Topical steroidsTopical corticosteroid creams and ointments are applied to the skin to reduce inflammation in conditions such as eczemadermatitis and allergic skin reactions. They include medicines such as hydrocortisone, betamethasone and clobetasol. Topical steroid creams are more greasy than creams. They are preferable if your skin is dry, whereas moist or weepy skin is topical steroid creams treated with a cream. Using a cream or ointment allows the medicine to be applied directly to the inflamed area of skin.
How to use your topical corticosteroid cream or ointment
Topical corticosteroid creams and ointments are applied to the skin to reduce inflammation in conditions such as eczema , dermatitis and allergic skin reactions. They include medicines such as hydrocortisone, betamethasone and clobetasol. Ointments are more greasy than creams. They are preferable if your skin is dry, whereas moist or weepy skin is best treated with a cream. Using a cream or ointment allows the medicine to be applied directly to the inflamed area of skin.
The most important thing to remember with topical corticosteroid creams and ointments is to apply them very thinly. This minimises the amount absorbed through the skin into the body.
You can measure the amount required to "apply thinly" in terms of the length of cream or ointment squeezed out of the tube.
This is measured in fingertip units. One fingertip unit is the distance from the tip of an adult index finger to the first crease of that finger. The table below gives you a rough guide of how much cream or ointment to use for an adult.
You should use less than this for smaller adults and children. Don't worry if you have to use more or less than this - it is a rough guide based on average adult body size.
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