Understanding the potential side effects of topical steroids is important for people to know. I want my patients to be informed about the medications that are prescribed and feel confident and comfortable following my approach to help them find freedom from eczema.

Side Effects of Topical Steroids in Infants and Children

Side effects from the proper use of topical steroids in children and infants are very rare occurrences. Some of those documented adverse effects from topical steroid use are:

There are case reports of significant local and/or systemic side effects from the use of topical steroids in all ages. The risk of side effects from topical use is much less than the risk of issues from oral systemic corticosteroid use.


Most, if not all, research on the prolonged use of topical steroid use in children has been very reassuring about its safety.

There are risks to NOT treating your child’s eczema effectively. Along with the profound effect on family life, uncontrolled eczema can negatively impact your child’s quality of life, causing:

Mood and behavioral changes

Poor school performance​

Bacterial infections​

Poor sleep​

Embarrassment from eczema can cause social isolation and impacts the daily activities of childhood such as:

Typically, the risks of NOT treating atopic dermatitis are much greater than the risks of using a properly orchestrated treatment regimen using topical steroids.

For infants, close follow-up and monitoring for side effects when using topical steroids while maintaining control is critical. We have treated many cases of infantile eczema. In general, Dr. Van Wagoner is not overly concerned about using low-dose topical steroids in an infant that has not responded to general skin care measures.

Important things to note:

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