Biotin and Hypothyroidism

My doctor and I discovered an issue with biotin supplements and I felt like I needed to share my experience. He now asks all his patients who are on levo/synthroid if they take this vitamin.

If you have good TSH numbers but still feel terrible and are taking biotin please keep reading.

I have been meaning to post this for about a year. While this is old new for me I thought it might be helpful for someone else.

In my case I am on levothroxine .75 mcg and cytomel 5 mcg. At the time of the following lab work I was taking the following vitamins, too:

  • Vitamin C
  • Biotin
  • Selenium
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin
  • B-12

My friend suggested I was taking too many vitamins and to have a sit down with my doctor, so I did. I emailed him my list of vitamins before hand and h printed out all the medical info on the above vitamins for our appointment.

This is when we both discovered that BIOTIN can give false low TSH numbers. Yes. You read that correctly.

Like many hypothyroid patients I was taking the biotin to “help” with my thinning hair and eyebrows.

He had me stop taking biotin for a month and retest.

I went from TSH 1.4 to TSH 8.1!

We couldn’t believe it. He had me double the cytomel (now two 5 mcg pills) and retest in a few weeks.

Here’s what I was taking. Max strength 10,000 mcg per pill (I was taking 1 a day for about 6 months). My doctor ok’d this over the phone but he didn’t ask what strength and I didn’t know that was important.

Please, please if your numbers look “normal” but you still feel bad and you take Biotin please consider talking to your doctor, stopping Biotin, then retesting after 1 month.

YMMV, but it might make a big difference for you. It has for me.

Sources: I can not find the article that my doctor printed off his his own database, but try googling these phrases:

  1. biotin interference on tsh and free thyroid hormone measurement.
  2. Biotin TSH
  3. which revealed that biotin may interfere with the most commonly used thyrotropin and thyroid hormone assays. “

The above article tests the impact on children so the dosages mentioned are for a child. Still, by looking at the numbers we can still see how it could impact an adult.

Biotin dosage on the test subjects: “2 to 15 mg per kilogram of body weight per day) [more] than the dietary reference intake in children (5 to 25 μg per kilogram per day)” because of inherited metabolic diseases they had.

Now that I am no longer taking biotin:

  • I can now wake up at/around 8 when before I could barely crawl out of bed at 10.
  • I am not feeling motivated to run/jog again yet, but I am able to take a walk or use my rowing machine 1- 3 times a week.
  • I have experienced no weight loss, but I do feel better than I did when I was taking the biotin.

 

Overall, My TSH went from 1.4, to 8.1 after Biotin was removed, then back down to 0.71 on after Cytomel was upped to 10 mg a day.

It’s worth asking your doctor about it if you take biotin.

Remember- the only person who truly knows your body is you, and you’re also your best advocate. So, arm yourself with information, take good notes about your symptoms and stay optimistic!

 

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Makeup for Thyroid Patients/Super Dry Skin-Product Test (Continued- with Holy Grail find)

Got dry skin? REALLY dry skin? Me too….

I’ve been diligently pursuing my “holy grail” products since June 2016 and it has been a frustrating ride, to say the least.

I have some updates, though, and wanted to share to keep other dry-skinned brothers and sister from wasting money like I did.

All of these are YMMV, of course.

If you want to see my first round of product testing here’s the link.

A quick rundown of my situation:

  • Super mega crazy dry skin
  • Cool pale/classic ivory
  • Slight redness mainly on cheeks, chin, and nostrils (possible mild rosacea? My derm didn’t agree, though)

Now, to the data!

To pick up where I left off, there were some products I wanted to try.

Wishlist: 

  • Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse
  • Maybelline Dream Satin Liquid
  • L’Oreal True Match Lumi 
  • MAC Face & Body

Here’s my verdict on these:

Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse

  • I found this to be a pretty good drugstore foundation for my situation.
  • However, it was still a bit too dry.
  • I found this to be medium coverage
  • The color match was good, and the texture was good, too.
  • I kept this, but am actively trying to sell or trade it because I found something better.

Maybelline Dream Satin Liquid

  • I couldn’t get this in my location, and I gave up in terms of testing this brand

L’Oreal True Match Lumi

  • This was a good foundation if your goal is sheer coverage, but I was looking for medium to full coverage
  • I was not a fan of the color N1-2. I found it to be too dark and there’s not a ‘cool’ in this particular product.

MAC Face & Body

  • I was told by a local makeup artist that this would be too sheer for my goals, so I didn’t bother trying it.

My new favorite store: Sephora

I expanded my wish list after I learned about Sephora.com’s amazing return policy.

They will fully refund any unused or gently used products with or WITHOUT the original manufacturer box and return shipping is FREE from USPS. 

Considering my location this was my best, most economical option.

Here’s my tests from Sephora. I must have been too focused on taking notes on these that I forgot to take my own photos- sorry about that!

All tests included my full skincare routine, a gentle exfoliate with a konjac sponge and primer. 

1. Makeup Forever Ultra High Definition Stick Foundation

Initially I thought this was one of my Holy Grail products, but after a few wearings I accepted it just wasn’t meant to be.

MUFE Ultra HD Invisible Cover (Sephora.com)

*115=R230 Ivory

*Medium to full coverage

*Tested with Maybelline Babyskin primer and Laura Mercier Foundation Primer-Hydrating

*I tested with and without color correcting my red areas. I found that it did cover the redness pretty well, but not fully

* Pretty matte by the end of 8 hours

*Didn’t seem to cling to dryness, or my peach fuzz

*I didn’t like the feeling of how thick and heavy it was, even though it can be sheered out with a blender

*$43

Verdict: Return

2. NARS Sheer Glow

I hated this foundation. I really, really wanted to love it, but I just couldn’t.

NARS Sheer Glow (Sephora.com)

*Mont Blanc  light with pink undertones

*Sheer coverage

*Tested with Maybelline Babyskin primer and Laura Mercier Foundation Primer-Hydrating

*It really attached itself to dryness and peach fuzz

* The color was a bad match for me

*$45

Verdict: Return

3. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

This was another product that I really wanted to love, but couldn’t stand.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (Sephora.com)

*3.75 Fair with Rosy Undertone

*Really sheer coverage

*Tested with Maybelline Babyskin primer and Laura Mercier Foundation Primer-Hydrating

* Took 2 layers just to get so-so coverage

*The color was too light for my skin tone

*Clung to any dryness and peach fuzz

*Didn’t seem to want to blend well (at least for me)

*I didn’t like the fragrance. It smelled nice in the bottle, but I tend to avoid putting products with fragrance on my face, as it makes my red cheeks sting.

*$42 for the TRAVEL SIZE!

Verdict: Return

4. Laura Mercier Silk Creme Moisturizing Photo Edition Foundation

-sigh- another product I wanted to love, but my skin had other plans.

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Moisturizing Photo Edition Foundation

I also thought this was one of my Holy Grail products for lighter coverage days, but in the end I just had to accept reality.

*Rose Ivory

*Moisturizing

*Tested with Maybelline Babyskin primer and Laura Mercier Foundation Primer-Hydrating

*A bit too sheer

*This seems to be buildable, but for my skin texture and condition building layers of makeup just doesn’t result in a good look for me. YMMV, of course.

*My redness shined through, even with color correcting (though I could have just been using a poorly pigmented color corrector at the time)

*Totally my fault, but I ordered a shade that was just a tad too light

*Clung to my dry patches and peach fuzz

*$48

Verdict: Return

——————————————————————————————————–

Are you ready for my Holy Grail foundation? 

Well, it’s not technically a foundation..but I digress.

After trying a lot of Western foundations I decided to research and test a Korean product.

I found a BB primer that was medium to full coverage and included Hyaluronic Acid, which is a product that promotes moisture and lubricates tissue and is found naturally in the body.

BEHOLD….

Missha’s  M Perfect Cover BB Cream with SPF 42 PA +++

Missha Perfect Cover BB (from Misshaus.com)

I wish I had known about product before. This would have saved me so much trouble and frustration!

*Provides great coverage, and covers my redness without color correcting. Even better coverage when I do color correct.

*Tested with Laura Mercier Foundation Primer-Hydrating and The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Wonderblur (not a fan of the Wonderblur, too hard to work with)

*Cruelty free

*Scented… which is a bummer for me, but not a deal breaker. This scent is light and disappears during the day. It also somehow doesn’t irritate my red cheeks.

*Limited colors, so it’s only an option for fair to medium tones. I’m a Western Ivory, but Missha’s #21 Light Beige is a tad too light, and #23 Natural Beige is a bit  too dark. I’m mixing them to get a better match.

*CHEAP! This cost me less than $20 USD a tube.

So, as of 9/1/2016 this is my Holy Grail in terms of foundation/base.

WHAT.A.JOURNEY.

Have you found your Holy Grail product yet?

Skincare and Makeup for Thyroid Patients/Super Dry Skin-Product Test

I’m on a mission to find the most hydrating medium-to-full coverage makeup for extremely dry skin…starting with drugstore brands.

If you’re in the same situation as I am I hope you’ll join me on this journey and let me know what has worked for you!

 

About me:

2 years ago I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had my entire thyroid removed.

My life has been turned upside down ever since.

I once had normal skin texture with no redness,  hair that didn’t fall out, no dry scalp, and a body that responded to exercise and diet with the appropriate response (weight loss/muscle gain).

Those days are over, apparently… and 2 years later I’m just now starting to come to terms with it.

Lately  I noticed that my skin looked awful in cosplay photos- it was dull, dry, and made me look way older than I really am.

This made me seek out some new information and help on how to choose makeup that isn’t a heavily advertised Japanese BB cream.

I needed something that matched my skin tone and moisturized my now desert-like skin.

I’ll warn you- these images could be disturbing to those who have an aversion to dryness!

About the photos:

  • All applications are on a clean face with PCA moisturizer and Maybelline Baby Skin pore eraser primer underneath.
  • No undereye concealer except for the Skinfood that I had on hand. It’s the wrong color- I’m kinda new to this whole “color correcting” thing.
  • Photos are taken with my iPhone 6s using the “daylight” setting on my vanity mirror. They looked much more clear before posting them here..not sure what happened there.

A quick rundown of my situation:

  • Super mega crazy dry
  • Cool pale/classic ivory
  • Slight redness mainly on cheeks, chin, and nostrils
  • Current mood: embarrassed and frustrated. Thyroid skin is such a hassle!

Skincare:

First things first. I needed a good skincare routine.

Seeing as I never had skin problems before and always just bought whatever the Clinique rep recommended (a generic, normal skin regimen) I had no idea where to start.

At first I was getting regular facials. I thought that was the first step. However, even with the hydrating facials I was left dry.

Then I went to the Korean district of Tokyo and blindly bought whatever the salesperson recommended.

He recommended sensitive skin products  without touching my skin. From a distance it still looks normal, so as you can imagine this was a total fail when I got home.

The only silver lining was that the kit included one of those super soft face brushes. I sold my failed skincare locally and moved on.

Then I bought a trial kit of PCA’s dry skincare products.

So far I’ve been able to stick with it, but I feel that there’s got to be a more moisturizing brand out there. If you have a suggestion, please comment! 

Makeup- the hunt begins:

Earlier I mentioned that my face is now dry. Unless you have a thyroid problem (hypothyroid, hashimotos, no thyroid, etc) then you may just be thinking “winter skin” level dry. Think again.

I am quite sure that my daily dryness is worse than the average person’s worst winter dryness day.

I started researching and found a few leads. I live on a remote military base with very limited products, so unfortunately some of the best suggestions online were nowhere to be found.

I did find a few to test, though.

Potato quality iPhone photos incoming…

1. Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft Matte Hydrating foundation

Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft Matte Hydrating foundation

The general rule of thumb based on my research is that if you have dry skin that you want to avoid a matte base because it will make your skin look dull and more dry. I found this to be true, but this was marketed as “hydrating foundation” so I decided to give it a try.

These are my notes from the application: 

 *Doesn’t blend well with dense brush

* Sits on the really dry places

* Feels nice overall, light and doesn’t feel tight

* Lasted about 2 hours before I felt like it got a dull, matte look (it was a soft-matte, after all, so I wasn’t surprised).

Verdict: Changed to Toss

 

2. Covergirl + Olay Facelift Effect Firming Makeup
My Notes:

*Exfoliated

Covergirl + Olay Facelift Effect Firming Makeup

*Same blending issue- doesn’t take the dense brush well.

*Used fair tone, might be a shade too light

*Doesn’t seem to cover redness or take the translucent powder under my eyes very well.

*Rubs off when I blow my nose , sweats off

*This felt dry and cakey to me

Verdict: Toss

 

3. Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Makeup with tone correcting complex

 My Notes: 

Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Makeup with tone correcting complex

*Blends somewhat with the dense brush. Had to finish with finger tips.

*Feels nice overall, light and doesn’t feel tight

*Kind of deals with my redness

*Has a seriously matte finish, though

*Most expensive of all the foundations I bought

Verdict: Toss

 

 

 

 

 

4. Covergirl + Olay Simply Ageless 3 in 1 

I got frustrated and thought I was maybe imagining the redness I kept seeing so I did a half and half makeup comparison.

My Notes:

My right: Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Makeup with tone correcting complex My left: Covergirl + Olay Simply Ageless 3 in 1

*Half and half CG+Olay Simply ageless (my left) and Neutrogena (on my right)

*Hard to tell since I’m new to this whole makeup thing, but seems to look more hydrated/shiny/dewy compared to the other side.

*I liked the feeling of the CG, so I’m going to try it again with my new Spackle primer.

*It seems to have more unfavorable chemicals than I’d prefer

Update: tried it with the Spackle primer. Nice and dewy at first, but I felt a change after about an hour or 2. I’m going to give it a go today and see how it does. It’s not tight or flaky..yet.

Update 2: I didn’t realize it at first, but this is a scented product. The third time I tried it I didn’t use any of the other skincare items I was using before because I suspected they caused the tingly redness on my cheeks. Nope, this product made my cheeks kind of tingly and red all by itself.

Verdict: Changed to Toss

 

 

5. Covergirl CG Smoothers

My Notes:

Covergirl CG Smoothers

*Didn’t blend very well with brush. finished with hands.

*Dried really matte, feels dry, but not as dry as Neutrogena.

*Doesn’t help with tone evening, cheeks still red even before adding blush

 

Verdict: Toss

 

 


 

Here’s a few I want to try. They’re unavailable in my area, though, so I’m going to try to find them on Amazon.

Wishlist: 

  • Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse- I have tried this since this post and it’s kinda awesome- I’ll update this post later with photos and a review. 
  • Maybelline Dream Satin Liquid
  • L’Oreal True Match Lumi- I have also tried this. I feel it’s so-so, but still a keeper. I’m not a fan of the N1-2 shade, it’s kind of dark on me. I’ll update later on this, too. 
  • MAC Face & Body

 

Have you found the holy grail of foundations for us super dry skin types?

Do you have a favorite skincare brand that I should think about buying? Please let me know!

How Thyroid Cancer and Hypothyroidism Changed My Body

Here’s a link to my post detailing my Cancer diagnosis and treatment timeline . I used to have a very predictable, dependable body. I knew how much exercise I had to do to work off that cookie I had at lunch. I knew how long it would take for me to recover from vacation/travel eating. I knew my body really well. Then I got cancer. I think an active list of my symptoms might not only help me, but might benefit someone trying to figure out their new life as a hypothyroid patient. I am not a doctor, so please track your own symptoms and discuss them with your doctor. Symptoms I have experienced so far:

  • weight gain
  • hair loss
  • insomnia
  • nightmares
  • pungent body odor
  • brain fog/forgetfulness
  • language/writing problems

1. Weight gain After my other thyroid was removed I gained 10 pounds in a month. While I understand that 10 pounds is not much when compared to other thyroid patients, it is unusual for me. It is also a significant amount of weight for a petite person like myself. I am thankful for only gaining a small amount of weight, but I must note it as a way that thyroid cancer and hypothyroidism changed my body. I have lost 2 pounds since my RIA (radio-iodine ablation) mid- September 2014, but that’s the most my weight has budged.I have 8 pounds to go to be at my pre-cancer weight. I eat a calorie restricted diet and try to aim for high protein, low carbs. I eat a lot of fish, and soy. While soy consumption is controversial, my endocrinologist advised that I can eat soy, I just have to eat it 4 hours after taking my thyroid pill. Resolution (for now):  Yesterday (11/18) I started a 2 workout a day plan. I am not doing strength training, but have read that strength training/weight lifting might help with weight loss for someone in my condition. I don’t have easy access to weights, but I’m looking into how to change that. 2. Hair Loss After the second time my Levothroxine was increased I noticed that my hair began falling out. It isn’t coming out in huge clumps, but it does come out daily. I find it on my pillow, in my brush, in the shower, and in my bicycle helmet. This has never happened before. When I get my hair cut it is even worse, so I avoid going as often as I should. I had to explain to my Japanese stylist that I was taking medicine that made my hair fall out so he didn’t worry when he saw all of it come out as he cut. 3. Insomnia For the past 5 months I have been taking Levothroxine at night (per my doctor). I have never suffered from insomnia before, but I would lie awake for about 3-4 hours on average. Resolution: I decided to start taking my medicine in the morning (which is what is on the bottle) on 11/6.  The day of my first morning dose I had a lot of energy (ran/biked 2 miles) and I fell asleep within 30 minutes and had no nightmares. A week later and I still have had no more nightmares and no trouble falling asleep.

4. Nightmares

I would also have terrible nightmares every night. It became normal for me, but just a few days before switching to a morning dose my husband commented that I have had persistent nightmares. Over time I just stopped noticing.

Resolution: (see #3)  5. Pungent body odor I have tried many things to alleviate the body odor that has accompanied my thyroid condition. What was strange is that after I had my surgeries the odor was gone for a few months while my thyroid medication was very low. Once it increased to 125 mcg the odor came back. I don’t drink coffee, only 1-2 cups of black tea a day. I don’t drink much soda, maybe 1-4 diet sodas a month. I’ve tried washing my armpits with baking soda, stainless steel (smooth stone) soap, rubbing alcohol, lymph drainage massage, antibacterial body soaps, and all kinds of deodorant+ antiperspirant. I shower twice a day, sometimes more. One arm is stronger than the other, and it’s opposite the side of my body where the cancer was present. Very strange. I have tried a variety of laundry techniques, too. Baking soda, vinegar, ammonia, sun drying, boiling water, several different sports detergents and laundry scrubs. That worked for a while, but once my hormones start getting out of control the smell comes back.  Resolution (for now): I learned about transdermal magnesium chloride therapy while talking to another hypothyroid patient on Reddit. I figured that I had nothing to lose, so I bought a bottle on Amazon. I have been using it for 3 days, and my body odor is minimal, even while on my period. I did not ask my doctor about this, because he told me he does not believe that non-prescription methods work. He also did not believe that my strong body odor was related to my thyroid issues. I am not a doctor, but this is my body, and I disagree. Update 7/4/15: The transdermal magnesium spray was a game changer. I have been using it since the date of this post and am back to only 1 shower a day, no overwhelming odor (unless I drink cheap coffee), and I couldn’t be happier. My doctor still did not believe that this spray helped, but it worked for me.

6. Brain fog, forgetfulness, scatterbrain, thyroid brain I have always been known for my amazing memory and ability to complete tasks quickly and efficiently. However, after the most recent dosage increase I noticed I could no longer remember even the most basic of things. I repeat stories, I forget what I was doing, I have trouble completing work and household tasks. It is extremely frustrating for me. I have told my doctor, but the symptom remains untreated. I asked about taking ginko biloba, but the doctor told me  that it probably won’t work and that it isn’t FDA approved, and left the conversation at that. Resolution (for now):  I keep forgetting to take it (go figure), but I think that taking my Levothroxine in the morning has helped. I am still foggy and forgetful, but it seems like it doesn’t disrupt my life as much as it did before switching to a morning dose.Update 7/4/15: In May my doctor FINALLY listened to me (once my husband went in to the appointment with me- that’s a whole other blog post in itself) and increased my dosage to the next strength. I have had more energy, and less brain fog every day since then.

7. Difficulty writing/editing As a technical writer this is very difficult for me. My job involves writing, and having to proofread so diligently and STILL finding basic mistakes makes me want to scream. Writing and editing have always come naturally to me, but I can no longer do it in the same capacity that I could before cancer and hypothyroidism. Resolution (for now):  This one is tough. I keep making mistakes. I will keep making mistakes unless I am very careful with my editing. There are probably mistakes in this post that, even though I’ve combed over it a few times, I still don’t see. I just have to keep an eye on it and try harder.

My Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Timeline

I am a healthy woman who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 29. I do not smoke, drink alcohol rarely, avoid fast food, and exercise frequently.

Cancer is scary. While thyroid cancer is treatable it leaves us with completely new bodies. Nothing works like it used to, and trust me…that is frustrating.

I am writing about my experiences in a series of posts because I hope it can help somebody else who develops this condition.

One question I am always asked is “how did you discover you had  cancer?”  Well, that’s an interesting story.

People want to know how I found out I had a problem, so here’s my diagnosis and treatment timeline.

 

Late December 2012:

I went to the emergency room from work because I suddenly had pain with breathing. I called the nurse line and was told that because of my birth control I could be having a pulmonary embolism.

David was on the flight line, so I drove myself to the ER.

After several hours and many tests they discovered the real problem.

I had thyroid nodules/cysts that had gotten so large on the left side of my throat that that they had nowhere to swell too on my small frame, pushing the swelling into my lungs and throat.

Other symptoms that developed prior to this ER visit was a very pungent body odor. It wasn’t regular BO. It was worse than that. I actually blogged about it here.

Thyroid nodules are prevalent in my family, so I wasn’t too concerned.

I was released from the ER and told to schedule a referral to an endocrinologist.

February 2013:

More ultrasounds and tests in January.

By February I had the needle biopsy, but it was only done on the largest nodule. It came back clear and this doctor said he did some sort of DNA analysis on me and I am very low risk for cancer.

The swelling was controlled  over the months with an as-needed steroid medication.

We moved to Japan in November 2013.

January 2014:

The doctors here in Japan noticed that I had not had a followup since last year and made me go through the tests again.

I really wasn’t trilled about it, but went ahead with it.

The ultrasound showed the left nodule had grown quite a bit, and had visible black spots.

I had another needle biopsy, and it came back clear.

However, I was urged to consider tissue biopsy, so I did.

My nose was broken when I was 5 years old. During the consultation for my thyroid the doctor noted that he could also fix my nose.

The same doctor would perform a septoplasty, but he got military orders to move later this summer. This meant he would not be able to do my nose work unless we acted fast.

I asked him to do both the thyroid lobectomy and the septoplasty at the same time because I really felt he was the best surgeon for the work.

May 2014:

He agreed, and I had both procedures done May 28, 2014.

Strangely I had no symptoms (other than the swelling in my throat) until about 2 weeks before my surgery date.

I started having trouble waking up and getting moving. I started feeling the need to take naps, and I started feeling very unusual- not like myself.

The tumor that was removed was a little over an inch long and had big black spots.

The tissue biopsy results revealed stage i thyroid cancer- papillary with a follicular variant. The tumor was t2 in size.

June 2014:

I had the second surgery to remove my other thyroid on June 30th. The masses on the right side that were removed also had possible spots.

July 2014:

Despite the spots, the right side had no cancer.

August/September 2014:

Received a small dose of radioactive iodine at an Army hospital in Hawaii. This should have destroyed any remaining thyroid cells that were left in my body.

I will have regular blood work and yearly body scans to check for cancer. The radioactive iodine treatment does increase my risk of getting other types of cancer, but at the moment I am all clear.