More than just the main ingredient in your table salt, iodine has a whole host of beauty benefits that you may not know about. Iodine has topical benefits that make it a staple in your first aid kit, and the potential to help reduce pesky skin issues like overactive perspiration. But Iodine is also a critical part of your body’s hormonal system. Your thyroid relies on iodine, and there was once a time when iodine deficiencies were incredibly common. That all changed with the introduction of iodized salt. Our table salt now contains more iodine, helping millions of people escape iodine deficiency.
Here are eight reasons why the mineral should be part of your beauty and health routine.
The Body Benefits of Iodine
Iodine supplements can help ensure your thyroid is functioning properly.
Your thyroid is key to keeping your metabolism on track, and iodine is essential in helping it function like it needs to. Eating foods rich in this ingredient, like kelp, yogurt and shellfish, will give you the iodine your body needs to burn calories (and lose weight!).
According to the Cleveland Clinic, iodine deficiencies can often result in unwanted weight gain, fatigue and thinning hair. If you suspect you may have an iodine deficiency, we recommend seeing your general practitioner to check your hormone levels and thyroid function, and getting set up with an appropriate dose of a daily iodine supplement.
Alleviate Breast Discomfort
When PMS rears its head, sore and uncomfortable breasts come with the territory. Taking iodine supplements like Violet Iodine ($70) can alleviate this common problem by delivering the beauty ingredient straight to breast tissues to promote healthy cells that reduce the swelling and pain.
Women with routine breast tenderness during their periods have what’s called fibrocystic breast disease. According to Mount Sinai, “A review of clinical studies found that iodine replacement therapy (particularly for those with low levels of iodine) may improve the tenderness associated with fibrocystic breast tissue.”
Another reason to get iodine into your diet? It helps flush your system of toxins like lead and mercury to keep your body healthy.
Because iodine is found in table salt, most of us don’t have iodine deficiencies. Currently, the NHS recommends getting your iodine intake through a varied died, so if you aren’t iodine deficient, you probably don’t need supplements. Taking too much iodine could lead to changes in your thyroid glands long term, which you definitely want to avoid.
When our hormones go into overdrive, especially when we’re stressed, it can lead to unwanted acne. Iodine can help keep them in check, adding breakout prevention to its list of beauty benefits.
Iodine deficiencies are also associated with acne, as iodine-deficient skin is dry and and often irritated.
Acne treatments are often based in antibiotics that fight back those bacteria that cause pimples, which can lead to antibiotic-resistant acne. Iodine avoids this problem and is used as a spot treatment. You should not use iodine as a daily face wash or cleanser.
Benefits of Iodine on Skin (and Hair and Teeth)
Topical iodine is an excellent disinfectant used by doctors and dentists.
Because it’s a natural disinfectant, use iodine on cuts and scars to speed up the healing process. Topical iodine is a safe and widely used modern antiseptic, and works best to treat minor scrapes and cuts. That includes pimples!
The Mayo Clinic advises against using iodine on deep wounds, animal bites and serious burns due to the increased risk of negative side effects. Those side effects are rare, and include itchy skin, rash, fever, and facial swelling.
Promotes Hair Growth
Did you know that a thyroid deficiency can lead to hair loss? When this little gland has the iodine it needs, it can make sure that hair continues to grow and stay healthy.
Having chronically low thyroid function is called hypothyroidism. Having your hormone levels tested and potentially adjusted with medication can help you regrow thin and fragile hair.
If sweating or dry skin are one of your top beauty concerns, iodine can help by regulating moisture and perspiration. That means that an adequate iodine intake can help keep your skin evenly and regularly moisturized. If you struggle with chronically dry skin, you may want to take a peek at your iodine levels.
Just a word of caution, too much iodine can have the opposite effect, so be sure to use it in moderation. Most people tolerate high intake of iodine fairly well, but individuals who are taking too much iodine in the form of supplements can give themselves iodine poisoning. It is very unlikely to get iodine poisoning from your diet alone. Excess iodine intake can cause the thyroid to become inflamed, and is associated with nausea, burning sensation in the mouth, throat and stomach. Severe cases can lead to a reduced pulse or coma.
Besides disinfecting scraps and pimples, this ingredient can also kill the bacteria in your teeth that can lead to tooth decay and a dull smile.
Dentists use molecular iodine during the process of placing dental implants and after extractions to reduce bacteria.
The Bottom Line on Iodine for Skin
If you don’t have an iodine deficiency, you should still consider keeping topical iodine on hand for minor cuts, scrapes and burns. As a disinfectant, iodine does it’s job well and deserves its spot in your first aid kit. You can also use spot treatments of iodine for skin issues like acne.
If you suspect you do have an iodine deficiency or are interested in the potential benefits of upping your iodine intake, check with your general practitioner before beginning daily supplements.