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Can topical corticosteroids cause side effects?

Topical corticosteroids can have side effects. The side effects of chronic topical steroid use include things such as skin atrophy, acne-like eruptions, and addiction. Long term use near the eyes has also been associated with glaucoma and cataracts. Very high potency topical steroids can also cause internal side effects, like those if you are taking steroids by mouth. These effects are more pronounced if used on thinner,  broken-down skin, or in children. Use of topical steroids around skin folds enhances the effect and can cause atrophy of the skin quite quickly and should not be used there unless otherwise directed. Breaks between applications of topical steroids decrease these effects. A rule of thumb is no more than 2-3 weeks of use without a break.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.