New aspects of the mechanism of corticosteroid-induced dermal atrophy

Clin Exp Dermatol. 1991 Nov;16(6):416-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.1991.tb01225.x.


Glucocorticoids are effective for the treatment of various inflammatory skin diseases, but their long-term use may lead to serious side-effects such as osteoporosis and skin atrophy. The incidence of skin atrophy following application of potent corticosteroids is especially high among children and the elderly. During recent years the effects of glucocorticoids on connective tissue have been elucidated, and it is evident that skin atrophy is mostly due to a decrease in collagen synthesis. Since collagen is the most abundant protein in the skin, the inhibition of its synthesis leads to atrophy. This review discusses the molecular mechanisms of glucocorticosteroid-induced skin atrophy and therapeutic possibilities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrophy / chemically induced
  • Child
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects*
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / pathology*


  • Glucocorticoids