.”

023: How Low Thyroid Plays A Role In Skin Rashes w/ Dr. Izabella Wentz FULL TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer:              Hi everyone and welcome back to The Healthy Skin Show . Today I actually have this guest with me and I've known her for quite some time, a number of years actually, and she was on my other podcast and I'm very appreciative that she was willing to join us here because today we are going to talk about the connection between thyroid health and what's going on with your skin and it's so important, but it's something that dermatologists don't oftentimes look at consider do any sort of work around and it's something that you do need to look at as far as a root cause approach if you, if you are going to take that. And I think that's an important way to go, especially if you actually want to resolve symptoms, not just simply manage them. My guest today is dr Izabella Wentz. She's an internationally acclaimed thyroid specialist and licensed pharmacist who has dedicated her career to addressing the root causes of autoimmune thyroid disease.

Jennifer:              After being diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis in 2009. Dr Wentz is the author of the New York times bestselling patient guide, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, lifestyle interventions for finding and treating the root cause and the recently released protocol based book, Hashimoto's Protocol, a 90 day plan for reversing thyroid symptoms and getting your life back. And by the way guys, I love that book actually. I love both books but that one especially and I do recommend it to clients. As a patient advocate, researcher, clinician and educator, Dr Wentz is committed to raising awareness on how to overcome autoimmune thyroid disease through the thyroid secret documentary series, the Hashimoto's Institute practitioner training and her international consulting and speaking services offered to both patients and healthcare professionals and you can find her and all of her work, which is fantastic over at thyroidpharmacist.com. Thanks so much for joining us Izabella I appreciate it.

Dr Wentz:            Thank you so much for having me, Jennifer. I love your work and it's an honor to be here with you.

Jennifer:              Yeah. And you know, it's funny, the skin issue tends to be very overlooked as far as its connection to thyroid issues. And one of the first questions I ask my clients is, do you have a thyroid problem? Have you had your thyroid checked? And they typically say no. So can you tell us a little bit for anybody who's listening, like why would your thyroid play a role in how your skin, the health of your skin?

Dr Wentz:            So our thyroid gland is, is our master metabolism gland. And it, what it does is it stimulates our heat production and how we break down energy and what's happening, whether the thyroid is underactive or overactive, it's going to have an impact on just about every single cell in the body and how quickly these cells turnover. One of the big that we see with thyroid disease and skin issues is slower skin turnover. So our skin is just not, you know, not having that beautiful baby glow anymore because it's just not renewing itself as frequently as it should be. And so we're going to have dull skin, dry skin, more wrinkles, and a lot of my clients and readers will say that they have premature aging as a symptom of their thyroid condition. Now those are the only symptoms related to thyroid disease that can manifest on the skin.

Dr Wentz:            Some other things that I've seen are going to be an orange tint to the skin. This could be because thyroid hormone helps us break down vitamin A and if we don't break that down properly, then we can get that nice like carrot, like tint onto our skin. People will say they have gray skin or a pale skin. This is going to be a lot of times due to us not, not utilizing our nutrients properly because of a thyroid disease and some of its consequences. So we might have some type of anemia. We might have a less elasticity in the skin and this is going to be related to, again, some of the nutrient malabsorption issues that are related to thyroid disease. Then we're going to have co-occurring issues like rosacea, vitiligo, eczema. These are going to be common in people with thyroid disease more common than in the general population.

Dr Wentz:            In fact when I was preparing for our talk today, I looked up a statistic that was in the back of my head. 97% of people with vitiligo actually have some sort of thyroid abnormality, 97%. And then we have, if that wasn't enough, we also have cystic acne. That can be a part of it. Any kind of acne can be can be a part of thyroid disease. A lot of times my clients will say, okay, this is not fair. I've got thyroid disease, I've got this dry old skin and I also have acne like I did when I was a teenager. What's going on? And then another common issue that I see is going to be chronic hives. So chronic urticaria. This is very much a common issue with thyroid disease and was one of my first symptoms that I had and, and something that I've spent a lot of time investigating and getting to the underlying causes and triggers of that.

Jennifer:              Just curious for you as far as the, the hives piece. Cause it's a really interesting, it's a really interesting and frustrating topic for a lot of people and they end up taking a lot of Benadryl and other anti histamines trying desperately to get them to stop. Was is there some reason that you've found that is connected to the hives that might drive it aside from just food? Cause I know a lot of people, they've taken out strawberries and all sorts of stuff and still they have no idea why the hives are coming on.

Dr Wentz:            Absolutely. So research shows that taking thyroid hormone medications actually can suppress the chronic hives. And so people with subclinical thyroid issues and even people with normal thyroid hormone levels when they test positive for thyroid antibodies this can cause that that hive like skin reaction potentially due to the breakdown of thyroid cells. And so low dose of thyroid hormone can help with that. Going deeper and kind of going into the one layer deeper. I always like to look at the root cause. There's actually a parasite, not to scare anybody, but it's it's a protozoan parasite known as blastocystis hominis. Tiny, tiny, tiny, you can't see with the naked eye. And it can be the underlying root cause for Hashimoto's, for chronic hives as well as irritable bowel syndrome. So if you have those three symptoms treating that parasite to, if your test positive for it can help you get rid of the hives right away, the IBS. And in some cases, if, if the thyroid disease is not advanced enough, we can help you get rid of the thyroid condition. And one of the really great things that we, you and I both are fans of is the probiotic saccharomyces boulardii just taking that for 30 days. Some studies have shown can eradicate this potential,uparasitic pathogen.

Jennifer:              That's great. That's actually good to know for people that are listening and hopefully it doesn't scare them too much as you said. But I think, you know, in talking about this, I, I'm, I'm thinking about the listener and where their head's going to be right now and what their education is. And they're probably thinking, wait, thyroid dysfunction, what does that exactly entail? Because your like Hashimoto's for example, is a low thyroid state in which there are auto antibodies presented in the body. We can test for that. And then there's also more like Graves' disease where it's overactive thyroid. Does it matter what type of thyroid dysfunction and, you know, that may result in symptoms?

Dr Wentz:            So typically we have the two spectrums of thyroid disease and some experts will argue that they're the same condition, right? And then it's just different parts of the thyroid anatomy that are effected. So in one case you might have too much thyroid hormone production and another case you might have not enough. And this is kind of the end result of, of what's going on. And you know, really we used to think that people with hypothyroidism had this set of symptoms and people within overactive thyroid had this set of symptoms when reality, there's a lot of overlap back and forth. And so we'll see. For example, a person with thyroid disease was underactive thyroid was thought to have more of like a depressive and slowed kind of a mental state where they were sluggish and depressed and cold. And then you had a person with an overactive thyroid that was hyperactive and they were, had difficulty concentrating or anxious. Where what we see now is a lot of times these things overlap. So you be anxious and depressed. You might be cold intolerant and you might be heat intolerant. So really I like to think of thyroid disease as a spectrum where we might have fluctuating symptoms of too much thyroid hormone and not enough thyroid hormone.

Jennifer:              And so on that point, cause I think this is important. There are different thyroid markers that you can test for. And so you're talking about thyroid hormone, but could you break that down a little bit for us? Because I know that there's inactive forms and active forms and there's other pieces to that feedback loop. But what should a listener who's now going, wait, I got to get my thyroid checked. What should I even be asking for? What would you tell them?

Dr Wentz:            So if you just go to your doctor and say, I want my thyroid check, I'll just run one test called the TSH test. This is fabulous test for very advanced cases of thyroid disease for the first 10, 15 years that you might have it. That test might be perfectly normal. And so you might have undiscovered thyroid disease. What you want to ask for are going to be thyroid antibodies. These are going to be TSH receptor antibodies, thyroid peroxidase antibodies and thyroid globulin antibodies are the three most common ones I request to be tested. And then also looking at how and just back up a sec, those will tell us if the immune system has started to recognize as our thyroid gland as a foreign invader and started attacking the thyroid gland, which, which is the cause of 97 plus 90% plus causes of thyroid disease in the United States. And then the other things to look for are going to be thyroid hormone. So the levels of actual hormones that we have in the body that are available to interact with our receptors, these are going to be free T3 and free T4. And these tests for two of the main physiologically active thyroid hormones we have in our bodies.

Jennifer:              All right, so here's the question then leads me to this. They're going to go, but my doctor just ran like total T4. Isn't that enough?

Dr Wentz:            I think it's a great start, but if we if we want to uncover thyroid conditions there, there could be a lot of different abnormalities. So there could be just an abnormality in the total T4. But chances are, you know, if you just do that, you're not going to catch the other types of issues that you might have, such as elevated antibodies, low T3 or low free levels of thyroid hormone. And so we really want to look at that full comprehensive thyroid panel.

Jennifer:              That's great. And, and I know too, you've got some great resources on your website that I'll, I'll definitely link to because I think it'd be great for people to be able to see what those tests are. That way they know exactly what to ask for. And I'll put that in the show notes for the listeners because if you're new to this and that's, this is a surprise, this comes as a surprise to you for whatever type of skin issue you have that's been chronic. Getting your thyroid checked is a piece to this puzzle. And so a lot of people love to kind of get into the kitchen and try different things. And I know with different skin issues there, there can be different food triggers, not all the time for people, but for some people there can be. And food can also impact your thyroid.

Jennifer:              And one of the cool things, you've got this like great cookbook coming out that I am so excited about and it's, honestly beautiful by the way. It is a beautiful book which I've had the pleasure of looking over, you know, what are some of the things that you could share with us about how food could a support your thyroid? So think about it guys, is this way you're supporting your skin through another, like you can't go directly to the skin all the time. Sometimes you have to go through another facet or piece of the body or a piece of the puzzle in order to support the skin. So in this case, if your thyroid is off, how are we going to support the thyroid and can we help do that with, I know you mentioned medication, but can we do that with food?

Dr Wentz:            Absolutely. And with, with food, using food as medicine or food pharmacology as I like to call it, we think about which foods are not working for us. So we're thinking about which foods we need to eliminate and gluten, dairy and soy are some of the, some of the ones that are most commonly going to be reactive for, for most people in the Western world. Because those are the foods that we're commonly eating. Right? And then the other thing we think about is what type of things can we add? And I really like adding really nutrient dense foods into our repertoire. It's sometimes it's a lot easier to say like, these are the things to add into your day rather than saying like, oh, I can't have this, I can't have that. So two foods that I really love for people with with thyroid conditions as well as skin conditions are going to be green smoothies as well as bone broth.

Dr Wentz:            So with green smoothies, people will say you know, 82% of my readers, I did this extensive survey a few years back, set these smoothies, gave them more energy. They 60% said they had better mood, 40% notice benefits and weight. People are also recognize that their skin becomes more elastic. And more bright and they just look more fresh and renewed when you incorporate green smoothies into the mix. So one of the reason why this works is they give us this nutritious food without all the digestive stress. So people with thyroid conditions and skin conditions may have trouble breaking down foods. And that's this food kind of just sits there and we're using up all this energy and resources to try to digest it without getting all of its yummy benefits. When taken smoothies, we get all these nutrients pre digested and so they're able to, to nourish our bodies, get that protein into our bodies that helps to restore our skin level or our skin as well as our thyroid and our immune system.

Dr Wentz:            And the other thing is the bone broth, so this has healing collagen and nutrients that support our gut lining and skin. We see 70% of people with thyroid disease will say they started bone broth it was super helpful for them. 62% sign increase in energy, 57% improvement in mood. And then about a third of people noticed right away that they had an improvement in skin. So those wrinkles become less prominent. The skin looks younger, it's more elastic. This is an excellent beverage that can be sipped on throughout the day and I've got like a super easy, like three minute recipe. You set it up and you walk away.

Jennifer:              Cool.

Dr Wentz:            In my cookbook.

Jennifer:              That's great. And this is going to be available for sale soon. I imagine you could probably go preorder it on Amazon and everybody, I'm going to go put a link to it. It's the Hashimoto's Food Pharmacology cookbook. It's beautiful. Like I said, it is a beautiful resource and I highly recommend adding it to your library because it's just loaded with incredibly nutrient dense food. And if you haven't started making that shift yet away from more conventional processed foods and you're thinking there's not a connection to your health or is even for your skin. And collagen is an excellent nutrient by the way, for the skin. And so I have one other thing before we, I know you've got a great gift for everybody. Have one more question and I think this is an important question, which is why I want to ask it. So people are thinking, okay, I could support my thyroid with and my skin via my skin or I could support my skin via the thyroid with some, some healthy food and cleaning up my diet. But if there is true thyroid dysfunction or real serious, significant irregularities in thyroid levels, can you do it just through food or do you actually need some thyroid, may you need some thyroid support, medication support to actually make some improvements?

Dr Wentz:            I would say both can be true depending on the person. So for some people I see they get off of gluten within three months. Their thyroid function completely normalizes without any thyroid hormone or I've had people with H pylori infection that can cause a thyroid disease. They get rid of that infection and their thyroid function normalizes. And these are success stories that we like to utilize. And, you know, as clinicians we can showcase and say this is, this was just one little trigger that we took away. But for most people it's a lot more complicated. And if they have long standing damage to the thyroid gland, you know, if so much easier to prevent this damage then it is to regenerate a gland. I'm not saying it's not possible, it's just saying it's not easy. So for a lot of people they may benefit from some hormones and I'm a pharmacist. My training is in using medications appropriately and when you don't make enough thyroid hormone, using thyroid hormone medications can be especially helpful. I do talk about making sure that you are on the right medication for you. This may not be Synthroid for everybody. Maybe Synthroid for you, maybe Synthroid for your aunt, but it might not be Synthroid for your cousin. There's various types of thyroid hormone medications. Some of them are naturally derived medications and a lot of people do better on those than, than some of the synthetic ones.

Jennifer:              Well thank you for that. Cause I do like, I want to have an honest conversation about what is out there. And I don't necessarily think that all medication is bad, but this is right. And this is one instance where sometimes the medication can be very helpful and people think, I'm just not going to do that. I don't want to be on any medication. But with your thyroid, I feel like if you need that to support good health, there's not really anything to replace it.

Dr Wentz:            I always say, don't martyr yourself for a cause. Right? So like, let's use every tool that we have out there to get ourselves better. I once consulted with somebody that said, I'm not willing to change my diet. I don't want to take medications. And you know, and I don't want to take any supplements and I don't want to do any testing. Can you help me? And I was like

Jennifer:              No, not really.

Dr Wentz:            I'm at a loss here though. You know, like maybe try some deep breathing, but you know, like you really have to take action and, and you really should do things that are out there that can help you if it's helpful to you.

Jennifer:              I agree. And, as a thank you for everybody tuning in, Izabella created this beautiful resource for you guys to kind of dip your toes into her latest book and you can check this out at thyroidpharmacist.com/yummy, everybody there are yummy recipes and you can go over there. I'll put the link to the in the show notes so it's super easy for you to find. But you're going to get the first chapter of the Hashimoto's food pharmacology as well as the sneak peek recipe booklet that will include some great recipes that you can try right now. But thank you so much Izabella I really appreciate your time and your passion for helping people fi just figure this out because the thyroid piece is so significant. It affects so many women, one in eight women, at least. That was the stat that I was aware of for a number of years. It may be even more than that. We don't know. And, and I, I just, I'm so appreciative of all the work that you've done and how you have, you have shown a light on this issue and empowered women and men to take back their health and become their own best advocates. So thank you so much for joining us.

Dr Wentz:            Thank you so much for having me. And it's really my pleasure and my life's work to help people take charge of their own health. So hopefully this was helpful.

Jennifer:              Well, absolutely. And remember everybody go to thyroidpharmacist.com great website. And like I said, I'll put all the links in the show notes for you.