Should I use topical steroids for my Eczema?
Topical steroids are immunosuppressant creams that are often used to treat flare-ups in eczema. Research has shown that is the most effective treatment option to reduce inflammation during a flare-up. The creams work by reducing redness and making the skin less itchy and sore, making it heal faster.
Topical steroids are grouped into four categories depending on their strength:
Hydrocortisone cream 1% is the most commonly used steroid cream and is classified as a mild topic steroid. Topical steroids should be used until the patch of eczema flare has completely cleared up. In most cases, a course lasting 7-14 days should be enough to clear the flare-up.
The biggest question with topical steroids is: are they safe to use?
Topical steroids, when used properly and under supervision, are a safe and effective way to control eczema flares. Side-effects from mild topical steroids are uncommon and usually mild. Courses fewer than four weeks typically cause no problems. The main concern comes in when potent topical steroids are used for prolonged periods of time.
There are several side-effects that we need to look out for:
Topical steroids can thin the skin, making it more transparent. This can make the skin more fragile and prone to bleeding. In normal regular use, skin thinning is often reversed as soon as steroid use has stopped.
The skin can lose elasticity, developing permanent stretch marks, bruising, discolouration, and/or thin spidery blood vessels
Topical steroids can also worsen other skins conditions such as acne
At eczamine, we believe our predictive algorithm and severity classifier will help you identify when you are likely to have a flare and how bad it’s going to be. This mean topical steroids of the right strength can be applied as early as possible, reducing the length of treatment needed.