Why do I need to use a steroid cream for my eczema?
Eczema is a chronic condition. That means it is not curable and has to be controlled. It is a condition where the skin is constantly inflamed.
For over 50 years, topical corticosteroids (TCS) have been known to be highly effective in controlling this inflammation. There is no other medication that works as well or as efficiently.
One of the main functions of the skin is to maintain a barrier to the outside world. In eczema, the barrier is damaged. Steroids rapidly repair the damaged skin barrier without irritating the skin.
Where to apply?
Apply TCS as directed to all the inflamed skin until eczema is cleared. There is no requirement for intervals without therapy.
how much to apply?
There is no requirement to use sparingly. It is recommended that an ample volume of cream is applied to sufficiently cover the entire affected area.
How long should i use my steroid cream for?
You need to use your cream for as long as it takes to get your condition better and whenever it flares up again. There are no rigid time limits. The sooner you use it, the quicker it works and the less you need. It is always better to use a bit longer than not long enough.
What does ‘sparingly’ mean? – A meaningless term.
‘Sparingly’ is a meaningless term that has, unfortunately, been automatically printed out by the labeling software used by pharmacists for many years. It creates an impression that the creams are dangerous and should be minimized. If anything, the opposite is true.
Creams should be used in adequate amounts to cover the entire area involved so that a film is obvious on the skin. The word ‘sparingly’ has recently been removed from medication labels.
What side effects should I be aware of while using a steroid cream?
In general, steroid creams are outstandingly safe.
Side effects are very uncommon.
Blocked pores can occur from the use of any cream and these can become infected. We call this folliculitis and it may require oral and/or topical antibiotics.
Stinging may occur with creams, however ointments, which do not contain preservatives, usually do not sting.
The use of strong steroids on the face can cause a rash around the mouth.
Thinning of the skin is a very rare side effect and typically does not occur if you are monitored closely by your provider. Improper use of high potency topical steroids can sometimes cause thinning- especially if they are applied to sensitive areas like the face, eyelids, groin, underarm, and/or intertriginous areas.
Other common questions about the use of steroids
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