I get it, I do.
There is nothing more frustrating than when you have that itch that you just can’t scratch.
You see; I come from a place where I have had to treat my own painful, inflammatory skin conditions and the irritation that comes with it, which reduces our skin’s ability to heal.
And it’s that inflammation and scratching that makes it so easy to reach for that tube of hydrocortisone cream.
But I want to let you into a little secret; it’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem.
And one of my biggest frustrations is when my clients tell me they’ve been recommending the long-term use of cortisone.
I know the personal care marketplace is completely and utterly overwhelming, and that you’re relying on a prescription from your doctor to help you find the RIGHT solution for your poorly skin.
So, I’m going to show you the facts, and help you to move forward with confidence if you have been prescribed hydrocortisone cream.
Become your own label detective
Steroids are hormones that decrease inflammation; they act on the body’s immune cells.
There are numerous topical steroids or cortisone’s available, and these medications are divided into four groups based on their potency and chemical structure.
- Betamethasone 0.1% and 0.05% are very potent
- Betamethasone 0.025% moderate
- Hydrocortisone 1% mild
Cortisone, ointments, and gels are medicines, and like all medications they are associated with potential side effects – especially if they are used long-term. So, there are cortisone dangers you need to be aware of.
Instead you should be sourcing natural alternatives like Saviour calming day cream – an intelligent, moisturising serum that harnesses natural steroids and anti-inflammatories to diffuse redness; calming irritation and sensitivity.
Potential side effects
Perioral Dermatitis: Some hydrocortisone creams create a rash around the mouth, referred to as perioral dermatitis.
This condition presents itself as tiny blisters, commonly found around the nose and mouth, but can extend up to the chin, and once you have this skin condition it can be very difficult to treat.
Steroid atrophy: This is where topically-applied cortisone medicines, even low-potency ones, will eventually thin out the skin. It is possible to reverse the damage done in the short term, but thinning can become permanent if used over a long period of time.
I have seen first-hand what steroid atrophy can do to the skin, including “broken capillaries,” skin weakness, and fine lines. Long-term use on the body can lead to bruising, tearing of the skin, and stretch marks.
The risk of these side effects depends on the strength and specific steroid, the length of application, the site treated, whether it is occluded, and the nature of the skin problem.
Eye Damage: Topical steroids can cause irreversibly damage to the visual field. The blinking motion can cause the steroid to travel up the face towards the eye, where it can cause thinning of the cornea, leading to a risk of glaucoma.
A new study by a team of scientists has shed light on what actually happens in the body when we scratch an itch.
What was found is that a specialised group of cells, known as “inhibitory spinal interneurons”, which exist in the spine act as a gateway between our skin and our brain. These inhibitory cells work by either allowing the itchy sensation to travel up to our brain, or stop it in its path by inhibiting the message.
A new study has shed light on what actually happens in the body when we want to scratch an itch. The research, published in Science magazine, could lead to treatments for many thousands of people suffering from a chronic itch a disorder causing an intense desire to scratch.
The Naked Truth
Now, I appreciate chronic itching reduces your skin’s ability to heal, causing your skin to break down and become more vulnerable to environmental damage – even a risk of infection.
None of this is desirable, and it’s detrimental to the health of skin over both the short term and long term. This is why, as an immediate quick fix for a couple of days, hydrocortisone does have its place.
But obviously, after seeing the side effects, the key is to minimise your exposure to cortisone; the cornerstone to managing your inflammatory skin conditions and preventing long-term damage.
Having been able to combat my own skin problems, and having helped many of my own clients with their own skin conditions, I have formulated a range of easy-to-implement natural treatments. Products such as Nectar, my natural balm, help to instantly diffuse areas of irritation; once the rash and inflammation has calmed down, you can transition to a more elegant treatment like SOS.