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Steroid creams

BMJ Group Medical Reference

If you have severe seborrhoeic dermatitis, your doctor may suggest using steroids that you put on your skin, usually along with an antifungal treatment such as miconazole. The steroids used for dermatitis are called corticosteroids. They aren’t the same as the anabolic steroids that are sometimes used by athletes and bodybuilders.

Although you can get some weaker steroid creams over the counter from a pharmacist, these aren't intended for seborrhoeic dermatitis. It's best to talk to your doctor about steroid treatment, especially if you have dermatitis on your face. Your doctor may recommend using a steroid cream for a few days or weeks if your dermatitis gets bad.

One example of a steroid is hydrocortisone cream. Your doctor can prescribe this in combination with an antifungal treatment called miconazole. The brand name for this combination is Daktacort. Other steroid cream names include betamethasone (brand name Betnovate) and hydrocortisone plus urea (brand name Hydromol HC Intensive).

There hasn't been any good-quality research looking at whether steroid creams can help people with seborrhoeic dermatitis. But steroids are a common treatment for skin inflammation, and doctors think this treatment can help with dermatitis. Doctors usually prescribe creams to be used for a short time, then you have a break before using them again.

Steroids can have side effects, but using a steroid cream for a while shouldn't cause serious problems. [12] Possible side effects include thinning of your skin, slight changes of skin colour, and spots. Your doctor will probably recommend that you use steroids for a fairly short time, to cut the risk of side effects.

High doses of steroids carry a bigger risk of side effects. [12] Make sure you ask your doctor about the best way to use your treatment, and about how much to use. Steroid treatments should usually be used just once a day, or at most twice a day. You only need to put a thin layer of the cream on your skin.

If you're using a steroid cream on your face, make sure you keep it out of your eyes. [12]



Corticosteroids are substances that your body makes naturally. But they can also be made in a laboratory to treat certain conditions. Corticosteroids have many different effects, including helping the body to use sugar and to control the amount of fluid it retains. They also reduce inflammation in the body, which is why they are sometimes used to treat diseases like asthma. (Asthma is caused by inflammation in the tubes that carry air in the lungs.)

For more terms related to Dermatitis


For references related to Dermatitis click here.
Last Updated: May 21, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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