Your Body Cream Can Give You Hypertension, Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Dermatologist Warns


A professor of Medicine and a dermatologist at the University of Ibadan, Adebola Ogunbiyi, has attributed the prevalence of some non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease and diabetes to excessive use of topical steroids.

Ogunbiyi took the Federal Government to task on specific interventions to reduce the burden of skin diseases in the country.

Ogunbiyi spoke at the inaugural lecture she delivered at the University of Ibadan on Thursday on behalf of the Faculty of Clinical Sciences.

According to online health portal DermNet, a topical steroid is an anti-inflammatory preparation used to control eczema/dermatitis and many other skin conditions. Topical steroids are available in creams, ointments, solutions and other vehicles.

“Topical steroids are creams, ointments and lotions which contain steroid medicines.

“Topical steroids work by reducing inflammation in the skin. They are used for various skin conditions, including eczema. Steroid medicines that reduce inflammation are sometimes called corticosteroids,” physicians say.

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According to, New Zealand-based dermatologist, Dr. Amanda Oakley, topical steroids are also called topical corticosteroidsglucocorticosteroids, and cortisone.

She notes that a topical steroid is absorbed in different rates depending on skin thickness.

“The greatest absorption occurs through the thin skin of eyelids, genitals, and skin creases when a potent topical steroid is best avoided.

“The least absorption occurs through the thick skin of palms and soles, where a mild topical steroid is ineffective,” Oakley stated.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ogunbiyi’s lecture was titled ‘External Protector and Revealer of Internal Maladies: Organs of Beauty and Shame,’

She attributed the prevalence of some non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes to excessive use of topical steroids.

“Topical steroids get absorbed in the body. The same way oral steroids can cause diabetes, they can cause diabetes too.

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“So, you can develop hypertension, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease from the things you apply on your skin when it is absorbed.

“But a lot of people think that because they apply the creams on their skin, it stays on the skin.

“Same goes for soaps, which are made for you to wash your body, but people lather it and leave it on the body for 24 hours.

“People do not realise that soaps are absorbed into the body, and the habits are the causes of some of these diseases.

“Indiscriminate use of skin cleansers, some dangerous herbal therapy and use of recycled engine oil precipitate systemic diseases,” Ogunbiyi warned.

The dermatologist also advised the public to own their personal shaving instruments to prevent blood or bone diseases.

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She urged the government to provide quality healthcare for patients with skin disorders, through provision of intensive equipment such as laser machines and phototherapy chambers.

“This will reduce medical tourism for dermatological disorders and facilitate training of medical personnel,” the don said.

She noted that there were about 100 trained dermatologists in the country and that they could not meet the needs of a growing population of people with skin problems, who are estimated to be about 150 million.

She, therefore, called on the government to encourage the training of more dermatologists in the country.

Ogunbiyi called for sensitisation of hairdressers and barbers to the dangers of using unsterilised instruments.

“They need to be encouraged to refer clients with skin problems, especially scalp and hair disorders, promptly to the hospital for treatment,“ she said.



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