I was recently alerted to this PureCare Herbal Cream, marketed as an “all natural” and steroid free remedy for eczema or psorasis. It is only available for sales online or distributed via in-person. It has received many raving reviews but little did we know that it actually contains clobetasol propionate – an ultra potent steroid reserved for resistant cases of severe ezcema or psorasis!
Health Canada released an alert on March 27, 2017, advising the public what the product contains (clobetasol propionate and phenylethanol, a preservative commonly found in cosmetics). Health Canada is also advising the public to stop using the product and to consult with a health care professional. For the details of this warning, please click here.
I am shocked. I am outraged. I am disappointed how many parents and children have been misled.
Eczema and psoriasis can be a common problem for babies and toddlers. It can be difficult to manage with rash and itchy skin that can become very uncomfortable. Repeated scratching can also lead to secondary bacterial infection. The “cause” is often unknown but it may be due to an overactive response from the immune system. It often gets better with time as the immune system matures. Individuals who develop eczema or psoriasis may also have other autoimmune conditions such as asthma and allergies.
The mainstay of treatment for eczema and psoriasis is topical corticosteroids. The choice of topical steroid, frequency of use and area of application all depend on the severity of the condition, risk of infection and affected area(s).
We generally avoid or minimize the use of topical steroid preparations because of the side effects including thinning of the skin, bruising and discolouration. Systemic absorption may occur with topical application especially after excessive application and /or application to open areas or skin surfaces that may be compromised (e.g. skin scratches). Some of the long term side effects of systemic steroids include increased blood pressure and / or blood sugar, osteoporosis, weight gain and many others. But one that often gets parents worry about is its ability to stunt growth.
Parents who have discovered this Pure Care Herbal Cream might have thought they found a completely safe and steroid free remedy for their children’s eczema or psoriasis. To discover that it isn’t so natural but also contains an ultra potent topical steroid is overwhelming and difficult to digest. Apparently, the company is refunding money to customers but getting the money back will not make up for the loss of trust and the damage they have caused.
If you or you know someone who have purchased this product for use, please advise them to stop using the product and consult a health care professional. It may be helpful to have the following information to available when visiting a health care professional:
- How long have you been using this Pure Care Herbal Remedy? (e.g. for last 12 months)
- In the last month, how often have you used this product? (e.g apply every night after bath, or applied only twice in the last month on flared up areas)
- How much and where do you apply each time? (e.g. copious amount to the entire body or specific body part(s) or a small amount to the flared up areas only)
Answers to these questions may help the clinician to determine the current exposure to clobetasol and determine the best plan to go off the product. If it has only been used sparingly, it can probably be stopped without concern. But if it has been used routinely for a long time, a tapering plan may be needed to prevent flare-ups or rebound effects. This may involve substituting this PureCare Herbal Cream with a milder topical steroid and hopefully, it can also be slowly tapered off with time .