Three products for a radiant, customizable tan — without UV rays

Three products for a radiant, customizable tan — without UV rays

By edit
Face care
By concern
Stage of skin aging
Body care
Skin diagnostic
All Topics
Effets corticothérapie psoriasis.

What are the effects of corticosteroid therapy on psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease that causes unsightly and often painful red patches, leading to discomfort in patients. Corticosteroid therapy is among the common remedies for treating this disease. Let's explore together how this therapy works and what its effects are in the treatment of psoriasis.

Published February 20, 2024, by Manon, Scientific Editor — 4 min read

What is the role of corticosteroid therapy in the management of psoriasis?

In the event of psoriasis, patients witness their immune system reacting abnormally and excessively. The epidermis renews rapidly, leading to the appearance of red, scaly patches. For many years, the go-to solution to soothe this inflammatory skin disease has been corticosteroid therapy. This treatment involves the use of corticosteroids, synthetic molecules that mimic the action of cortisone, a steroid hormone produced by the outer layer of the adrenal glands.

Dermocorticoids are generally used in the treatment of psoriasis. They act in three ways on the lesions.

  • An anti-inflammatory effect: When applied topically, dermocorticoids help soothe the skin by combating inflammation. They inhibit the NF-kB transcription factor by activating the transcription of the IkB gene, thereby conferring anti-inflammatory effects. As a result, they reduce inflammation, swelling, and redness.

  • An Immunosuppressive Effect: They reduce the proliferation and migration of T lymphocytes as well as the function of macrophages. Dermocorticoids are also capable of inhibiting the release of cytokines (IL-1 and IL-2). The cytokine IL-1 could potentially modulate the plasticity of T lymphocytes towards the differentiation of Th17 cells, cells involved in the pathology of psoriasis. The cytokine IL-2, on the other hand, is considered a growth factor for T lymphocytes. By regulating the activity of T lymphocytes, dermocorticoids are thus able to modulate the immune response.

  • An anti-proliferative effect: Dermocorticoids have an inhibitory effect on the proliferation of skin cells. They are also capable of reducing the synthesis of collagen and proteoglycans by fibroblasts. However, the mode of action of this antiproliferative property is not yet well understood.

Due to their anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive, and antiproliferative actions, dermocorticoids can restore the inflammatory system and inhibit the excessive proliferation of keratinocytes, which leads to the formation of scales. Therefore, dermocorticoids can be useful in treating psoriasis.

The adverse effects of corticosteroids.

The use of dermocorticoids can have some undesirable side effects.

  • Skin Atrophy is one of the most common side effects of dermocorticoids. This manifests as a thinning of the skin due to a decrease in some of its components (epidermis, dermis, hypodermis). This observation is explained by their antiproliferative effect on keratinocytes, melanocytes, and fibroblasts that synthesize collagen.

  • Purpura, ecchymoses, telangiectasias, and permanent erythema are other clinical signs observable after treatment with dermocorticoids. This adverse effect can occur following the stimulation of endothelial cells by dermocorticoids, although its mode of action is not known.

  • Other adverse effects have been reported in studies such as hypopigmentation, delayed wound healing, or skin fragility. However, the origin of these effects is not yet very well understood.

Note : Generally, a medical opinion and prescription are necessary ahead of any use of dermocorticoids.


  • LEBRUN-VIGNES B. & al. Dermocorticoïdes. EM Consulte (2011).

  • FAURE S. Dermocorticoïdes. Actualités pharmaceutiques (2014).

  • ZENKLUSEN C. & al. Actualités pharmaceutiques. Revue Médicale Suisse (2014).


Understand your skin
and its complex needs.

Go further: