Topical Steroids Are Often Misused. Here’s Why It Needs To Stop

People use many skin formulations containing different combinations to their itchy skin or for improving their complexion without visiting a qualified doctor. Commonly, they get over-the-counter drugs on advice from chemists or friends and family. Unfortunately, because of this attitude and lack of adequate information about OTC medicines, many people end up using steroids which lead to many side-effects which may be long-lasting. Other than the side-effects, there are many health issues dermatologists commonly see in their clinics because of misuse of topical steroids.

Here are five reasons why this issue must be addressed, and why we must curb the use and sale of OTC steroid ointments.

  1. They don’t work to treat the original itch or skin problem that they are often recommended for, by chemists and loved ones.
  2. This has led to an epidemic of chronic funal infections, which are resistant to anti-fungal treatment. This is something dermatologists all over the country have been witnessing over the last few years.
  3. Long term use of the so-called brightening creams on the face can lead to severe acne and redness, and even cause overgrowth of hair.
  4. Long-term use of steroid creams leads to the thinning of the skin and stretch marks, which may never go away completely
  5. Long term use of potent steroids may lead to its absorption, which causes system side-effects like decreased immunity.

With so many potential side-effects of combination steroid-containing creams, it is warranted to be careful and not to use such creams without the supervision of doctors. Steroid creams are useful for controlling many acute and chronic skin ailments. However, these must be used only for the specific problem, and time period, as advised by a qualified dermatologist.

*6th of April is World Skin Health Day. IADVL, a pan-India organisation of over 10,000 qualified dermatologists under the leadership of its president, Dr. P. Narsimha Rao, is celebrating the day with the theme, ‘Fight Topical Steroid Misuse To Maintain Good Skin Health.’

Dr. O.P. Gangwani, president of the Delhi State Branch of IADVL

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