Thyroid UK
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daughter has acne- any link to hypothyroid?

My 19 year old daughter is suffering with acne on her face. (2 years now) After trying milder topical gels, GP prescribed oxytetracyline oral antibiotic (500mg twice a day) plus azaelic acid topical). Eight week course and still waiting to see effectiveness. She goes back to Uni in Autumn so no real continuity of GP contact - just medical records when home and away. She is on levothyroxoine following Hashimotos thyroiditis 4 years ago.

Looking at bigger picture, I wonder if it might be hormonal cause - perhaps elevated androgens. Maybe she should have a blood test before she goes away and gets referred to a dermatologist before she goes away again? Maybe Polycystic ovaries too although no other symptoms.

Any advice?

8 Replies

How are her B12 levels - ? One of our grandsons was prescribed something ghastly for his acne which we persuaded the family was not a good idea. The skin is the biggest organ we have and often reflects what is going on in the gut - so perhaps check things there. Our grandson found his B12 was LOW and he is also taking Zinc along with aloe vera. Apparently there has been a great improvement of late. He is 16.... also a coeliac.

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I don't know. Her diet could be better. She goes to uni eating quick food - lots of pasta -and late nights, clubbing etc. Acne could be basic hormone cause. I would like her to return to GP for a blood test. Girls with acne and poss male hormone imbalance but she has no other visible signs of that.

I am tentative about too many supplements as don't want to affect Levothyroxine absorption, but what you say re gut and skin link makes a lot of sense.


I developed awful acne when on Levothyroxine.It just kept worsening,on my face,neck,arms chest and back.I was referred to a Dermatologist who wanted me to take some very strong antibiotics for it,which I refused. No topical creams would touch it.It is only now beginning to clear after I convinced the Dermatologist,GP etc that it was related to the binders and fillers in Levothyroxine,and switched to NDT.I now take Nature Throid NDT,which has hardly any unpleasant binders,fillers etc. I am supplementing with zinc,as mine was low,plus selenium,iron and multivitamins.I am in my 60's,and definitely long past the acne age.Good luck!

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I suffered, and I use the word advisedly, with acne from the age of 19 to 45. (When I says acne, I mean boils on my face which swelled so much that my face would be distorted for weeks.) I was given antibiotics and retin a. Only the retin a touched the acne but it always came back. I also had a huge cyst on an ovary which was removed when in my 30s. No-one checked my thyroid.

Looking back, I realise that I started to go downhill from the age of 19 after getting glandular fever aged 17. I had periods of extreme exhaustion and a couple of times lost my colour vision. What, I think, stopped any further exploration of hormones was that I was very thin and between bouts of tiredness worked really hard on our farm. It took a private doctor to diagnose my hypothyroidism as even when I had an inkling that I was hypo. the GPs did not test anything other then my tsh, which was 'normal'. Had I been as aware then as I am now I could have saved myself decades of suffering.

I am pleased that you are 'on the case' and I hope that you can get to the root of the problem and save your daughter from the anguish I suffered over decades. My best wishes.


Thank you. It is hard to be on the case with a clever daughter who sometimes wants me to help sort things and then wants to keep me at arms length and not talk about it. Of course, GP won't speak to me and there is patient confidentiality. I have a good awareness of health issues and get frustrated that a 10 minute GP appt doesn't look at holistic - just ' try this for skin or that'. It doesn't explore hypothyroid, acne, diet, stress- and poss underlying hormone picture. My daughter is slim and doesn't have other obvious PCOS symptoms but a number of friends have daughters where underlying PCOS has been found later when trying for children. She also gets stressed with intense uni course when she is away and is reluctant to see college GP. So we try to deal with things as temp resident in her hols.

Her dose of levo was increased in firsts term because absorption reduced due to stress but then returned to original level when she settled in after first year.

She gets tired but that can be student lifestyle too and I think her levels are normal but she gets low about acne.

Maybe I should just get on with getting her to have a blood test for androgens and be referred to a dermatologist. Reluctant re roaccutane but maybe a contraceptive pill for skin would work?


Fatigue can be low iron - especially as you say her diet is not always good. Red blood cells need iron for the oxygen to cling onto - that is how oxygen is transported around the body. Low iron = low oxygen = fatigue. My other grandson tested with below range Iron and Folate - very low Ferritin and B12 and fair VitD.. I truly believe all people with a thyroid problem have deficiencies - also reported here many times :-)

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I have an acne problem too, although not on my face, it's more embarrassingly on my right breast :(

Doctors have no clue what it is and nothing they have given me has worked.

Am currently trying out a home made treatment, but is too early to say if it is working or not as have only been trying it for two days.

Feels and looks like it is getting better, but then I always think that when I start something new, only time will tell if this will actually do the trick...


Would iron supplements inhibit thyroxine intake or do you just take a while after levo each morning?


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