Thyroid Nation

There is a strong connection to the early onset of cystic acne and thyroid issues. 


A new study has found adult women with acne are more likely to have evidence of autoimmune thyroid disease than women without acne.

Autoimmune disease is the most common reason for an underactive thyroid in Australia and the United States. An underactive thyroid does not produce enough hormones to adequately regulate the body’s metabolism.

Blood tests in 107 women with post-adolescent acne revealed that while the women did not have active thyroid disease, 25 percent of the women had antibodies against a thyroid gland protein. The antibodies are suggestive of future thyroid disease. Only eight percent of 60 healthy women without acne, had the antibodies.

Women with the antibodies also had high levels of C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation. All other tests of thyroid gland activity and ultrasound scans of the thyroid gland were the same in both groups of women.

Post adolescent acne is increasingly common, especially in women and often associated with their menstrual cycle or conditions such as polycystic ovarian disorder.

Mary Shomon adds,

Of course, having acne as an adult doesn’t automatically mean you have a thyroid problem. There are many reasons acne appears (or hangs on) after the teen years, including hormones and heredity.

Still, if you are an adult with acne, it may pay to have your thyroid checked especially if you have symptoms of thyroid disease. Knowing the risk factors for thyroid disease couldn’t hurt either.

The study concluded that thyroid autoimmunity might be more frequent in adult acne patients and should be kept in mind.

A common mechanism for acne and autoimmune thyroid disease might involve an overproduction of inflammatory cytokines, they said.  Symptoms of an underactive thyroid include dry skin, fatigue, weight gain, and menstrual problems. Click here for a complete list of symptoms.

**This article originally featured on**

About the Authors

The All About Acne team, who are the authors of this site, are a group of health and medical experts from across Australia who have an interest in the management of acne. They include several dermatologists, a psychiatrist, a pharmacist, a gynecologist/obstetrician, a GP, and a cosmetic medical practitioner.


Association of thyroid autoimmunity with acne in adult women; published online 27 /4/11 in Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

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