Things to consider when using topical corticosteroids

There are several cautions to consider when using topical corticosteroids.


Topical corticosteroids should not be applied to infected skin. They could make the symptoms of the skin infection worse.


Mild or moderate topical corticosteroids are considered safe to use during pregnancy. However, using potent topical corticosteroids during pregnancy is not usually recommended. Research has found that they increase the risk of giving birth to a baby with a low birth weight.


Mild, moderate and potent topical corticosteroids are also considered safe to use when breastfeeding. However, you should wash off any steroid cream applied to your breasts before feeding your baby.

As a precaution, very potent topical corticosteroids are not recommended to use while breastfeeding because their safety is uncertain.


Children can safely use mild to moderate topical corticosteroids. Potent and very potent topical corticosteroids are not usually recommended, particularly in very young children, because they carry a greater risk of causing side effects than in adults.

However, exceptions can be made if your child has severe symptoms and it is felt that the benefit of treatment outweighs the risks of side effects. For example, potent topical corticosteroids are sometimes recommended for treating cases of severe atopic eczema, usually under the supervision of a dermatologist (skin care specialist).

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