What do I need to know to use topical steroids correctly?
Q: Sometimes I don’t follow my doctor’s directions concerning my eczema and steroid medications. What do I need to know to use topical steroids correctly?
A: Managing eczema is confusing; details are important. Doctors complain that patients don’t follow advice. Probably just as often, patients don’t understand what was advised. It’s best to plan a follow-up visit one to two weeks after a steroid is prescribed to clarify instructions and enhance control of eczema if possible. Ask questions and demand clear answers.
Here are some common mistakes to be aware of in topical steroid therapy:
* Not treating new flares promptly and aggressively
* Not hydrating skin before applying a steroid
* Inadequate steroid potency (this is often the doctor’s fault)
* Using different strengths for face and body
* Diluting the steroid, perhaps by applying moisturizers on top of the steroid
* Stopping use instead of maintaining control
* Letting the prescription run out
* Not calling the doctor for help promptly