Dermatologists Urge Caution When Using Skin Creams


An article by Dr. Syavra Tipirneni, dermatologist, recently appeared in BioSpectrum News. Dr. Tipirneni points out that we often succumb to our desire for perfect skin without the realization that many products contain hydroquinone, steroids or tretinoin. She advises caution in using various products and explains the need to consult a dermatologist.

Many skincare products contain substances used by physicians to treat various medical conditions. However, using them indiscriminately in over-the-counter products may lead to health or skin damage that at times may be irreversible.

About Steroids

Dermatologists use steroids in their practice to treat autoimmune and inflammatory issues. The following conditions occur infrequently but may include:

  • Sarcoidosis: Can lead to inflammation in lymph nodes, lungs or skin
  • Lichen planus: Affects the skin and mucous membranes
  • Vitiligo: Areas of the skin lose their color
  • Pemphigus: Causes sores and blisters on mucous membranes and skin

Note that steroids found in skin whitening products cause skin sensitivity and encourage acne. Most people are unaware that they are risking skin quality and subjecting themselves to serious infections.

Skin problems, some of which are non-treatable, have been growing in number due in part to the increasing use of creams containing steroids.

About Hydroquinone

Studies of hydroquinone, a skin lightening agent, have identified carcinogenic effects if used topically for long periods. It has the effect of inhibiting melanin, which adversely affects the skin’s pigment.

Hydroquinone is illegal in Europe but still legal according to the FDA.

 About Top Tretioin

Tretioin is used topically to treat acne. Its possible side effects are:

  • Severe burning, stinging or irritation of the area being treated
  • Severe dryness, redness, swelling, peeling or crusting

Treating the Individual

Due to the difference in a person’s skin type, the skin’s sensitivity, and type of exposure, the efficacy of products will vary.

As a reminder, our skin may show early signs of aging due to climatic change, pollution, dust, and sometimes neglect.

Skin damage will also occur if patients use skin medication for a longer period than prescribed by their doctors.

Using herbal products that are not FDA approved and may contain steroids may also lead to skin cancer, mercury poisoning, and liver damage when absorbed into the bloodstream.

Dr. Tipirneni reminds us to consult a certified dermatologist when in doubt about any skin product.


Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) six years ago. During this period of partial remission, Rose researched investigational drugs to be prepared in the event of a relapse. Her husband died February 12, 2021 with a rare and unexplained occurrence of liver cancer possibly unrelated to AML.

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