Understanding the Side Effects of Topical Steroid Treatments and Health
Topical steroid treatments are often prescribed to help reduce inflammation, relieve skin disorders, and provide relief from conditions like eczema, itching and psoriasis. While these treatments can be effective, they can also have serious side effects if over-used or misused.
Side Effects on the Skin
Topical steroids can cause thinning, discolouration and dryness of the skin. They can also make the skin more prone to infection, wrinkle-like lines across the face, stretch marks and acne. Over-use or misuse of topical steroids can lead to a condition known as topical steroid withdrawal, which can result in a red, burning, swollen and itchy skin rash that can take months to recover and heal.
Psychological Side Effects
Topical steroid treatment may cause people to feel a sense of dependency on steroids, which can lead to misuse or over-use. This in turn can increase the risk of developing the psychological side effects associated with topical steroid treatments, such as depression, anxiety, lack of motivation and withdrawal from activities.
Side Effects on the Immune System
Over time, topical steroid treatment can weaken the body’s immune system. This can potentially leave the body more vulnerable to infection and disease and can also interfere with the body’s ability to heal and fight off infections.
Long-term Side Effects
Long-term use of topical steroids can cause the adrenal glands to become suppressed. This can lead to an inability to cope with stress, low blood pressure and a weakened immune system.
It is important to be aware of the possible side effects of topical steroid treatments and take steps to minimize the risks associated with using them. These steps include using the minimum amount of steroids that are needed for the condition, using steroids for the specified length of time and monitoring the skin for signs of misuse or over-use.