Betnovate and similar creams: Betnovate N , Betnovate C ,Panderm ,  Quardiderm , Forderm, Halovate Gm , Candid – B etc. are steroids. They easily available OTC. They are promoted by chemists, saloons and non dermatologists.

Steroids when applied to skin, heals almost every disease right from fungus infections, to acne to skin darkness.  Results are visible within few days. This has lead to their wide spread misuse. But one needs to know: the moment a person stops applying these creams, the disease flares up like never before. Person reuses them to cure the skin condition. Skin heals. Again same flare up happens after stopping. Thus, a person is caught up in a vicious circle. If one continues to use them for long, following side effects can occur:

Skin thinning,  visible blood vessels, excessive hair growth, permanent skin darkening or white patches, appearance of stretch marks etc.

Side effects of steroids : Skin Darkening
Side effects of steroids : Visible Blood Vessels

And it’s very difficult to reverse the side effects of steroids. Even best of lasers and medicines fail to cure the damage at times.

So should one never use steroids?

Steroids should be used only under dermatologist advice. It’s not that they should never be used. Certain skin conditions require steroids for treatment. A dermatologist would prescribe where they are medically required. He/she would supervise the treatment and would stop when needed. Under professional guidance they are safe.

What are the skin conditions which require steroids for treatment?

Cream based steroids are prescribed for DLE (discoid lupous erythmatosus), eczema , vitiligo, morphea, LSEA etc. Oral steroids are prescribed for various autoimmune skin conditions : DLE, bullous disorgers, severe skin reactions like steve Johnson’s etc.  A dermatologist can recognize these conditions and prescribe whenever required.

To conclude: Don’t be scared of steroid. Do use them when a dermatologist prescribe them .Never ever use them without a dermatologist advice.

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