By Nanette W.
Did you know that use of topical hydrocortisone cream for such conditions as psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis can cause a number of harmful side effects? This page will provide you with information about these effects that many doctors and health care practitioners, unfortunately fail to give you.
Harmful results of using steroid cream can affect children and adults alike including all ages. The fact is that most "over the counter" topical steroids can contain 1% of hydrocortisone while prescription steroid cream can contain much more.
Hydrocortisone is a steroid used to reduce inflammation and is sold extensively in over the counter skin ointments. Doctors can even prescribe larger doses, some of which can be given by injection in almost any part of the body. There is a great need to be wary about over the counter as well as prescribed creams.
Let me start by giving you a quick understanding of the function of skin structure. You see, your skin is designed to protect you from the world around you: from air pollution to murky lake water, as well as bacteria that are air born or exist on the things we touch and use everyday.
However, the cells aren't impermeable which means that chemicals and bacteria can squeeze by and penetrate sensitive or thin skin, causing an allergic reaction, and dangerously flooding your bloodstream. When hydrocortisone cream is used extensively it can significantly thin or weaken the skin and increase the chances of a number of viruses to infect human blood cells and has even been known to cause blood poisoning.
Understand that steroids and hydrocortisone cream are absorbed at different rates from different parts of the body. A steroid or hydrocortisone cream prescribed for the face may not work on the palm. But a potent steroid may cause serious side effects on the face.
*Forearm absorbs 1%
*Armpit absorbs 4%
*Face absorbs 7%
*Eyelids and genitals absorb 30%
*Palm absorbs 0.1%
*Sole absorbs 0.05%(Note that steroid and hydrocortisone cream absorption in children may cause a delay in growth with long-term use!)
Then, when you apply hydrocortisone cream to sensitive spots such as the eyelids, armpits, and groin (all places where eczema, rashes, and allergic reactions are particularly common), skin is thinner and more folds exist, so skin hits skin more often causing medications to penetrate more deeply.
These areas are also prone to stretch marks, irritation, hypo-pigmentation (lightening), hyper-pigmentation and a crinkled appearance.
Continued use of topical steroid creams such as hydrocortisone cream can cause the skin to develop a resistance (called tachyplaxis) to the medication.
As a result, in order to have the desired medical effect, a stronger and more potent steroid or hydrocortisone cream may be needed, which may cause even more potential side effects.
These side effects include: thinning and discoloration of the skin, easy bruising, permanent dilation of certain blood vessels, burn marks on skin, itchiness, perioral dermatitis, liver and kidney damage and a weakened immune system. Not only this, but steroid use almost always produces a "rebound effect" of the very symptoms you are trying to get rid of!
Studies have shown that if more than 500g of hydrocortisone (in hydrocortisone cream) is used per week, sufficient steroid may be absorbed through the skin to result in adrenal gland suppression and/or eventually Cushing's syndrome.
Topical steroids (including hydrocortisone cream)can suppress the production of natural steroids, which are essential for healthy living. Stopping the steroids suddenly may then result in illness.
If large amounts of steroid and hydrocortisone cream are absorbed through the skin, fluid retention, raised blood pressure, diabetes etc. may result.
So what's the answer to this problem? To promote healthy
skin and avoid harmful side effects use only natural, hypo-allergenic
and therapeutic creams.
Follow this 2 part plan:
1) Wash with only with a "non-soap" cleanser that is pure and gentle. It should be hypo-allergenic and contain only herbal ingredients that are organically grown.
Vitamin-derived antioxidants from plant sourced ingredients not only make the best ingredients for your "inside", but for your "outside" as well. A pure and gentle cleanser is just right for all skin types, conditions and ages.
2) Apply a therapeutic cream that is formulated to be hypo-allergenic and filled with only the best and healthful ingredients!
One of the main ingredients should be urea. This is a powerful “humectant” and actually unpacks dry, damaged cells 7 layers deep and binds water below the surface of the epidermis, right down to the stratus corneum, which is the skin building layer, allowing your sensitive skin to repair from “the bottom up”.
You see, only natural products are designed to truly repair problem skin (as well as greatly hydrate normal skin) and bring relief to psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis or any parched, itchy, red and cracked skin.
Healthful vitamins and herbal botanicals as well as the super emollient ingredient – shea butter - produce fast and highly effective results.
Below you will find a link to natural products that contain
absolutely NO hydrocortisone cream. These are the only products I
I must say that your product works wonders. My 5 month old daughter had eczema since she was 2 months old and I tried so many creams and did not see any results. Also, I applied hydrocortisone cream but saw that it made it worse! Your website had great information and it helped me to take care of my daughter's eczema better. I used your Face & Neck TheraCream and within a couple of days I started seeing results. Here are the before and after pictures that I took of my daughter. I will recommend your product to my friends and family!!
We have been battling with my daughters severe eczema for about 2 months. Her skin from chin down would be so inflamed and irritated she would wake up screaming and crying. We tried every lotion and cream on the market as well as hydrocortisone cream. After the steroids discolored and began to thicken her skin we stopped it and began our search for a more natural remedy! Theracream Hand and Body cream has been our salvation! After 2 days of use she was sleeping 3-4 hrs at night and is just an all around happier baby! After a week of use her skin
is rash free and baby smooth again! I am so thankful to have found this product. My husband has also been using this on his face for dermatitis and his skin has cleared fully in 3 days. Much to his dermatologists surprise! We had not seen my daughters smile in two weeks because she was so uncomfortable but now she is all smiles, all the time... Thank you! Whitney, CA
Hi my name is Natalie and I ordered your product about 3 weeks ago. My son Gabriel who's only 15 months got this rash around his mouth and I thought it was from drooling, but the doctor said it was some type of dermatitis. He prescribed a hydrocortisone cream which made it worse! Then I found the Skin Remedies website and ordered the product immediately! Three weeks later my son's rash is almost gone! Thank you Aim to Health for your amazing product! Natalie Goffinet, USA
Letters to Nanette:
Coming from Germany, I believed in natural remedies. But over the years I got talked into using one hydrocortisone cream after another. Each stronger than the one before. Now after 30 years, I can barely touch something without my hands or fingers splitting open. I tried your recommendation and my skin is much better. I know that after all those years it will take time to repair but I know I am in the right direction with your natural recommendations. G.G.,Barrington, IL
When I spoke to you about how the hydrocortisone cream I was using on my baby's stomach just wasn't working you advised me to stop using it on her immediately. Well, not only did these horrible steroid creams not work but they left burn marks on her little tummy and I was literally in tears. You told me what products you recommended and I started using them on her as fast as I could. Her skin condition is healed and the burn marks are now barely visible. I wish I had known earlier what I know now from our conversations.....thank you from the bottom of my heart! Charlene P., Iowa
First I would like to thank you for the quick response. I absolutely love your site and feel that it's one of, if not the best site on the Web for educating people about the right products, reasons why, and general information about one's skin. I have referred everyone i know to your site. I personally thank you for having a passion not only for natures way, but for giving people another opportunity to better themselves. Sincerely, Michael Miller, PA
My 6 month old baby developed a very bad rash on her head and would scratch at it constantly. I tried some steroid cream my doctor prescribed but after 3 days her eczema got worse! I found your website and ordered the FACE & BODY WASH and the HAND & BODY THERACREAM. In just 5 days her eczema was nearly gone!! I can't say enough about your products....thank you!! Salena, New Jersey
Last year I developed a rash under my eyes and I was promptly prescribed hydrocortisone cream. It didn't help much and the doctor referred me to see a dermatologist. I was told to keep using the hydrocortisone and I was discharged. As the steroid cream didn't help I searched the internet for another remedy and that's how I came across a product called Magicream. It claims it only contains natural ingredients and it promised to clear up my rash. I was so excited! I have recently found out that the cream in fact contains Clobetasol Propionate and Ketoconazole. I was devastated to find this out especially since side effects include red spots and a burning sensation! When I stopped using the cream the side effects were terrible - I don't need to tell you as you know how the withdrawal of steroid can affect ones face. I then did a search on line and found your website which made so much sense and helped me to understand what was happening with my skin. I ordered the Face & Body Wash and the Face & Neck TheraCream and I have been symptom FREE ever since. Thank you from a once frustrated person!! Trish Managold, UK
Please Note: Disclaimer - These statements have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration. The information, products, answers to viewer questions as well as comments and testimonials from viewers are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Helpful Articles on Hydrocortisone Side Effects:
Do you have a question, comment or experience? Ask or Just Share!
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Face Rash & Irritants
About 3 years ago my face started burning after a chemical peel and erbium laser. I went to a dermatologist and they told me I was fine and keep using …
6 year old has lightening of skin from steroid over use
My 6 year old has had skin lightening from overuse of hydrocortisone (prescribed by her doctor) for his eczema. It's all around his lips and a patch near …
Using hydrocortisone on face for 15 years
Hi! Please help! I've been using hydrocortisone on my face at night for 15 years! My skin has now incredibly thinned and now I want to wean myself off …
Hydrocortisone Cream Has Toxic Side Effects
Dear Nanette, I have been to three doctors - one primary care and two dermatologists. I have a rash on on my forehead and between the eyes and on the …