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Steroid Cream for Psoriasis Understanding the Treatment

by Gada
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Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the skin, causing red, scaly patches and itching. It is estimated that 2-3% of the world’s population suffers from psoriasis, making it a common condition. While there is no cure for psoriasis, there are various treatment options available to manage its symptoms. One of the most commonly prescribed treatments for psoriasis is steroid cream. In this article, we will dive into the world of steroid cream for psoriasis, exploring its uses, benefits, and potential side effects.

How do Steroid Creams Work?

Steroid Cream for Psoriasis Understanding the Treatment

Steroid creams, also known as topical corticosteroids, are applied directly on the affected areas of the skin. These creams contain a synthetic version of cortisol, a hormone produced naturally by the body. Cortisol helps regulate the immune system and has anti-inflammatory properties. In cases of psoriasis, the immune system is overactive, leading to excess production of skin cells, which results in the characteristic red, scaly patches. Steroid creams work by reducing inflammation, thus slowing down the production of skin cells, and providing relief from itching and other symptoms associated with psoriasis.

Types of Steroid Creams

There are various types of steroid creams available for treating psoriasis, classified according to their strength. The potency of the cream depends on the concentration of the active ingredient, with higher potency creams containing a higher concentration of the active ingredient. Some commonly used steroids for psoriasis include:

Low-potency: These creams are suitable for treating mild cases of psoriasis, especially on sensitive areas such as the face, armpits, or genitals. They are milder and have fewer side effects compared to high-potency creams. Examples include hydrocortisone and desonide.


Medium-strength: These creams are more potent than low-potency creams and are used to treat moderate psoriasis symptoms. They can also be used in combination with other treatments for more severe cases. Examples include triamcinolone and betamethasone.

High-potency: These creams are used to treat severe psoriasis symptoms and should only be used under the supervision of a doctor. They have a higher risk of side effects, such as skin thinning and discoloration. Examples include clobetasol and halobetasol.

Benefits of Using Steroid Creams for Psoriasis

Steroid Cream for Psoriasis Understanding the Treatment

Steroid creams are a popular choice for treating psoriasis due to their effectiveness in reducing inflammation and managing symptoms. Here are some of the benefits of using steroid creams for psoriasis:

  • Reduced Inflammation: Steroid creams work by suppressing the immune system response, thus reducing the inflammation associated with psoriasis. This not only provides relief from itchiness but also helps in preventing the formation of new psoriasis lesions.
  • Quick Relief: Topical steroids are applied directly on the affected areas, providing quick relief from itching and discomfort associated with psoriasis. This makes them a preferred choice for managing flare-ups.
  • Ease of Use: Steroid creams are easy to use and can be applied at home without the need for medical assistance. They come in various forms such as lotions, creams, ointments, gels, and sprays, making them suitable for different skin types and preferences.
  • Safer Option: Compared to systemic treatments, which involve ingesting medication, topical steroids have a lower risk of side effects. When used correctly and under the guidance of a doctor, they are generally considered safe for long-term use.

Potential Side Effects of Steroid Creams

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Steroid Cream for Psoriasis Understanding the Treatment

While steroid creams are generally considered safe, they do come with potential side effects that should be taken into consideration. The risk of side effects increases with the potency of the cream, the duration of use, and the area of application. Some possible side effects of using steroid creams for psoriasis include:

  • Skin Thinning: Long-term use of high-potency steroid creams can cause thinning of the skin, making it more vulnerable to injury and infection.
  • Skin Discoloration: Prolonged use of steroids can also lead to changes in skin pigmentation, causing dark or light patches on the skin.
  • Worsening of Symptoms: In some cases, the use of steroid creams can lead to a rebound effect, where the symptoms of psoriasis become worse once the cream is discontinued.
  • Tachyphylaxis: This refers to a decreased response to the medication after prolonged use. In such cases, the effectiveness of the steroid cream may decrease over time, requiring higher potency or frequency of application.

Tips for Using Steroid Creams Safely

Steroid Cream for Psoriasis Understanding the Treatment

To minimize the risk of side effects and get the most benefit from using steroid creams for psoriasis, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Follow Instructions: Always follow the instructions given by your doctor or pharmacist when using steroid creams. Consult your doctor if you have any doubts or concerns.
  • Use the Right Amount: Apply only the prescribed amount of cream, avoiding excess or insufficient application.
  • Avoid Sensitive Areas: Do not apply steroid creams on sensitive areas such as the face, armpits, or genitals unless specifically instructed by your doctor.
  • Use for Short Periods: Try to use steroid creams for short periods, taking breaks in between to minimize the risk of side effects.
  • Keep Moisturized: Steroid creams can dry out the skin, leading to further irritation. Hence, it is important to moisturize regularly to keep the skin hydrated.
  • Watch for Side Effects: Keep an eye out for any potential side effects and consult your doctor if you experience any adverse reactions.


Steroid Cream for Psoriasis Understanding the Treatment

What is the best time of day to apply steroid cream for psoriasis?

You can apply steroid creams at any time of the day, depending on what works best for you. Some people prefer to apply it in the morning, while others find it more beneficial to apply it at night before going to bed. Consult your doctor for personalized recommendations.

Can I use steroid creams during pregnancy?

It is generally safe to use low-potency steroid creams during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, always consult your doctor before using any medication during pregnancy.

Are there natural alternatives to steroid creams for psoriasis?

Some natural ingredients that may help with psoriasis include aloe vera, tea tree oil, and turmeric. However, these should not be used as a replacement for prescribed treatments. Always consult your doctor before trying any alternative remedies.

Can steroid creams be used on all types of psoriasis?

Steroid creams are effective against various types of psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, and inverse psoriasis. However, they may not be suitable for treating pustular or erythrodermic psoriasis.

Are steroid creams habit-forming?

No, steroid creams are not habit-forming. However, it is important to follow the instructions given by your doctor and not overuse them, as this can lead to tachyphylaxis.


Steroid cream is a popular treatment option for managing psoriasis symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory properties and quick relief. While they come with potential side effects, when used correctly, they can provide significant relief from itching, redness, and discomfort associated with psoriasis. It is important to consult your doctor and use steroid creams as directed to minimize the risk of side effects and get the most benefit from this treatment.

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