Skin Care: Proper Use of Steroid Cortisone To Avoid Side Effects
Cortisone is one of many active ingredients from the group of glucocorticosteroids, also known as glucocorticoids for short. Glucocorticoids occur naturally in the body as hormones. But they can also be produced artificially and then used as drugs. Cortisones differ from anabolic steroids. Although both of them are steroids that have a similar structure, anabolic steroids bind with androgen receptors while cortisones bind with glucocorticoid receptors thus leading to different effects when used. Read more information about anabolic steroids from PG Anabolics, among the best Canadian steroids labs.
Benefits of Cortisones
The term Cortisone is often used colloquially as a substitute for all active ingredients from this drug group, such as betamethasone, mometasone, or prednisolone. Medication with cortisone (Glucocorticoids) has been around for over 50 years. Initially, their side effects were hardly known and little was known about their proper use. For this reason, drugs containing cortisone were often used incorrectly in the first few years after their development – namely in excessive doses and for too long periods of time. For many people, they, therefore, led to sometimes severe side effects.
Even today, the fear of cortisone treatment is still widespread. However, it is often based on misconceptions or misinformation. The risk of side effects is smaller than most people think – provided the drugs are properly dosed and not used for too long. The risks and side effects also depend on whether thatCortisoneinhaled or taken as a tablet, applied to the skin, or injected into a joint. Tablets have significantly more severe side effects than creams, especially when used for long periods of time, because thatCortisoneenters the bloodstream via the stomach and then acts throughout the body.
Means for application to the skin
Ointments, creams, and lotions that contain cortisone are very effective in relieving rashes. Therefore, they are particularly suitable for the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases such as neurodermatitis, other eczema, or psoriasis. However, for many other skin diseases, they are useless or harmful. Acne, rosacea, and infectious diseases such as skin fungus can even be aggravated by drugs containing cortisone. Hence, an accurate diagnosis is important before resorting to cortisone-containing products.
Read also: 7 Tips for Healthy and Youthful Skin
Possible side effects
Possible side effects of external cortisone treatment are inflammation of the roots of the hair, slight pigmentation disorders of the skin (white spots), and the formation of stretch marks (“stretch marks”). Most of all, many fear the skin-thinning effect. Skin thinning can manifest itself, for example, in the form of small, spider-web-like veins that become visible on the skin (telangiectasia). When used correctly, the risk of these and other side effects is very low. Also, if treatment is stopped if there are signs of skin changes, the skin can recover.
Safe to use
To avoid side effects, the strength of the cortisone preparation must be adjusted to the thickness and sensitivity of the skin on the affected area. The group of glucocorticoids includes over 30 different active ingredients in a wide variety of strengths. Glucocorticoids are divided to four groups – the weak glucocorticoid, the moderate glucocorticoids, the strong glucocorticoids, and the very strong glucocorticoids.
For the treatment of the face and the flexor of the joints, weak or medium-strength products are usually sufficient. The eyelids and genitals should only be treated with weak preparations. For the treatment of the hairy scalp as well as of the hands and feet, stronger agents are often necessary, since the skin is relatively thick here and therefore little active substance reaches the lower skin layers. The risk of the skin becoming thinner on these parts of the body is very low, even with the use of strong agents.
How a cortisone preparation works depends not only on the strength of the active ingredient and the thickness of the skin but also on the following factors:
- the dosage
- the carrier substance: Cortisone has a slightly stronger effect in ointments than in creams or lotions, since in this form it can be better absorbed by the skin.
- the application, if a cortisone preparation is applied to wet skin, for example, after bathing, it is stronger than on dry skin. If the treated area is also covered with a bandage or a damp compress, the skin absorbs multiple active ingredients. This should be taken into account, especially with small children, when treated areas of skin are covered with a diaper.
Many people wear too much or too little Cortisoneon the skin – mostly because they are unsure how to use the products properly or because they are afraid of side effects. The so-called fingertip unit (FTU) provides good orientation: One FTU corresponds to the amount of ointment that can be placed on the last phalanx of an adult (see graphic). This is about 0.5 grams. Half an FTU is enough to apply the cream to an area of skin the size of the palm of your hand, including the inside of your fingers.