Topical steroids for skin conditions

What are steroids? Are they really safe for us? How to replace them with natural alternatives?

Treating skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis can be a nightmare sometimes. While topical steroids have huge benefit in reducing inflammation, they can also come with certain side-effects. What are steroids? Are they really safe for us? What are the natural alternatives to them? We go through all of these points in this article.

What are topical steroids?

This is important to make the difference between steroids, also known as corticosteroids, and anabolic steroids that are completely different and used by bodybuilders and athletes.

Steroids simulate a hormone that are made naturally in the human body, called cortisol. It is a natural anti-inflammatory hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Steroids are specially designed to act like cortisol to reduce inflammation and are used for various skin conditions, including eczema.

However, they are not curative and can even increase adverse effects. This is why, this kind of treatment should be on limited, selective and careful use with clear explanation and instruction to patients. 

Side-effects of topical steroids

Even though topical steroids are good at reducing inflammation, they have two major problems related to continuous treatment:

  • Drug side-effects;
  • Symptoms due to changes in the balance of normal hormone secretion.

Side-effects of using topical steroids may be systemic or local and the severity of adverse effects is directly linked to:

  • Potency of the steroid used;
  • Length of treatment;
  • Amount of surface area of skin the steroid has been applied;
  • Age (increased risk in children and the elderly).

Systemic adverse effects

Localised adverse effects

Adrenal suppression

Alteration of infection

Cushing’s syndrome

Skin thinning, skin atrophy, stretch marks

Topical steroid allergy

Contact and perioral dermatitis

Glaucoma

Acne, acne rosacea

     

Natural alternatives to topical steroids

Topical steroids are the first choice of doctors in the treatment of eczema and other inflammatory skin conditions. However, their adverse effects can become permanent and make your condition even worse if the treatment is taken longer than it should.

Of course, if you are looking for replacing your current treatment with a more natural alternative, please consult your doctor. Here are some alternatives to topical steroids. 

Dietary restrictions

Eczema can be caused by food allergy, particularly common for children. This is why, any recognised sensitive foods should be removed for a minimum of six weeks to see if it improves the eczema. Then, added back into the diet with a doctor’s guidance. 

Zinc oxide skin care

Thanks to its strong anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy properties, zinc oxide becomes a go-to in eczema treatment. Thanks to the wet wrap therapy in our products, our clothing can alleviate the discomfort caused by sensitive skin. Indeed, it will continuously release trace amounts of zinc ions while wearing them. (1) 

Emollient creams

These are aromatherapy versions that can be used to sooth sore skin and ease itching. They contain lavender for its antiseptic purposes and beeswax. Unlike conventional emollients, these creams do not contain parabens and other irritants, which make them perfect for sensitive skin. 

Reduce stress

 People who suffer from eczema or psoriasis should avoid stress by any mean. (2) Indeed, going through a period of stress could increase itchiness and the overall skin condition. This is why, it is always beneficial to try specific techniques such as yoga or meditation. 

Conclusion

If you are looking for more solutions on how to relieve itching during eczema crisis, we posted a whole article about it as well as the kind of foods that can cause allergies. Indeed, when suffering from inflammatory skin conditions, it is always important to have an overall view on what could increase symptoms.

 

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