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Acne is often present. Acne conglobata is a particularly severe form of acne that can develop during steroid abuse or even after the drug has been discontinued. Infections are a common side effect of steroid abuse because of needle sharing and unsanitary techniques used when injecting the drugs into the skin. These are similar risks to IV drug abusers with increased potential to acquire blood-borne infections such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS . Skin abscesses may occur at injection sites and may spread to other organs of the body. Endocarditis or an infection of the heart valves is not uncommon.
Topical corticosteroids (TCS) and topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs) are very effective treatments in inflammatory dermatoses, but carry risks with long-term use. TCS are associated with cutaneous atrophy and tachyphylaxis and TCIs can be irritating and contain a black box warning of an increased risk of cancers including lymphoma and non-melanomatous skin cancers. Nevertheless, they are appropriate treatments for inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (AD) and should be used more often with disease flares and less as maintenance therapy. Given the associated risks of long-term continuous use with these pharmacologic agents, alternatives are needed with similar anti-inflammatory and barrier repair properties that can be used indefinitely without risk. Some over-the-counter (OTC) ingredients such as colloidal oatmeal and petrolatum, as well as anti-inflammatory prescription moisturizers (medical device creams), have demonstrated efficacy with little complications in skin barrier repair and symptom relief in steroid-responsive conditions. With regimented application, these non-drug options are safe and effective and can limit the longterm continuous use of TCS or TCIs.