Diseases & Prevention Skincare

What Corticosteroids Are Used to Treat Skin Conditions?

Corticosteroids Used to Treat Skin Conditions
Written by Collins Nwokolo

The use of topical corticosteroids to treat skin conditions is an old practice that began back in the 1950s.  Since then, steroid creams have been offered to treat various skin conditions, particularly those caused by autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Most corticosteroids require a topical application, which is more effective as the cream is applied directly on the target organ.

Topical application also has fewer side effects compared to other methods. There are several corticosteroids in the market for skincare products, so finding one is a relatively effortless process. Nonetheless, it is still imperative to keenly review your options and research each steroid before using them on your body. Corticosteroids mainly suit the following skin conditions:

  • Rash and itching
  • Dermatitis
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Vitiligo
  • Phimosis
  • Lichen sclerosus
  • Skin trauma

The efficacy of corticosteroids in treating skin conditions

Corticosteroids Used to Treat Skin Conditions

Before looking at the popular products available on the market, it is crucial to understand the science behind corticosteroids skincare benefits. The introduction of steroids into the market was all about the treatment of skin burns and traumatic experiences. Today’s steroids are mostly for bodybuilding purposes, but this rudimentary benefit remains. Most anabolic steroids and corticosteroids harbor defined benefits for the skin and can help treat a myriad of skin conditions as well as their symptoms.

Mostly, corticosteroids contain potent anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe skin conditions caused by inflammation. Eczema and psoriasis, for instance, are common autoimmune conditions that may result in skin inflammation. Steroids are designed to reduce the production of inflammatory compounds in the body, including the skin.

The role of corticosteroids in dermatology is slowly under research, and even though most claims have the backing of proven science. Nonetheless, it is still essential to review your steroids before commencing usage.  Corticosteroids are also known as the immune suppressants and have anti-proliferative effects. They also inhibit fibroblasts from synthesizing collagen, which is very helpful in the treatment of keloid scars.

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Popular corticosteroids used for skin conditions

There are several corticosteroids offered for treating various skin conditions. However, each formula is different and targets specific skin conditions. When looking for corticosteroids delivered for treating skin diseases, it is vital to read through the label and research material available. For instance, formulas offered for atopic eczema or allergic contact dermatitis may not effectively treat psoriasis plaque and keloid scars. What’s more, the corticosteroid acts as complementary medicine for treating skin conditions.

Corticosteroids Used to Treat Skin Conditions


Therefore, you should ensure the given steroid’s target is a specific skin condition that you have. It is also essential to distinguish corticosteroids from male anabolic enhancers like Testosterone-Enanthate. Both groups are effective in relieving skin condition symptoms. Low testosterone levels can lead to dry skin. If you are already suffering from a skin condition like psoriasis, dry skin will make it worse. A 2015 research study conducted on patients of psoriasis also links the state with dropping levels of male sex hormones, particularly testosterone. Patients with the skin condition tested lower levels of testosterone compared to those without it.

Substantially, testosterone boosting steroids are primarily provided to increase natural levels of testosterone in the body and come with all the benefits associated with such elevated levels. Concerning treating skin conditions, a popular choice is a group known as topical corticosteroids. The name topical is a translation from their application. You can also inject or ingest corticosteroids.


Topical corticosteroids for skin conditions

Corticosteroids Used to Treat Skin Conditions

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Popular, topical corticosteroids such as prednisone have been successfully used to reduce symptoms caused by autoimmune conditions such as vasculitis and inflammatory eczema. There are several products on the market, and while finding one is a dauntless task, choosing the right topical corticosteroids can be overwhelming. Many of these products differ in both potency and chemical formulation.

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There are also various other effects that influence the use of topical corticosteroids. These include the type (ointment, cream), duration of treatment, frequency and method of application, type, nature, and extent of the skin condition, patient factors such as age and disease site among others.

Topical corticosteroids are of four classes.

  • Class I and II are mild/moderate steroids for patients of acute inflammatory eruptions.
  • Class III and IV are very potent steroids only prescribed for chronic dermatoses that have resulted in thickened scars.

Concerning vehicle/carrier, ointments are usually more effective than creams due to their occlusive nature. They easily penetrate the skin and also have moisturizing properties. Ointments generally suit dry/fissured skin conditions like lichen sclerosus. Since creams dry out, they are recommended for weeping lesions and wet itchy skin conditions.

It is essential to strictly follow the guidelines of your doctor when using corticosteroids to treat any skin conditions. Most products are quite potent, and their use is for short term solutions.

Intralesional/injection therapy

In cases where a topical application is not a practical option, corticosteroids are injected directly into the skin lesions, also referred to as intralesional therapy. The therapy is fundamental for skin conditions such as acne cysts, keloid scars, and hypertrophic lichen planus, among others. It is instrumental in managing skin conditions that require direct application of the steroid deep inside the dermis.

Physicians should exercise precaution during this practice to avoid damaging the epidermis or triggering other autoimmune responses. It is also important to note that corticosteroids will only soothe steroid-responsive skin diseases. Not all skin conditions will benefit from the introduction of steroids.

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Corticosteroids form the oldest and most successful approach to using steroids for treating skin conditions. The practice has numerous research materials around it and has been favored ever since its introduction in the 1950s. However, no specific study seems to suggest that steroids can cure skin conditions. As opposed to popular belief, most steroids offered for treating skin conditions are complementary drugs aimed at managing the symptoms and disease.

If you are considering steroids for this particular purpose, it is vital to use them to complement an existing medical treatment. What’s more, you should only take corticosteroids, especially injected and ingested formulas, under the strict supervision of a qualified physician. Even the best steroids have side effects, both short-term and long-term.

Nonetheless, these can drastically help with the right dose, use, and quality. Only choose high-quality, reputable brands and clinics. With that said, topical corticosteroids continue to play a very integral role in dermatology and management of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.

About the author

Collins Nwokolo

Collins Nwokolo is a passionate blogger and an amazing writer. He is a health and fitness enthusiast who loves sharing helpful information to people.

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