How often should I be applying topical steroids?
Q: How often should I be applying topical steroids?
A: Topical corticosteroids are a mainstay of eczema therapy. Sadly, results are often suboptimal because of steroid phobia and mistakes in applying the steroids. The drugs are safe if we focus on two crucial factors: Frequency and Duration.
Here are some suggestions for proper use of topical corticosteroids:
* Apply to hydrated skin (after bath, shower or wet compresses).
* Generally speaking, and based on your doctor’s directions, begin with twice daily applications for durations of NO more than 3 days for face, eyelids, neck and folds 7 to 21 days for other areas
* Then taper frequency to every 2 to 3 days (don’t stop). Twice weekly is safe for the long term, even for stronger steroids, and for any skin area.
* Unless the eczema is very mild, it is best to use at least mid-strength steroid ointments, but remember: Frequency and Duration determine benefits and safety.