Is your psoriasis no longer responding to diet and lifestyle changes? Read on to see why a number of sufferers have turned to steroids to help combat this chronic condition.
What are Corticosteroids?
Before we get started, let’s talk about corticosteroids. The word itself was coined in 1944 by combining the pre-existing terms corticoid, stemming from Latin cortex, meaning “bark of a tree”, and steroid.
Corticosteroids are a class of synthetic drugs that mimic cortisol, a hormone found in the adrenal gland. This hormone plays a significant role in some of the body’s largest processes, including stress and inflammatory responses, immunity, and metabolism.
Because of this, healthcare professionals have turned to corticosteroids as a way to help the body fight off severe allergic reactions and mitigate diseases.
Corticosteroids can be taken by dropper through the eyes or ears, or orally, nasally, or topically.
When it comes to using corticosteroids for Psoriasis relief, oral and topical solutions tend to provide the most relief. Let’s uncover what you should know about each of these two types.
1. Topical Steroids
When it comes to topical treatments, you’ve got options.
Topical steroids (a subset of corticosteroids) are classified by their potency and ability to be absorbed by the skin. These topicals come in creams, gels, and ointments, all of which require a prescription from a healthcare professional.
In total, there are seven classes of topical steroids, with the seventh containing the least potent treatments and the first containing the strongest.
Interestingly enough, potency does not correlate to the severity of psoriatic symptoms. Most often, mid to high potency corticosteroids are used on the “tougher” parts of the body, such as the torso and lower extremities. Lower potency topicals are more frequently used on sensitive areas such as the face and neck.
Be sure to note that most of these highly potent creams, ointments, and gels should only be used for about a two week period.
In one study on the efficacy of topical steroids on individuals with plaque psoriasis, roughly 30-90% of participants with mild to moderate psoriasis reported a 50% improvement from psoriatic symptoms. While this may sound promising, the jury is still out. The success of the study was highly variable among all participants.
We recommend consulting with your primary care physician or dermatologist to determine what’s best for you and your skin.
2. Oral Steroids
You’ve probably heard of Prednisone, right?
Prednisone is listed as an oral systemic steroid, which is another subdivision of corticosteroids.
Unfortunately for psoriasis sufferers in the United States, “clinical practice guidelines and other jurisdictions do not [typically] include systemic steroids as a therapeutic choice in the treatment of psoriasis….”
Not much research has been conducted to determine the benefits and risks associated with oral steroid use in individuals with psoriasis, although many researchers and doctors believe it’s an avenue worth pursuing.
Some doctors do prescribe systemic steroids, though it is typically in the treatment of pustular psoriasis, and only about three percent of individuals with psoriasis end up developing this.
Long-term Use of Steroids
We’re not here to scare you away, but like with many long-term treatments and medications, ongoing use of corticosteroids should come with a warning.
In extreme cases, loss of skin color, insomnia, and high blood sugar levels have been reported while using topical solutions.
In oral steroids, the worsening of acne, stomach irritation, mood swings, and muscle weakness have been documented.
Because this varies from person to person, we strongly encourage that you talk with your healthcare provider to ask questions and discuss potential side effects.
Finding What Works Best for You
After reading this article, you may find yourself questioning whether or not corticosteroids are right for you.
You may want to start by exploring some natural options like our Psoriasis Honey Skincare Line. We thoughtfully developed an entire collection of targeted psoriasis products ranging from shampoos and conditioners, to soaps and serums, all with one goal in mind - to help you find relief.
And if it doesn’t work for you, that’s okay! Our guarantee is complete customer satisfaction, meaning we’ll refund you if you don’t love it.
Your satisfaction is our top priority, and we will do what we can to ensure your happiness with every purchase!