Topical steroids are the most efficient method of tackling itching and inflammation on the skin. Equally, they are the most preferred method of treatment because of the rapid relief they offer. But they are not without fault.
Topical creams are mostly prescribed for facial use. However, their safety depends on how well you understand them, and if you can stick to the strict directions of use. But most people who are using this cream can attest to its benefits.
If you are considering using topical steroids, then lots of questions must be running across your mind. But with plenty of information available online, it’s hard to know which one to trust. In this guide, we give you all the essential information that will help you to make an informed decision.
Potency and Absorption
Choose which topical steroids to apply on your face carefully. Compared to the rest of the body, the facial skin is thinner with a higher absorption rate. You have to choose a cream with the right potency and strength.
Topical steroids come in seven different groups. Group one has the strongest and ultra-high potency topical steroids. You shouldn’t apply these on your face. Group 7 has the least potent and mild varieties of cream. These are relatively safe to apply on the face, but with caution.
Other than the face, it’s recommended to stick to low-potent cortisone creams when applying to other areas with thin skin like the groin, neck or under the breasts or armpits.
Low-potent steroid creams also work best with kids. Because of their larger skin surface to body mass ratio, children can absorb more of the cream, which is why you should use a mild cream.
Most steroid creams available as over the counter (OTC) are lower potency steroids like 1 percent hydrocortisone.
Ultra-high potent cortisone creams are only used on areas of the body with thick skin like the soles of your feet or the palms. For conditions like Psoriasis, it’s best to see a dermatologist before you try any steroid creams.
When applying cortisone cream to the face, you should practice precaution. Avoid applying topical steroid creams on your face without the supervision of your doctor. Strictly follow the instructions to the latter.
Applying less than the recommended dosage will not work, and applying too much increases your risk of side effects.
A key part of applying any cortisone cream to your face is getting the dosage right. The Finger Tip Unit (FTU) is the most accurate method of dosing the amount of cream to apply to your body. Generally, 2.5 fingertip units are sufficient for facial applications. But, consult with your dermatologist to help determine the dose that will work best for you.
Skin sensitivity, adversity of the symptoms, and other factors vary from person to person. That’s why a dose that might work for one person might not work or be too much for another person.
Also, applying topical steroid creams on any part of the body chronically can make it less effective. You should only use the cream over a short period and stop as soon as the symptoms subside.
Your doctor will offer you alternative recommendations if your condition requires a long-term application.
Where possible, it’s best not to apply cortisone creams on your face. In some cases, it’s unavoidable. Before opting for topical steroids, you should try other alternatives like Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors (TCI).
TCI creams can help with atopic dermatitis for patients as young as two years. Unlike topical steroids, TCI alternatives don’t have a variety of adverse effects that come with the former like skin thinning, blood vessel formation, or altering skin pigmentation.
TCIs don’t lose effectiveness. They are perfect for prolonged use, and you can apply them on any part of the skin, including the eyelids.
Common Side Effects
Because of the nature of the facial skin, the face is more susceptible to suffering the effects of using topical steroids. The face has a higher rate of absorption, and the localized effects might show more easily.
Some of the signs to look out for when using steroid creams on your face include:
- Change of color on the skin (it can be lighter or darker)
- Formation of stretch marks
- Thinning of the skin
- Formation of blood vessels
- Increased vulnerability to skin infections
- Wounds taking longer to heal
- Irritation, stinging or a burning sensation on the skin
- Skin peeling
Most of these effects reverse once you stop using the steroid though it may take some time. To avoid these and other side effects, only use steroid creams after consulting with a doctor and make sure to use the product only as directed.
If you are suffering from inflammation or itchy skin, then there are good reasons you should try topical steroids. However, make sure you buy high-quality steroids from trusted or reputable stores like teragon labs.
Before opting for any medications, you can try other natural methods that are effective in dealing with atopic dermatitis-like bathing and keeping the skin well moisturized. Also, avoid allergy triggers as much as possible.