Are Steroid Skin Creams Safe During Pregnancy?
You’ve heard about the glow of pregnant women, but as luck would have it you’re not one of those women!
Many pregnant women notice changes in their skin during pregnancy. For some women, existing skin conditions like psoriasis and acne improve considerably, while for others they may worsen. Treatment for skin problems usually involves the use of topical medications in the form of steroid creams. These creams and ointments help to ease itching and inflammation. They are highly effective for most people who use them. Recent research suggests that steroid creams may be safe to use during pregnancy as well with little or no risk to the baby.
Studies conducted on the use of steroid creams during pregnancy suggest that there may be risks such as low birth rate only when used in large amounts. Therefore pregnant women need not stop using topical steroids due to an exaggerated fear of possible risks. However it’s advisable to apply these medications under the guidance of a physician. This would ensure effective treatment and relief from the unpleasant symptoms caused by skin problems.
Here are some of the common skin conditions that occur during pregnancy and ways in which you can deal with them:
- Eczema: Many pregnant women experience aggravated eczema symptoms in pregnancy; this is especially common in women who faced the problem of skin dryness or irritation before pregnancy. Moisturize your skin to combat dryness, itching and redness. Speak to your doctor about using a steroid cream. These creams vary in strength. Weaker applications may be bought over-the-counter while strong ones are available through prescription only. Stronger creams are usually prescribed for only one or two weeks. Avoid using steroid creams to prevent new eczema patches from occurring and instead use them only to treat existing patches. To maintain the health of your skin and prevent further aggravation, avoid taking too many showers or baths. Use lukewarm water instead of hot water and avoid harsh soaps that dry out the skin. Always moisturize after bathing, and avoid scratching inflamed areas of skin. You can also use cool compresses to relieve itchy skin.
- Psoriasis: If you have psoriasis during pregnancy, remember to keep your skin moisturized before and after you have a shower or bath. Steroid creams that are lower in strength are usually prescribed for psoriasis. Certain treatments should be avoided in pregnancy such as vitamin A gels, vitamin D ointments, gels and creams and light-sensitizing medications. Also avoid taking tablets for psoriasis since they may have side effects.
- Acne: Pregnant women need to be especially careful with medication during the first trimester as there is a higher likelihood of acne flare-ups during this period. Treatments such as acne gels containing retinoids may affect the baby and should be avoided. Certain oral antibiotics for acne may be harmful for the baby’s dental and bone health. If you are buying any medication over-the-counter, always inform the pharmacist that you are pregnant and seek the advice of your doctor.
Lemon juice is a great natural remedy for acne during pregnancy. Squeeze the juice of a lemon, dip a cotton ball into it and apply on the acne. Avoid further acne flare-ups by limiting the number of times you wash your face as this can over-stimulate the oil glands.
It’s helpful to know the triggers for your acne flare-ups so you can take proper precautionary measures. Some common triggers include detergents, perfumes, excessive heat or cold and certain fabrics like polyester. Skin conditions like eczema are sometimes triggered by stress. Tiredness, excess weight gain and diminished energy levels during pregnancy may lead to stress, thereby making you prone to a flare-up. Be aware of such stressors and use meditation or music to de-stress on a daily basis.