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Topical corticosteroids

If treatment with a local corticosteroid is clinically justified beyond 4 weeks, a less potent corticosteroid preparation should be considered. The preferred formulation for corticosteroids is usually ointment as they are more moisturising than cream, and contain less or no preservatives. Potency of a topical corticosteroid preparation is a result of the formulation as well as the corticosteroid. The potency of steroid should be matched to the severity of the disease, using the least potent steroid that effectively controls the disease.

  • Read our guide for more information on how to moisturise your scalp.
  • Sometimes you only need to use the skin treatments for a few days.
  • Topical corticosteroids are contraindicated in acne; perioral dermatitis; rosacea (in adults); untreated bacterial, fungal or viral skin lesions.
  • For most people, steroid inhalers and steroid injections shouldn’t cause any bad side effects.

Steroid injections, inhalers and sprays aren’t thought to pose a risk to babies being breastfed. Steroid tablets may be recommended if you’re pregnant and have severe asthma. This is because the risk to your baby from uncontrolled asthma is higher than from the medication. However, they should be avoided or used with caution if you have an ongoing infection or a blood clotting disorder (like haemophilia).

Helping you to manage your health

Although it can be painful and irritating, there are now many different eczema treatments that can be used to reduce inflammation and irritation, such as topical steroid cream. If you’ve been using topical corticosteroids for a long time, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor to review your treatment. If you stop using topical corticosteroids after using them continuously for a long time (usually over 12 months in adults), you may have a withdrawal reaction.

  • They will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment for your condition.
  • If you’re using a treatment you’ve bought from a pharmacy or shop, speak to your doctor if you still have symptoms after 1 week, or if your skin gets worse at any time.
  • Both betamethasone and mometasone are strong corticosteroids and will be effective at treating more severe conditions, so which you choose is down to personal preference and your body’s response.
  • They’re often prescribed to people with a history of blood clots or an increased risk of developing them.

There are many different types and strengths of topical corticosteroids. Most people only need to use hydrocortisone skin treatments for a short time. Sometimes you only need to use the skin treatments for a few days. Most adults and children aged 10 years and over can use hydrocortisone skin treatments.

NHS inform

If used correctly, topical corticosteroids should not cause side effects. Thinning of the skin and stretch marks will occur only if a strong steroid is used incorrectly or over a prolonged period of time. When used correctly, topical corticosteroids are a safe and effective treatment for conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. However, a withdrawal reaction following long term use of these products can lead to skin redness and a burning sensation worse than the original skin condition.

Topical corticosteroids are medicines applied directly to the skin to treat conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Patients can experience topical steroid withdrawal reactions after using these products at least daily for long periods of time. It is not unusual for skin conditions to flare up or return shortly after stopping topical corticosteroids. However, very infrequently, a severe type of topical steroid withdrawal reaction can occur, which may also be known as red skin syndrome or topical steroid addiction.

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If a stronger ointment is used without antibiotics, the infection may become worse, so it is important to check with the doctor before going up to a stronger ointment. Skin infection usually responds well to antibiotics, although they often need longer than the normal course. Corticosteroids can weaken your immune system and make you more vulnerable to infection.

There’s generally no reason why someone shouldn’t be able to use a steroid inhaler or steroid spray. However, these should be used with caution in people with ongoing infections, like tuberculosis (TB). See below for the quantities that should be sufficient for two weeks treatment of once daily application.

It’s also worth remembering that using the strongest available treatment doesn’t guarantee the best — or fastest — results. You need to find the steroid cream that best fits your condition. Eumovate is available from The Independent Pharmacy as a cream or ointment and helps to relieve symptoms related to conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and insect bites.