References: 1. Bikowski J, Pillai R, Shroot B. The position not the presence of the halogen in corticosteroids influences potency and side effects. J Drugs Dermatol . 2006;5(2):125-130. 2. Del Rosso J, Friedlander SF. Corticosteroids: options in the era of steroid-sparing therapy. J Am Acad Dermatol . 2005; 53(1 Suppl 1):s50-s58. 3. US Food and Drug Administration NDA 017765. Promius Pharma, LLC, Princeton, NJ: Aug 1977. 4. Rosenthal AL. Clocortolone pivalate: a paired comparison clinical trial of a new topical steroid in eczema/atopic dermatitis. Cutis . 1980;25(1):96-98. 5. Kircik LH. A study to assess the occlusivity and moisturization potential of three topical corticosteroid products using the skin trauma after razor shaving (STARS) bioassay. J Drugs Dermatol . 2014;13(5):582-585. 6. Cloderm [package insert]. Princeton, NJ: Promius Pharma, LLC; 2017.
The word steroid makes many people nervous because it reminds them of anabolic steroids, which are used in body building for weight gain and muscle mass. The types of steroids in topical corticosteroids are completely different from anabolic steroids and their risks. The use of topical steroids is associated with only rare and minimal side effects. The risks of side effects are dependent on the size and area of skin being treated, the length of time the treatment is being used and the nature of the skin problem. Some local side effects of topical steroid use are atrophy, which is a mild thinning of the skin that corrects itself over a short period of time, and temporary loss of skin pigmentation on the treated area. This side effect usually occurs in darker skinned patients.