Corticosteroid creams are almost unrivaled in their ability to quickly lighten skin. However, their results are short-term and when discontinued, skin usually reverts back to its original color. Most importantly, prolonged use can lead to devastating damage that is usually irreversible.

What are corticosteroid creams?

Corticosteroid and steroid creams are prescribed by doctors to treat inflammation from skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis.

These corticosteroid/steroid creams contain powerful ingredients like Clobetasol Propionate, Fluocinolone Acetonide or Betamethasone Dipropionate.

They come with specific usage instructions because of the potentially serious side effects.

Skin lightening is a side effect of steroid creams

Unscrupulous sellers sell steroid creams as skin bleaching creams because a known side effects of using steroid creams is skin lightening.

The mechanics behind steroid cream-induced skin lightening is not known. However, one theory is that steroids may reduce the number of melanocytes or melanocyte activity in the skin.

Black market bleaching creams pose a hidden danger

Given that the sale of steroid creams for skin bleaching is illegal, black market skin lightening products will not list steroids on their labels.

Therefore, most go undetected. The detection and removal of these harmful steroid skin lightening creams usually only occur after it is too late.

Examples of known skin lightening creams that contain corticosteroids

Bio Claire Lightening Body Creme contains the powerful steroid Clobetasol Propionate
Shalina Diproson cream and lotion contains two types of steroids, Betamethasone Dipropionate and Fluocinolone Acetonide
Esapharma Movate contains two types of steroids, Clobetasol Propionate and Fluocinolone Acetonide
Dermovate cream contains the powerful steroid Clobetasol Propionate

Corticosteroid creams can lead to irreversible and devastating skin damage

Corticosteroid creams are almost unrivaled in their ability to quickly lighten skin color.

However, its short-term results are just that — short-term.

When these creams are discontinued, skin usually reverts back to its original color eventually. Meanwhile, prolonged use of the creams can lead to devastating skin damage that is usually irreversible.

Prolonged use may lead to many skin problems

  • Thin and fragile skin
  • Stellate spontaneous pseudoscars
  • Strange stretch marks
  • Folliculitis, inflamed hair follicles
  • Skin rash, irritation
  • Itchiness
  • Raised bumps on the skin
  • Excess hair growth
  • Fungal or bacterial skin infections

Serious damage to health


Corticosteroids are absorbed through the skin and into the blood.

They are also more rapidly absorbed when applied to the face, increasing their danger as this is where most people would apply them in order to lighten their complexion.

  • Corticosteroids appear in breast milk. Corticosteroids in breast milk can harm newborns by inhibiting their growth.
  • Corticosteroids may lead to exogenous Cushing’s syndrome