Steroid-Based Skin Creams for Cosmetic Use Has Dangerous Implications.

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India CSR News Network

BENGALURU: The widespread misuse of skin creams and lotions that contain steroids in India is becoming more and more prevalent and the situation is getting out of control. Corticosteroids, also known as steroids, are anti-inflammatory medicines used for a range of skin conditions, particularly allergic diseases. However, when misused, these can lead to substantial and permanent damage.

What is worrisome is their use as fairness creams, often leading to self-use by patients and over the counter sale in pharmacies. The side effects of corticosteroids include pigmentation and breakdown of the skin, small and widened blood vessels on the skin, as well as bacterial and fungal infections.

Many Fairness and scar treatment products contain Flucinolone acetonide and Mometasone with skin bleaching agents. Mometasone is a potent steroid that can cause pimple like eruption on the face, unwanted hair growth, rosacea (pustular lesions), perioral dermatitis (facial rash) and fixed redness.

Steroids like Fluocinolone, along with Hydroquinone and Tretinoin are often prescribed for skin diseases like melasma but long-term usage can cause severe side effects such as rosacea, red face etc.

“The strong desire to have a  quick response while treating skin diseases , also a growing fad for fair and glowing skin and easy availability of  topical steroid creams  is the  leading cause for   the abuse of topical steroids which today has assumed epidemic proportions,” said Dr. Venkataram Mysore, Congress President, World Congress of Cosmetic Dermatology.

Dr Chandrashekar Organizing Secretary further added that “People want to have instant results when it comes to managing their skin conditions and this has led to the rampant abuse without understanding of the long-term damage that such actions could create”. What is worrisome is that in most cases, these creams are bought over the counter without any prescription, with consultation from a chemist or on recommendation by a friend or a family member. These creams are often prescribed by beauty clinics and SPAs, or quacks. A doctor is not in the picture.” “Irrational use of steroid based skin creams are known to cause side effects like skin thinning, rashes, excess facial hair growth if used for a long time leading to irreversible skin damage.”

Dr Raghunatha Reddy Organizing chairman mentioned “Another alarming consequence of such abuse is the emergence of resistance to commonly used antibiotics and antifungals rendering the treatment of infections more difficult and more expensive”. As required by law in India; strong steroids can be sold only with a registered medical practitioner’s prescription. However, topical steroids are exempt and can be purchased over the counter, which needs urgent revision. Another problem that leads to the inappropriate use of topical steroids is that too few specialist dermatologists are available.

Dr.Venkataram, said, “We want to curb the practice of selling prescription drugs under the garb of cosmetics. We have requested the government to change the law and ban the over the counter sale of these. We are focusing on this topic in the world congress of cosmetic dermatology being held in Bangalore from 4-6 may 2016 and wish to create awareness amongst public on this issue”.

Indian association of dermatologists Venereologists and Leprologists have taken up this matter as a priority area and constituted a task force named Drug controller of India to fight this menace. They have also met the drug controller of India several times to emphasise the need for speedy action.

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