Corticosteroid medication is usually prescribed for eczema treatment because these are derivatives of something we naturally produce in our adrenal glands. It helps us manage the inflammation especially in the case of eczema and against other skin disorders.
There are two ways that this medication is given namely topically or orally. When we say topically, this is applied to the skin and the absorbed by the body.
Once applied, they stop the skin cells from producing various forms of inflammation that are released when they come into contact with an allergen or irritation. Thus, you are able to reduce the inflammation and in some cases relieve the itchiness.
Examples of topical corticosteroids for eczema include betametasone, fluticasone, hydrocortisone and mometasone. This is available in creams, lotions and ointments which can be purchased over the counter.
It must be pointed out that there are 4 different strengths for topical corticosteroids namely mild, moderate, potent and very potent. Hydrocortisone is used for mild and moderate cases of eczema while the others are used in potent and very potent cases of this skin condition.
In some cases, you will have to use one or two different types for different parts of the body but when you have to take it, remember that the more potent it is, the shorter the time that you have to use it rather than suffering the side effects.
The most common side effect is the thinning of the skin which usually results to permanent stretch marks later on. Your blood vessels may also swell and become prominent under the skin surface. You may even look like someone beat you up because these will appear like bruises. This is why doctors rarely recommend this to patients when the skin is already inflamed.
In rare cases, the use of corticosteroids may cause growth suppression or adrenal suppression. You have to remember that these are also naturally produced by the body and if this should happen, you may not be producing the same number as you are used to.
Children are the ones who are at a higher risk of experiencing these side effects. To prevent this from happening, their case should be monitored by a trained dermatologist.
To reduce the risk of side effects, you have to use corticosteroid creams or ointments that are the least potent. When you apply it to your skin, make sure that this is confined only in the area where the skin disease is present. If this is prescribed by your doctor, make sure that this is only applied once or twice in one day.
When eczema is finally under your control, stop using it. Just use moisturizers to prevent flare ups from taking place because corticosteroid creams or ointments can only reduce the symptoms and not make this go away.
Although corticosteroid creams or ointments are common, you should know that women who are pregnant should never use it. Studies have shown that using it could endanger the fetus and result and abnormalities when the child finally comes out of the womb. It is also not safe for nursing mothers so the child does not absorb the steroids when it is time to feed them.
It is for these reasons that if you have this skin disorder, you should ask your doctor about other forms of eczema treatment like light therapy or wet wrap therapy.