Topical Steroids For Rosacea
Steroids should never ever be used as a rosacea treatment. Topical steroids are sometimes used temporarily to treat symptoms of eczema-psoriasis symptoms.
Topical cortisones also referred to as steroid creams are a skin preparation similar to hydrocortisone. The medicines in this group differ primarily by the strength of each compound.
The most commonly used topical steroid is hydrocortisone. Hydrocortisone is a natural chemical made by the body and is one of the weakest members of this group.
Cortisones work by decreasing inflammation, swelling, burning and itching at the site of application. When applied in an ointment they can help the skin maintain moisture. In general steroid ointments are stronger than steroid creams because the medicine penetrates better when in an ointment form.
Topical steroids are generally used to treat the symptoms of eczema, a skin condition characterized by itchy, red, scaly skin. They are also used for other inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis. They don't cure the conditions but can ease the symptoms. They work by reducing inflammation of the skin and thus easing the symptoms of itching, redness and swelling that occur with many skin conditions.
Topical steroids frequently cause thinning of the skin if used for long periods of time. They can also cause acne-like pustules, dermatitis, broken blood vessels under the skin, stretch marks, loss of skin color (which may clear-up on stopping treatment) and, when used on the face, a rosacea-like disorder (reddening of the skin), also known as steroid rosacea. Other side effects can include itching, easy bruising, and in some cases skin infection.
Topical steroids are classified into four groups - mild, moderate, potent and very potent. The mild and moderate topical steroids generally cause side effects only at the site where they are applied (see above). But the potent and very potent topical steroids are more likely to be absorbed through the skin into the body and to cause side effects similar to oral steroids, particularly if they are used continuously for several months or on large areas of the body. These include bone thinning and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
You should use topical steroids with care if you have dry, irritated or itchy skin, a skin infection, or if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
Avoid using topical steroids on broken or infected skin, for treatment of rosacea, or if you have acne. If possible, avoid using potent topical steroids for more than a week and never use them on your face.
The use of topical steroids will make your skin extremely sensitive. Continued use of topical steroids or cortisones can produce a "steroid rosacea" that includes redness, blood vessels, and/or pimples. It is possible that after stopping the steroid, your skin condition may worsen due to the fact that the skin becomes dependent on the steroid and stopping the use of it can cause a form of dependency withdrawal in which the face may break out with pimples and/or papules. When this happens a limited time dose of antibiotics can be prescribed to help the skin through the withdrawal period.
"Never, never, never, ever prescribe steroids for rosacea" Dr.Kligman (Dermatology-University of Philadelphia) & Dr. Pleig (Dermatologische Klinik Und Poliklinik der Universitat Munchen, Germany) state in their 1973 book, entitled Acne & Rosacea, First edition. Likewise, their second edition in 1993 harshly criticizes dermatologists that prescribe steroids for rosacea.
Rosacea-ltd's Steroids page to get a better understanding of the
potency level of each generic and name brand steroid treatment.
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