Cases of malignant melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer, have been steadily increasing. According to conventional knowledge, the top risk factors for skin cancer are genetics, skin type (fairer skin), excessive sun exposure, and hereditary (family history of skin cancer). Most of these factors are short-sighted. At worst, they are fate-driven, meaning there isn’t much you can do to control them.
However, many of the causes and details of cancer are not talked about in the public domain. The truth is scientific research has found that many other factors drive skin cancer than sun exposure and genetics alone. For example, there is a very strong connection between thyroid function and skin cancer development.
Recent studies have identified an association between cutaneous malignant melanoma and thyroid carcinoma. It’s not unusual for cancers to develop in groups – more often than not, cancers develop after years of suffering from degenerative diseases like diabetes. This is oftentimes accompanied by hypothyroidism. 1, 2
Although it is easy to blame the sun or genetics for skin cancer, the fact is cancer is a systemic condition that is ultimately driven by stress, which can have many triggers. When it comes to preventing skin cancer, keeping TSH low is important because it stimulates melanoma growth. 3
Hypothyroidism & Skin Cancer Link
In general, it has been observed that patients with hypothyroidism have a higher risk of developing malignant melanoma. It has also been found that hypothyroidism is more frequently reported in patients with head and neck sited melanoma, suggesting that skin cancer may also contribute to worse hypothyroidism. 4
The question seems to be which came first, cancer or hypothyroidism? Because cancer takes many years to develop, and hypothyroidism can be brought on rather quickly by stress, it seems common logic that the hypothyroid state proceeds cancer. We also know that elevate TSH can stimulate melanoma growth, and TSH rises under hypothyroidism. 5
Other than TSH, there are other ways hypothyroid can increase the risk of skin cancer. For example, the thyroid hormone naturally antagonizes cortisol and other stress substances. When the thyroid is low, these stress hormones tend to be left unopposed and elevated, wreaking havoc on the body.
Famous biologist Hans Selye, who developed the theories of stress we refer to today, theorized that any form of chronic stress can interfere with the cell’s ability to produce energy and therefore cause cancer. Not to mention, plenty of studies have observed that chronic stress of any type can independently suppress immunity and increase the risk for cancers, skin cancer included. 6
Tips for Naturally Preventing Skin Cancer
The number one cause of hypothyroid is stress. Whenever we stress chronically there is a rise in both estrogen and cortisol, which can block the secretion and deactivate the thyroid hormone. The trick is to keep stress of all forms to a minimum. Psychological stress and even exercise stress can contribute to low thyroid function, so we recommend practicing a low-stress lifestyle across the board. One way we achieve this is by regularly using Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs like Schizandra and Ashwagandha, which you can find in our Revitalize formula.
Polyunsaturated fats, found in vegetable oils like canola, soy, corn, peanut oil (and even “healthy oils” like hemp and flax) can have a strong anti-thyroid effect. They have been found to detach the thyroid hormone from its binding proteins, ultimately “deactivating” it. These fatty acids also often increase estrogen, which can block thyroid secretion.
We suggest sticking to saturated fats, like coconut oil, ghee, tallow, butter, etc. which actually promote thyroid function. To learn more about the connection between PUFA and skin health, be sure to read this blog.
As mentioned in a previous article, caffeine is a powerful anti-cancer substance, particularly for the skin. When applied topically it not only reduced the risk of skin cancer but can act as a natural sun-block. We suggest using caffeine topically and internally for its wide-range, full-spectrum benefits. Experience its topical benefits through the green coffee seed oil present in our Alitura Body Lotion.
Of the many powerful natural substances for fighting cancer, naringin is of special interest to researchers. In study, treatment with naringin produced a remarkable reduction of cell proliferation of cancerous cells. It was also found that naringin lowered other important biomarkers of skin cancer. In conclusion, this study and many others have found convincing evidence for the anticancer properties of naringin against malignant melanoma. You can find naringin most abundantly in fresh orange juice. 7
As a key part of a whole-body approach to skin wellness, we must consider the health of the thyroid. The thyroid hormones play some of the most important roles of skin function; they play a major part in normal cellular and tissue growth, development, and metabolism. Not to mention, there is over a century of research that has documented the relationship between thyroid hormones and skin function. In addition to practicing non-toxic skin hygiene, we highly recommend learning as much as you can about thyroid health to support your skin from the inside, out. Read our previous blog about it here and be sure to download our ‘Natural Path to Perfect Skin’ e-book below for more tips.
The Natural Path to Perfect Skin
30 PAGES FULL OF SKINCARE SECRETS