Our Services - Steroids
What are Steroids?
Steroids are commonly known as hormones that regulate the immune system. Steroids suppress inflammation, and are commonly used in treatments of eczema and psoriasis. Topical steroids vary in strength (potency) and are prescribed according to the conditions being treated. Generally, low-potency or diluted steroids are used for mild symptoms, on facial areas or on children. Strong steroids are reserved for severe cases (e.g. bullous pemphigoid and discoid lupus erythematosus) for localised and short-term use, and should not be used on the face or flexures.
Proper Use of Steroids
Steroids of different strengths are prescribed based on individual conditions and should be used according to your doctor’s instructions. Sometimes more than one topical steroids of different strengths are prescribed at a time: a mild or diluted steroid for mild symptoms or where skin is thin, including face, neck, external genitalia or medial sides of joints for a longer treatment courses and a strong steroid for short-term use on skin with resistant conditions. The course of treatment normally does not exceed two weeks.
Topical steroids are applied once or twice a day. Only a small amount is needed. A single fingertip of topical steroid is enough to treat skin twice the size of the flat of an adult’s palm. Steroids, if used in excess, may aggravate side-effects and cause folliculitis.
Wet Wrap Therapy
Under the guidance of your doctor, wet wrap therapy can treat inflammatory skin diseases with severe symptoms, e.g. atopic dermatitis or psoriasis. It augments the absorption of topical steroid with closefitting outfits and moisture, and can quickly stablise the condition.
Doctors will prescribe diluted topical steroid creams that should be applied on affected areas or all over the body (in case of extensive involvement). Affected area is then covered with a cotton outfit soaked with water. Dry clothings are then worn on top of the wet wraps. Spray the inner clothes with water every now and then to keep it moist. Repeat the above routine twice a day.
As wet wrap augments steroid absorption, the treatment must be done in compliance with doctor’s guidance. The course of treatment varies with conditions and normally lasts for three to five days. The wet wrap therapy must not be carried out without medical guidance.
Side-Effects of Steroids
Side-effects can either be local or systemic. Excessive use of topical steroids may cause thinning of skin with visible capillaries and veins; hair growth in treated skin, and increased risk of subcutaneous hemorrhage or bleeding after minor traumas. Systemic effects include high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis and hormonal disturbances. Long-term use of high-dose steroid may suppress adrenal function and thus lead to hormonal imbalance. Patients may need to take supplements to balance level of hormones to maintain a normal blood pressure and electrolyte level.
Most dermatitis disorders can be safely controlled with proper medications so long as you follow your doctor’s instructions.