I and many of the Topical Steroid Withdrawal community are absolutely furious to see a high profile TV dermatologist pushing a topical cortisone steroid as an over the counter product.
Dr Sandra Lee is sending out free samples to high profile celebrities like Kim Kardashian.
Marketing Super Cortisone+ as the ‘heal all cream’ that every home should have in their medical cabinet.
As someone who is still going through withdrawal from using prescription topical steroids such as Betnovate, Elocon and Locoid this is giving me nightmares. Because this journey for me all began with good old Hydrocortisone, the mildest and lowest potency steroid cream. I can’t bear to think of other people going through what I have been through unnecessarily.
Hydrocortisone is the stepping stone to the hard stuff. A bit like hash can be the start of someone using stronger recreational drugs.
It is not just a moisturiser. It is a steroid cream.
No! Not Cool Sandra. NOT COOL!
How is this allowed? Why is this even legal?
I do not endorse this video
This video has me literally fuming. I have been through a lot of anger, guilt, shame and anxiety throughout my withdrawal and this has got me all riled up again. I will be using this anger to help calmly raise awareness for what can happen. This is a serious drug that should not be sold as a cosmetic super cream.
Only in America (and Canada)…
This is happening in America, where else? and would be illegal here in England. But it seems in the US you can sell topical cortisone using any language or marketing tactics you like.
I’d love to know what big pharma is paying Dr Sandra Lee. It must be a lot of money. If you’ve not heard of her before, she’s Dr Pimple Popper and she has a huge following on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and other channels. I don’t even want to share links to her social platforms because this scares me so much.
There is a big movement driven by Cara and many others in the TSW community. I’m late to the game really because it’s been going on for a while. All we can do is respond, sharing our fears and misgivings and try to get our message across, that this is dangerous.
Super Cortisone+ is 1% potency
In the UK the first topical steroid you’ll be given is Hydrocortisone which is 0.1%. You can buy Hydrocortisone over the counter to use on itchy skin rashes and insect bites. It works and is safe for short term use.
But when this doesn’t help your eczema you begin to be prescribed stronger and stronger cortisone creams. They eventually stop working and begin to cause more, worse skin problems and you’ll end up addicted.
Now this doesn’t happen to everyone who uses them, but we don’t understand yet why some people become addicted and need stronger and stronger medication and eventually Oral Immunosuppresants like Methoterexate or Biologics like Dupliomab.
We don’t know what the long term effects of using these are either. They scare me just as much as the topical steroids. Methotrexate resulted in me getting shingles which caused me 5-6 weeks of extreme discomfort and pain so bad and shocking to my body that the TSW actually went away. I was just a ball of pain. I would not wish that on anyone.
Dream Cream and Super Cortisone+
Also, how is it ethical or appropriate to use words like ‘super’ and ‘dream’ when describing a topical hydrocortisone? She describes it as ‘cool’ and ‘super charged’. This fluffy marketing speak should not be used alongside a serious topical steroid cream.
OK so it doesn’t contain parabens, phalates, sulfates or fragrances and it also has other more healing ingredients such as aloe vera, vitamin E and shea butter… but there is nothing dreamy about topical steroids.
No products like this should be making claims about being Super or a Dream. These are serious products that you can only get on prescription in the UK or from a pharmacy. If used wrongly they are dangerous. The language is misleading and wrong. It is cortisone cream. That is all. It should not be sold as anything other than that and in my opinion the very real risk of addiction and withdrawal should be shown far more prominently with graphic pictures of how bad this stuff can make your skin.
Because believe me, your skin will be worse than you an ever imagined when you try to give it up. This is a lifetime choice unless you have a few years to go through withdrawal.
But hey, you might not get addicted… are you willing to take that risk?
Drugs on drugs on drugs
It terrifies me that drugs like this are the first thing prescribed by so many doctors. So few people are encouraged to examine their diet, lifestyle and mental health and I truly believe you’ll never be free of eczema unless you do.
It terrifies me further that they can be given away as special gifts to anyone and everyone.
How is this happening?
YOU all need to STOP.
This has to STOP.
I feel like this is just a big massive marketing ploy to get a nation, a world, the globe, hooked on topical steroids, so that they are then a permanent money stream.
It takes a lot of guts, support and planning to go through withdrawal, so many are left without the option of ever being free of these toxic and damaging drugs.
Because that’s what they are. They are more addictive than herione.
Harder to come off and go through cold turkey than any other drug I’ve ever come across. You can go to rehab for drug and alcohol addiction and be clean in months. I know it’s not the same and I have never taken drugs like this but the withdrawal is shorter that topical steroids.
Topical Steroid withdrawal can go on for YEARS and it’s one of the most painful, undignified, destructive processes I’ve heard of.
You may lose your job or not be able to work. You will lose your dignity.
Be stripped of everything that makes you human, woman, man, functioning. You will question your sanity.
You will go to places you never dreamt it was possible to go. You will be brought to your knees and you will question whether you can go on. But you do go on because going back is not an option.
Your hair will fall out. Your skin will erupt into oozy open wounds. You will itch and flake in a constant cycle for as long as this bloody process takes.
You may have chronic and debilitating nerve pain which I had for months. I’m not sure I should have been driving while this was happening and pretty much didn’t because it was so hard to concentrate when my body was spasming with these nerve cramps.
But do you know what the worst thing is?
TSW and TSA are not recognised by the medical profession
Yup. That’s right. We feel like we are all just making this up. Few doctors and dermatologists recognise this is actually happening to us and there is no support for anyone choosing to go through withdrawal.
Having said that, there is enormous and incredible support from the online community so if you think you have TSA don’t despair. Do your research and find out everything you can. Arm yourself for battle. Check out ITSAN and watch the Preventable Documentary.
I’ve been fortunate that my dermatologist has followed my journey through withdrawal from topical steroids and protopic and I’ve been lucky enough to get UVB therapy to see if that helped. I think it did actually and you can read my other blogs on this if you’re interested.
But enough about me.
I’m calling for all Dermatologists out there.
All doctors and GPS.
Anyone with an interest in eczema and skin health.
Please listen to us.
This is real.
Topical steroid withdrawal is a nightmare but it’s very real. It’s happening. And if you use topical steroids for a prolonged period of time it could be coming to you too.
Until TSA and TSW are recognised as real and debilitating conditions this kind of thing will continue. And while pharmaceutical companies are willing and able to pay high profile celebrity dermatologists to pedal these drugs, there is little we can do.
This blog feels like a drop of rain in the middle of a desert but I have to try.
Dr Sandra Lee, how can you sleep at night? How will you help those people who become addicted to your Super Cortisone+ ?? You probably won’t, but we, the TSW community will be left to pick up the pieces.
OK Rant Over. If you feel so driven, why not pop a nice, calm, respectful comment to Dr Sandra Lee or Dr Pimple Popper as she is also know. The more comments she gets from people concerned about this marketing campaign for her product the better. If you want to check out some of her claims follow her business account on Instagram here and please feel free to comment on her posts: https://www.instagram.com/slmdskincare/
You can buy this Super Cortisone+ for just $15 on her website.
With no warnings, no mention of the effect overuse can have on your skin. And she recommends that you:
Apply to the affected area up to 3 to 4 times daily.
For external use only. THREE TO FOUR TIMES DAILY! Are you having a laugh Sandra? It kind of implies you can use it indefinitely without any worries.
Suitable for adults and children 2 years of age or older.
For children under 2 years of age, please consult a doctor.
And that little statement at the end, please consult a doctor for under 2 year olds is the only mention of anyone checking whether this is suitable for their skin condition. It’s frankly terrifying that this is allowed to happen.
I won’t sleep until I’ve tried me best to get this message out there.
Please share your views. I’m planning to send this to my MP and the Prime Minister to help raise awareness of the dangers of over prescribing of topical steroid creams. The more backing and comments the better!
Yours with steroid free passion…