With eczema affecting so many different people, it is important to
treat it in a myriad of different ways. Since everyone’s body is their
own, there is no single approach that works for everyone. One treatment
that has been developed and used widely is the application of topical
Why Steroids Help
The most common steroids used in the treatment of eczema are a class
of compounds called corticosteroids. These hormones are produced
naturally in the body in the adrenal cortex and take part in several
physiological reactions like stress response, protein catabolism, and
electrolyte levels in the blood. But specific to eczema, corticosteroids
are important for the proper function of immune responses and
regulating inflammation. Many of those who suffer from eczema are
treated with topical doses of different synthesized corticosteroids.
Doctors and patients agree that steroid creams have the power to treat
the problem effectively but are they really the right tool for the job?
While Corticosteroids may be effective at treating the eczema, using
them definitely comes with a cost. Below we have listed some of the
adverse health effects experts have associated with the use of topical
Like almost all steroids, corticosteroids could be hell on your liver.
Steroids often cause strain and damage. If you are taking some variety
of corticosteroid, it may be important to take it conjunction with a
supplement that supports liver health and function. One supplement
ingredient worth considering would be milk thistle since this is what
many bodybuilders use to protect themselves from liver damage caused by
steroids. However, it may be more cost effective to try an all-natural
eczema treatment that doesn’t require buying supplemental products to
make it safe.
One study at the University of Washington’s Department of Pediatrics
showed that corticosteroids might have some teratogenic effects. These
effects may seem small but they could be quite significant. The study
claimed that corticosteroids could cause a multiple birth defects for
every 1,000 pregnant women treated with them. This may be just around 1
percent, but we still think those odds are a little too high.
One of the scariest side effects we researched was that using strong
topical steroids could increase risk of Lymphoma. In the Journal of
Investigative Dermatology, a study back in 2007 that showed that there
was a significant association between patients who had been treated with
topical corticosteroids, in low and high concentrations, and patients
who developed lymphoma later down the line. Though only 294 cases of
lymphoma occurred out of the 293,253 patients, the added risk is still
One study conducted by the Retinal Research Department at the Manhattan
Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital in New York City, showed that
corticosteroid use may be connected with central serous
chorioretinopathy or CSC. This condition is characterized by the leaking
of fluid under the retina that can begin to pool and collect under the
central macula. This leads to distorted vision, blurry spots, and
decreased visual acuity even after the fluid has drained.
prolonged use of steroids causing harm, it may be necessary to use
these topical treatments in short bursts. One study we saw published in
the British Medical Journal showed that short term use of a strong
topical steroid was just as effective as prolonged administrations of
milder steroids for treating eczema.
In conclusion, steroids have their place when it comes to treating
eczema, but that role should be limited. If you rely too heavily on
them, you can experience unwanted side effects that could be worse than
the initial problem you set out to treat.