How Do Topical Steroid Creams Work
Topical steroid creams are anti-inflammatory medicines which means they reduce redness and inflammation caused by eczema and other skin conditions.
When your body suffers from an allergic reaction or irritation , it releases inflammatory chemicals in response. These chemicals make blood vessels widen and cause the skin to become inflamed, swollen, and itchy. This can lead to your skin feeling very dry and painful, as well as looking red and irritated.
Topical steroid creams inhibit the bodys natural response by preventing cells from releasing large amounts of these inflammatory chemicals.
This makes topical steroid creams one of the most effective ways to help treat and control the symptoms of eczema and other skin problems.
What Types Of Topical Steroids Are There
There are many types and brands of topical steroid. However, they are generally grouped into four categories depending on their strength – mild, moderately potent, potent and very potent. There are various brands and types in each category. For example, is a commonly used steroid cream and is classed as a mild topical steroid. The greater the strength , the more effect it has on reducing inflammation but the greater the risk of side-effects with continued use.
Creams are usually best to treat moist or weeping areas of skin. Ointments are usually best to treat areas of skin which are dry or thickened. Lotions may be useful to treat hairy areas such as the scalp.
Hydrocortisone 25% Dosage And Administration
Topical corticosteroids are generally applied to the affected area as a thin film from two to four times daily depending on the severity of the condition. Occlusive dressings may be used for the management of psoriasis or recalcitrant conditions. If an infection develops, the use of occlusive dressings should be discontinued and appropriate antimicrobial therapy instituted.
Read Also: Colloidal Oatmeal For Baby Eczema
What Do Atopic Dermatitis And Other Eczema Types Look Like
Topical steroids come in various forms ointments, creams, lotions, sprays, gels, and oils. They also come in various strengths, which range from class 1 to class 7 .
Importantly, a higher steroid concentration does not necessarily mean higher potency, and the vehicles in which the drugs are prepared can also significantly impact strength. You cant tell just by the name of the steroid how potent it is.
Class 1 medications include:
- 0.05 percent clobetasol propionate Clobex , Olux E , and Temovate E
- 0.05 percent halobetasol propionate Ultravate
- 0.1 percent fluocinonide Vanos
Class 2 medications include:
- 0.05 percent diflorasone diacetate ApexiCon E
- 0.05 percent halobetasol propionate Elocon
- 0.01 percent fluocinonide Halog
- 0.25 percent desoximetasone Topicort
Class 3 medications include:
- 0.05 percent fluocinonide Lidex-E
- 0.05 percent desoximetasone Topicort LP
Class 4 medications include:
- 0.1 percent mometasone furoate Elocon
- 0.1 percent triamcinolone acetonide Aristocort A and Kenalog
- 0.1 percent betamethasone valerate Valisone
- 0.05 percent desoximetasone Topicort
Class 5 medications include:
- 0.05 percent fluticasone propionate Cutivate
- 0.1 percent prednicarvate Dermatop
- 0.1 percent hydrocortisone butyrate Locoid
- 0.1 percent hydrocortisone probutate Pandel
- 0.1 percent triamcinolone acetonide Kenalog
- 0.025 percent fluocinolone acetonide Synalar
Class 6 medications include:
Class 7 medications include:
What Is Wet Wrap Therapy For Eczema
People with eczema often have two problems: a defective skin barrier that dries out easily and is more open to invasion from allergens and germs than normal and an overly sensitive immune system.
That means treatment needs to be twofold:
- Repair the damaged skin
- Avoid exposure to allergens and irritants
Sounds simple, but anyone who deals with eczema knows that it is anything but easy. Stopping the itch is key, as the itch-scratch cycle feeds upon itself.
For patients with difficult-to- manage eczema, one treatment option is wet wrap therapy.
After doing a soak-and-seal warm bath and applying medication, the patients eczema-damaged skin is wrapped in a layer of wet cloths, topped often by dry clothes such as pajamas, sweatshirt or tube socks. Plenty of videos demonstrating wet wrap therapy for eczema are available online.
Doctors recommend wet wrap therapy as an intervention for moderate-to-severe cases. Wet wrap therapy can reduce the need for medication, but it should be done only after consulting with a physician.
Also Check: Ayurvedic Treatment For Eczema In Kerala
How To Use Topical Corticosteroids
When using corticosteroids, apply the treatment accurately to the affected areas. Unless instructed otherwise by a doctor, follow the patient information leaflet that comes with the medicine.
Do not apply the corticosteroid more than twice a day. Most people only have to apply it once a day.
To apply the topical corticosteroid, take the following steps:
Speak to your prescriber if you’ve been using a topical corticosteroid and your symptoms have not improved.
What Should You Look For In An Eczema Cream
Eczema is a condition in which the skin barrier is not able to maintain the necessary moisture to provide protection from allergens and environmental stressors. People with eczema tend to have dry, irritated, inflamed skin, says Shari Lipner, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of clinical dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine. Choosing the right moisturizer can help in preventing eczema flares and treating the eczema.
The best eczema creams and lotions are thicker moisturizers, Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, M.D., double board-certified dermatologist and founder of Mudgil Dermatology, tells SELF.
Its especially important to look for a product that contains humectant ingredients as well as moisturizing and skin-protecting ingredients . Humectants help add additional hydration, while ceramides and occlusive ingredients reinforce the skin barrier, ultimately helping to protect you from irritants that might trigger an eczema flare. Keep an eye out for products with a high oil-content-to-water-content ratio as well, recommends Dr. Lipner.
Of course, there are ingredients youll want to avoid too, Dendy Engelman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Medical Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, tells SELF. Ingredients to watch out for include fragrances, exfoliating acids , and retinol, she says: These can further irritate the skin by drying them out.
Don’t Miss: Best Bath Soap For Eczema
Why Trust Verywell Health
As an internationally recognized health writer and product guru, Leah Groth understands that nobody wants to waste their time or money on products that fail to rear results. Over the years, she has interviewed the world’s top health experts and reviewed hundreds of items, to help readers like you discover the most effective health gadgets, goops, and aids that will help you look and feel your very best.
Additional reporting by Simone Scully.
As an experienced health and science reporter, Simone Scully understands the importance of picking thoroughly researched products to promote wellness and self-care.
Important Information About All Medicines
Make sure that the person supplying this medicine knows about any other medicines that you are taking or using. This includes medicines you buy and herbal and homeopathic medicines.
Before using this medicine tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction after taking or using any medicine.
Never use more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that someone has swallowed some of the medicine by accident, contact the accident and emergency department of your local hospital for advice.
If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking or using.
If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Recommended Reading: Best Treatment For Eczema And Psoriasis
How To Use Skin Cream Or Ointment
Choice Of Topical Corticosteroid
There are different strengths of topical corticosteroids that can be prescribed depending on the severity of the eczema. Discoid eczema usually needs a stronger type of corticosteroid than other types of eczema.
You might be prescribed a cream to be used on visible areas, such as your face and hands, and an ointment to be used at night or for more severe flare-ups.
You May Like: My Baby Has Bad Eczema
What Do I Need To Know About Pde4 Inhibitors Used To Treat Eczema
- PDE4 inhibitors are approved to treat mild-to-moderate eczema in adults and children ages 2 and up.
- PDE4 inhibitors work differently than other topical treatments such as corticosteroid ointments and calcineurin inhibitors.
- PDE4 is produced by cells in our immune system and helps the body regulate inflammation.
Fluocinonide Topical Side Effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to fluocinonide:hives difficult breathing swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
redness, warmth, swelling, oozing, or severe irritation of any treated skin
worsening of your skin condition or
possible signs of absorbing fluocinonide through your skin – weight gain , slow wound healing, thinning or discolored skin, increased body hair, muscle weakness, nausea, diarrhea, tiredness, mood changes, menstrual changes, sexual changes.
Steroid medicine can affect growth in children. Tell your doctor if your child is not growing at a normal rate while using this medicine.
Common fluocinonide side effects may include:
burning, stinging, itching, or dryness of treated skin
redness or crusting around your hair follicles
You May Like: Aveeno Eczema For Baby Acne
Things To Consider With Otc Products
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration decides whether a medicine is safe enough to sell over the counter. However, using OTC medicines still has potential risks. Some interact with other prescription or OTC medicines, supplements, foods or beverages. Others cause problems for people with certain medical conditions. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before taking any OTC medicines for eczema.
Its important to correctly follow directions for OTC medicines and be careful when administering them to children. You should never take OTC eczema drugs for longer durations or in higher doses than the product label recommends.
Some common OTC treatments for eczema include:
How Is Eczema Diagnosed
It isnt easy to diagnose eczema, but with a dermatologists help, you or your child will receive the right treatment.
To diagnose eczema, your doctor or the dermatologist takes a look at the skin then talks with you about your health history and your symptoms. In most cases, the doctors want to know if allergies and rashes run in your family. This is the diagnosis for atopic dermatitis eczema.
If you suspect that food allergy is responsible for your childs rash, let the doctor know, they will help you identify the potential food allergies. Eczema in children almost always comes from food.
1 Diagnosis of Allergic Eczema
After examining your skin and getting information about your medical history, the doctor will carry out tests if they suspect a case of allergic eczema. The most common test is the patch test, also called the epicutaneous test.
For this test, patches containing common allergens are put on your back, and they remain in place for 48 hours. The patches are then removed, and your doctor looks for any symptom of an allergic reaction. Your doctor will also ask you to check your skin after another 48 hours in case you have a delayed allergic reaction.
Don’t Miss: Eczema That Looks Like Hives
Aveeno Eczema Therapy Hand And Face Cream
This formula specifically targets the four main symptoms of eczema: itch, redness, dryness and irritation. Colloidal oatmeal comes to the rescue again to lock in moisture and restore the skins normal pH, along with a ceramide that holds skin cells together to strengthen the skins barrier. The National Eczema Association recommends it for adults.
What Are The Differences Between Psoriasis And Eczema
Both psoriasis and eczema are skin conditions, but they are different in how they appear and feel. Eczema is commonly described as an intense itching feeling whereas psoriasis may include both an itching and burning sensation. Eczema may often appear as a red skin inflammation, whereas psoriasis may appear as silvery or scaly skin and often has a deeper reddish color than eczema. Consult a dermatologist if you are unsure what kind of skin condition you may have to ensure that you get the proper treatment.
You May Like: Is Blue Star Ointment Good For Eczema
Some People Use Too Little
A common mistake is to be too cautious about topical steroids. Some parents undertreat their children’s eczema because of an unfounded fear of topical steroids. They may not apply the steroid as often as prescribed, or at the strength needed to clear the flare-up. This may actually lead to using more steroid in the long term, as the inflamed skin may never completely clear. So, you may end up applying a topical steroid on and off for quite some time. The child may be distressed or uncomfortable for this period if the inflammation does not clear properly. A flare-up is more likely to clear fully if topical steroids are used correctly.
How Often Should I Apply Eczema Lotion
There is no fixed frequency with regards to the application of the lotion. It depends on a number of factors.
- What type of skin do you have?
- What sort of weather conditions do you live in?
- How severe is your eczema condition?
For those who live in dry regions, it is advisable to apply the lotion generously at least 5 to 6 times in a day. The lotion needs to be applied after every bath or wash as well.
If the weather is drier than usual, you should apply the lotion before you head out. Every time you feel your skin is drying, you should apply the lotion.
Don’t Miss: What Does An Eczema Breakout Look Like
How To Use A Moisturizer
Itâll work best if you apply it after a bath or shower. Use lukewarm — not hot — water. Bathe for just about 10 minutes.
Pat your skin dry. Leave it slightly damp. That way you donât remove all the moisture you got from bathing.
Apply moisturizer within 3 minutes after you get out of the water. Wait longer and your skin will start to dry out.
Soften the moisturizer by rubbing it between your hands. Use your palms to smear a thick layer all over your skin. Apply it gently in simple downward strokes. Try not to rub it in circles or up and down.
It may feel sticky at first, but that’s OK. Don’t try to take off the extra. Your skin will absorb it.
Each time your wash your hands or get them wet, moisturize them, too. Keep moisturizer by each sink in the house so you don’t forget.
If you use a prescription skin medicine, put it on before you moisturize.
Topical Steroids For Eczema
In this series
Topical steroids are medicated creams that are put on the skin. They are used in addition to moisturisers for treating eczema. Topical steroids reduce skin inflammation. A short course will usually clear a flare-up of eczema. Side-effects are unlikely to occur with short courses.
In this article
You May Like: Best Body Wash To Use For Eczema
What Is Topical Steroid Cream Used For
Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, topical steroid creams are typically used to relieve symptoms and suppress signs of eczema. They are applied once or twice daily for courses of 7 – 14 days . This should be enough to relieve symptoms of redness and inflammation and allow a regular moisturising regime to keep further symptoms controlled.
Eczema the collective term for a group of skin ailments that give the sufferer patches of red, itchy skin and dry rashes is a skin disease that affects approximately 15 million people in the UK alone.
Topical steroid creams are widely used to treat the various forms of eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis. However, there are other skin conditions or issues that can be treated with topical steroid cream. This includes:
- seborrhoeic dermatitis
- lichen planus
- discoid lupus erythematosus
- skin irritations caused by insect bites or stings
- nappy rash
Its worth noting that these topical treatments are not a cure for any of the above conditions although they are very effective to treat symptoms, they have no effect on the underlying cause of inflammation.
However, they can be extremely successful in helping to relieve symptoms like itching, irritation and skin flare-ups.
Calm Skin With These Gentle Effective Topicals
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the bestproducts, and articles are reviewed by healthcare professionals for medical accuracy. Youcan learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Eczema, also referred to as dermatitis, is a relatively common skin condition impacting approximately one in ten Americans at some point in their lifetime. Eczema is a group of conditions that causes inflamed, irritated, and itchy skin, says Nazanin Saedi, MD, director of the Jefferson Laser Surgery and Cosmetic Dermatology Center in Philadelphia. Eczema can appear all overyour face, hands, on your elbows, behind your knees and other places on your bodymanifesting as a pink to red, scaly patch of dry skin, she explains.
There are plenty of factors that can potentially trigger eczema, and genetic and environmental factors may be influential. Cold, dry air can definitely make it worse and we need to be aware as we go into colder months, she says, adding that unfortunately, there’s no cure. Its often chronic and the inflammation leads to a disruption in the normal skin barrier.
We researched dozens of lotions and evaluated them for reviews, key ingredients, consistency, ease of application, scent, and usage. Each of the lotions chosen in this article were determined to be the best of these factors.
Also Check: Humidifier For Eczema And Allergies