What is Steroid Phobia?
Should you be afraid of steroids?
When it comes to medically recommended treatments, topical corticosteroids are so often the default answer. Topical corticosteroids constrict the blood vessels beneath the skin to rapidly reduce inflammation, itching, and discomfort. But there is a divide in eczema sufferers.
For some people, using steroids provides quick and reliable relief. Yet there are also those who experience deeply unwanted consequences from using steroidal creams. The most common negative consequences are dependency, topical steroid withdrawal, or lack of efficacy—especially after prolonged use (tachphylaxis).
We hope for an end not only to the discomfort of eczema, but also a reprieve from the constant maintenance and costs of purchasing treatment. Hopping onto a course of topical corticosteroids can feel enormously intimidating, when the risk of topical steroid withdrawal can affect anyone. We all hope for an end not only to the symptoms of eczema, but also a reprieve from maintenance efforts and the costs of purchasing treatment. So, when we’re looking at using steroids as an option, we can run into a psychological block: steroid phobia.
Understanding the right fit of treatment for you
We’re not using the term phobia here in the clinical sense, but rather in the idea that one might staunchly resist steroids at all stages of treatment. As if the anxiety isn’t enough, often one’s values can lead to an inevitable tension between yourself and your doctor, who may insist that steroids are the best option.
In each eczema case, there are many concerns. We might be concerned about what happens beyond the short-term. Doctors are often concerned about overuse of steroidal creams. We might be concerned about underlying causes. Doctors might be concerned that alternative treatments take you down a rabbit hole. In the same way that swearing by steroids as the only solution is too narrow, a steroid phobia is very restrictive, because it blinds us from the possibility of blended approaches, and causes us to make overly emotional decisions. To effectively care for a skin condition, being flexible yet targeted is, in our experience, the best approach. Listening to your body and being inquisitive and evaluative about each aspect of your skin condition helps yield the best decisions. Ultimately, the best results also come from the most informed decisions.
When natural products play a role
Here at Sade Baron, we create body care for skin conditions to ease you away from dependency on steroids. But we don’t condemn steroids. We think that they play a part in your journey—and we treat that with respect. By knowing that there are steroid creams, you can feel safe trying new natural products, while understanding you can have a failsafe in case something doesn’t help. Similarly, it’s in knowing that topical corticosteroids aren’t a forever plan, that you can stay strong in avoiding dependency on your prescription cream.
When steroids aren’t the best long term solution (and they often aren’t), natural products can help a lot, especially when they are created with a focus on results and safety. Our work in creating efficacious formulations includes HRIPT (Human Repeat Insult Patch Testing) on our creams, lotions and balms, as well as dermatologist reviews, and real customer testing and feedback.
Though the landscape isn’t changing overnight, attitudes are starting to shift. Although the National Eczema Association is still primarily focused on education about the benefits and safe application of topical steroid creams, they acknowledge the steroids can have have measurable harms. In a talk in 2021, Dr. Peter Lio shared highlights of natural clinical trials on eczema patients, with treatments like topical vitamin B12, topical indigo cream, black tea compresses, and drinking oolong tea.
We are all about TLC for your body that’s kind to you, but also backed by science. You should love the body you are in, no matter what stage it is at. In our approach to atopic and contact dermatitis, we avoid both steroid insistence and steroid phobia. Instead, we focus on crafting natural formulas that are highly efficacious, because they have been scrutinized and tested, and crafted with only the highest quality of ingredients.
Get to know our nutrient-rich, gently powerful products that provide relief against inflammation, cracks, itching, blisters, crusting, and pain from atopic or contact dermatitis. Each intentionally designed formulation takes the healing powers of plants to provide your skin what it needs to feel better. Discover our , which is hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested, and cruelty-free.