Patients with an underactive thyroid often find “carotenemia” on the “hands” and “soles”.

There are several dermatological manifestations associated with hypothyroidism, but many of them are easily confused with other diseases. Sometimes an underactive thyroid prevents the conversion of nutrients during digestion. The result can be yellowing of the palms, soles, and nasolabial folds on the face.

The journal Dermato-Endocrinology states that in hypothyroidism, the skin “prone to paleness” due to the water content of the skin.

He adds, “In addition, increased skin carotene content can appear as a noticeable yellow tint on the palms, soles, and nasolabial folds.”

Carotene is the molecule that gives the skin its yellow color, so when carotene levels are elevated, the yellow color in the skin can increase.

This condition is medically known as carotenemia, which is most commonly caused by prolonged and excessive consumption of carotene-rich foods such as carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes.

READ MORE: Xerosis may be the ‘most common’ sign of hypothyroidism on the skin

The MSD guidelines warn that the dermatological manifestations of hypothyroidism are often “inconspicuous and insidious.”

The health authority adds: “The most common symptoms are urinary retention and swelling, especially periorbital, fatigue, cold intolerance and mental fog.”

Primary hypothyroidism is caused by a decrease in the secretion of the hormones T4 and T3 by the thyroid gland.

When both of these hormones are depleted, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels increase.


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As a result, many body functions begin to malfunction, especially metabolism and body temperature.

“People with hypothyroidism and diabetes are also known to be prone to developing hypercarotenemia with normal consumption of carotenoid-rich foods,” Science Direct says.

A medical journal cites a 46-year-old hypothyroid woman who went to the doctor for two years with a chief complaint of yellowing of the skin on her palms.

READ MORE: ‘Noticeable changes’ in voice may signal low thyroid

During a medical examination, doctors confirmed yellow pigmentation on the patient’s palms.

The patient thought she had severe jaundice and her relatives suggested that she could handle fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins and tomatoes.

“Once noticing that her jaundice was getting worse, she began to eat more and more carrots and pumpkins,” the magazine explains.

This overload of carotene in the body likely exacerbated the yellowing of the skin.

Since vitamins and nutrients are metabolized more slowly in hypothyroidism, they are more likely to accumulate in the body.

“A generally accepted cause of carotenemia in hypothyroidism is decreased conversion of carotene to vitamin A, and associated hyperlipidemia and hypercholesterolemia,” explains Medscape.

“The thyroid hormone is an antagonist of vitamin A and controls the rate of its intake.”

Other common signs of an underactive thyroid include weight gain, difficulty concentrating, and increased sensitivity to cold temperatures.

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