Topical Steroid Potency Chart
Curious about the potency of topical steroids? Perhaps your health care provider prescribed you a treatment and youâd like to know how potent it is.
Below you will find a chart of topical steroids classified by their potency. Both the brand names and generic names are listed.
Are you looking for non-steroid or over-the-counter options? While topical steroids require a prescription from a health care provider, there are over-the-counter and non-steroid treatment options available to you without a prescription.
NPF’s Seal of Recognition has a searchable list of products like shampoos and moisturizers, and even household items, all of which are made or intended to be non-irritating to your sensitive skin.
How To Use A Topical Steroid
Topical steroid is applied once daily to inflamed skin for a course of 5 days to several weeks. After that, it is usually stopped, or the strength or frequency of application is reduced.
Emollients can be applied before or after the application of topical steroid, to relieve irritation and dryness or as a barrier preparation. Infection may need additional treatment.
How Topical Steroids Work
Topical steroids help by reducing inflammation in your skin.
Inflammation is a sign of an immune response. The treatment is applied to an affected area of skin to help reduce symptoms such as rashes, scaly patches, itching, pain, redness, or swelling.
For example, eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a group of skin conditions that lead to itchy and inflamed skin with a scaly rash. Eczema is common in children. If you experience a flare-up of eczema, you can apply a cream to help you stop scratching the area and allow your skin to heal.
Topical steroids may be used for other skin conditions such as:
- Psoriasis, an autoimmune disorder that causes scaly patches of skin
- Seborrheic dermatitis, a skin rash with red patches and greasy yellow scales that typically affects the scalp
- Contact dermatitis, a red rash caused by contact with a substance that irritates the skin or causes an allergic reaction to it
The strength of a topical steroid is determined by a test that measures how much it can cause your blood vessels to constrict in the upper part of the dermis.
As blood vessels constrict, it can reduce swelling and discomfort.
Don’t Miss: A& d Ointment For Eczema
How Much Should I Apply
It is important to use enough topical steroid, as using small amounts continuously often results in the topical steroid not working as well and perhaps more being used in the long term.
Topical steroids should be applied with clean hands in a thin layer so that the skin just glistens. It can sometimes be difficult to judge how much steroid to use there are guidelines on the amount required to cover body areas that are affected by eczema. These are based on the Finger Tip Unit , which is the amount of cream or ointment that just covers the end of an adult finger from the tip to the crease of the first joint when squeezed from an ordinary tube nozzle. One FTU is enough to cover an area of skin the size of two adult hands with the fingers together.
Different parts of the body require different amounts of topical steroid. For example, in an adult, one arm will need 3 FTUs while a 4-year-old child will require 1 FTU for an arm and hand. Adjustments will be required if only a small part of the larger area is affected by eczema. Further information is often provided in the leaflet supplied with your treatment, and in our Topical steroids factsheet. Any unused steroid cream or ointment should be discarded. Wash your hands after applying steroids unless there is eczema on the fingers.
Whats The Difference Between Oral And Topical Steroids For Eczema
Corticosteroid medications come in different forms. They can be topical, oral, or sometimes injectable.
Oral steroids are strong, systemic drugs. This means that when you take a steroid pill by mouth, it affects your whole body. For eczema treatment, theyâre used only for really bad flares. Your doctor will closely watch your reaction and will give you a plan to wean you off of them and avoid serious side effects.
Topical steroids, on the other hand, come in various strengths. They mostly come in a cream, ointment, or lotion, and medium- and high-potency steroids are more commonly used to control skin inflammation from eczema. You can apply them to specific areas that have a flare-up. For example, if your eczema shows up on your elbows, you should apply topical steroids only on the eczema-affected part of your elbow. And high-potency steroid creams should only be applied to your chest and arms, not your face or near your eyes.
You can use topical steroids for up to 2 weeks, twice daily, to bring your skin under control and then slowly come off of them. Topical steroids can have side effects too, such as thinning of skin, stretch marks, spider veins, and acne.
Recommended Reading: Best Treatment For Eczema Rash
What Are Steroid Creams For Eczema
Topical steroid creams, also called topical corticosteroids, are one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for eczema. These creams help reduce inflammation and itching, allowing the skin to begin the healing process.
There are different types of steroid creams, classified from the most potent to least potent . There are a variety of steroid types, concentrations, and dosages.
All steroid creams are used on the outside of the body only and should never be swallowed or placed inside the body. These creams are meant to be applied directly to an eczema rash.
Follow your doctors instructions or directions on the steroid cream packaging for how much to apply and how often to use steroid cream for eczema. Speak to a healthcare professional or your pharmacist if you have questions about using steroid creams.
How To Use Triamcinolone Acetonide Cream
Wash and dry your hands. Before applying the medication, clean and dry the affected area. Apply a thin film of the medication to the affected area and gently rub in, usually 2 to 4 times daily or as directed by your doctor. Do not cover, bandage or wrap the area unless directed to do so by your doctor.
After applying the medication, wash your hands unless you are using this medication to treat the hands. When applying this medication near the eyes, avoid getting it in the eyes as this may worsen or cause glaucoma. Also, avoid getting this medication in the nose or mouth. If you get the medication in your eyes, nose, or mouth, rinse with plenty of water.
Use this medication only for the condition prescribed. Do not use it for longer than prescribed.
Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Dont Miss: What Can I Do To Get Rid Of Eczema
Don’t Miss: Sunscreen For Toddlers With Eczema
How Effective Is Triamcinolone For Eczema
Although the effectiveness of triamcinolone for eczema may vary from case to case, generally speaking, this corticosteroid is successful in minimizing eczema symptoms. This drug, which is marketed regularly as aristocort and kenacort, among others, is often used in correlation with other products to fight the harmful causes and effects of eczema. Some of the regular symptoms that triamcinolone may act to counter are redness, inflammation, and the itching and irritation common to eczema.
Eczema is a fairly common skin disorder resulting from a hypothesized unusually clean environment. This theory states that nonexposure to certain bacterial strains during ones life prevents the immune system from acquiring necessary resistance, which in turn can lead to overreactions to such bacterial strains later in life. It is important to note that this is strictly a theory, however, and health care providers and researchers have identified no specific cause.
What Is In This Leaflet
This leaflet answers some common questions about Tricortone. It does not contain all the available information. It does not use the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you using Tricortone against the benefits they expect it will have for you.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns about this medicine.
Keep this leaflet with your medicine. You may need to read it again.
Read Also: Does Paraffin Wax Help Eczema
You May Like: Is Acv Good For Eczema
Which Is The Best Moisturiser To Use
There is no best buy. The type to use depend on the dryness of your skin, the area of skin involved and your preference. Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist can advise on the types and brands available and ones which may best suit you. For example:
- If you only have mild skin dryness and flare-ups of eczema do not happen often, a lotion or cream may be best.
- With moderate-to-severe dryness then a thicker cream or an ointment is usually best. Creams are less messy but need to be put on more often than ointments.
- A lotion is often best for areas of hairy skin.
- For areas of weeping eczema, a cream or lotion is usually best, as ointments will tend to be very messy.
- Pump dispensers are better than pots because they are less likely to harbour germs. If you need to use a pot, use a clean spoon or spatula to get the contents out, rather than your fingers.
World Health Organization Classification Of Topical Corticosteroids
The potency of a topical corticosteroid depends on the formulation, the specific molecule type, level of skin absorption, and amount that reaches the target cell. Potency is also increased when a formulation is used under occlusive dressing or in intertriginous areas. In general, ointments are more potent than creams or lotions.
Ultra high potency topical corticosteroids
Read Also: Remedios Caseros Para El Eczema En Niños
What Are Topical Corticosteroids
Topical corticosteroids, or topical steroids, have been used in treating eczema and atopic dermatitis for more than 50 years and remain among the most effective and widely used drugs in dermatology. They work directly with the natural system in the body to reduce inflammation, and are closely related to corticosteroids made daily by the adrenal glands.
In the United States, topical corticosteroids are classified by potency levels from 1 to 7 . Topical steroids are well absorbed through thin skin areas such as face, neck, and groin and more poorly through thick skin such as that found on the hands and feet. Occluding the skin with compresses, wet wraps, or bandages for example, may increase the absorption of topical corticosteroids. Children may be more susceptible to increased topical corticosteroid absorption from equivalent doses due to their larger skin surface-to-body mass ratios.
How To Use Aureocort Ointment
- Before you start using the preparation, read the manufacturers printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about topical steroids and will provide you with a full list of side-effects that you may experience from using them.
- Apply a small amount to the areas of skin which are infected. Then gently rub it into the skin until it has disappeared.
- Use it regularly twice daily for one week only, unless you have been directed otherwise by your doctor.
- The amount of topical steroid that you should apply is commonly measured by fingertip units . One FTU is the amount of cream or ointment that is squeezed out along an adults fingertip . As a guide, one FTU is enough to cover an area twice the size of an adult hand. Your doctor will give you an idea of how many FTUs you will need to cover the area of your skin which is affected.
- If you are using more than one topical corticosteroid, make sure you know when and where to use each one. If you are unsure, check with your doctor or ask your pharmacist for further advice.
- After you have applied the ointment, remember to wash your hands .
- If you are using the ointment for infected psoriasis, make sure you follow your doctors instructions carefully. It should not be used for large areas of psoriasis or for long periods of time, as these can cause your symptoms to flare up again afterwards.
You May Like: At What Age Can You Get Eczema
Who Can Take Oral Steroids For Eczema
The use of oral steroids can be controversial. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology Association states that âsystemic steroids should be avoided when possibleâ for eczema treatment. Thatâs because these are strong drugs that can produce serious side effects if you use them long-term or in high doses. Doctors prescribe oral steroids sparingly and reserve them for people who have serious eczema flare-ups.
Most adults and children can safely take oral steroids, as long as itâs for a short time and you monitor for side effects. Usually, your doctor may prescribe around 20- to 30-milligram pills to take once per day for 7 days. Your provider may prescribe a higher dose if necessary but will provide a plan to taper off to a lower dose or switch to milder treatment options once your flare-up is under control.
If oral steroids are not taken properly, itâs possible to have a ârebound effect,â where your eczema symptoms pop right back up after you stop taking the drugs. To avoid this, itâs important to take all of the medications as prescribed and not skip any doses, even if you start to feel better. Talk to your doctor before you stop using them or quit other treatments youâre on to control your eczema.
What To Avoid When Using Prescription Steroid Cream For Eczema
Before you start using a prescription topical cream for eczema, here are some don’ts to keep in mind.
Using Too Little
If you are worried about the side effects of steroid cream, you may make the mistake of applying too little. This might result in improper use of the medication, which will cause it to be ineffective.
Dont be afraid of using the steroid cream. These are not the same steroids that some athletes abuse. Whats more, by applying too little of the steroid, you or your childs eczema flare-up will not completely clear up. In turn, you will have to apply the steroid cream fora longer period and will end up using more than you would if you had applied it properly the first time.
Using Too Much
On the other hand, you may be one of those people that decides to use steroid cream every day once the eczema clears up to prevent further flare-ups. Dont! By applying steroid cream long-term, you or your child are more likely to develop side effects.
Stopping Treatment Too Soon
Once you or your childs eczema starts to clear up, it may be tempting to stop using the steroid cream. However, you need to fight this temptation. Wait until the skin is no longer itchy and the skin is no longer inflamed before you stop treatment. If you stop treating the eczema too soon, the eczema rash may return.
Not Applying Moisturizer With Steroid Cream
Dont make this rookie mistake! You still need the moisturizer, as it helps relieve the dryness and irritation.
Recommended Reading: Can You Have Eczema On Your Penis
Illegal Topical Corticosteroid In Cosmetic Products
Topical corticosteroids are regulated. However, a potent steroid is illegally present in some cosmetic products purchased over the counter or via the Internet, according to reports from China and several developing countries. This has resulted in many reports of steroid-dependentperiorificial dermatitis, rosacea and other adverse effects.
Your Body Produces Natural Cortisone
Cortisone cream is the go-to treatment for eczema, and for good reason. This anti-inflammatory is highly effective. In fact, your body produces it as its best defense against inflammation, under the name cortisol.
Cortisol provides our body with fuel, so that you can wake up to your 8 oclock alarm. It is produced all day long, with a slight dip at approximately 3:00 am. This hormone is involved in metabolizing sugar and fats, as well as regulating sleep, the immune system and our stress level .
Don’t Miss: Best Lotion For Newborn Eczema
Getting The Most From Your Treatment
- If you are using a moisturiser along with this preparation, apply the moisturiser first. Then wait 10-15 minutes before applying mometasone. This allows time for the moisturiser to be absorbed before the topical corticosteroid is applied. Your skin should be moist but not slippery when you apply mometasone.
- Do not use mometasone on your face unless a skin specialist doctor has said you should. If you have been told to use it on your face, be careful not to get any preparation near your eyes and do not use it for longer periods of time than you have been advised.
- Unless advised to do so by your doctor, do not apply a bandage or dressing to the area being treated, as this will increase absorption of the preparation and increase the risk of side-effects.
- Continue to use mometasone until the flare-up has gone, and then stop it. A course of treatment for 7-14 days is often sufficient. If your symptoms have not improved after this time , speak again with your doctor for further advice. Topical corticosteroids like mometasone should not be used for long periods of time or on large areas of the body.
- After you finish using mometasone, continue to use your moisturiser every day. This will help to prevent a further flare-up. Your doctor may also prescribe a less potent steroid cream for you to use when needed.