Injections of cortisones in to the skin are used for many common dermatologic problems.  Some of the more common conditions that respond to this treatment include:  

  • Keloids and hypertrophic scars
  • Alopecia areata and other types of immune-mediated hair loss
  • Acne cysts
  • Psoriasis
  • Lichen simplex chronicus

What are Cortisone Injections and How Do they Work?

Cortisone is a hormone that works by reducing inflammation.  When injected in to the skin, it calms the local immune system at the site, treating a skin problem locally.  It also decreases many of the chemicals in our skin that cause itch.  By bypassing the thick outer layers of the skin, in some cases it can be more effective than applying a topical cortisone cream or ointment to the skin. 

What are the Side Effects of Cortisone Skin Injections?

  • Cortisone injections are briefly uncomfortable.  
  • Rarely, people can be allergic to the cortisone (kenalog) that is injected.  This is very uncommon.
  • The skin that is injected may become thinner.  Occasionally the area dimples and blood vessels in the area may become more noticeable.  Some of these changes may reverse on their own with time.
  • Some individuals, especially those with darker skin, can develop a lightening of the skin.  This is usually temporary
  • If high doses are used, side effects of skin injections can be similar to those seen with the use of cortisone pills
  • Cortisone injections are not a cure.  The  condition being treated may come back.