5 Ways How Topical Corticosteroids Helps In Treating Eczema

Eczema- 5 Ways How Topical Corticosteroids Helps In Treating Eczema

Eczema is a common skin condition that affects millions of people. According to the National Eczema Association, up to 10% of the US population suffers some form of the condition. Its hallmark symptoms range from itching to redness, blistering and crusting. Eczema also manifests in different forms, some of which are mild while others are severe. People who suffer from eczema during their childhood can outgrow the condition. However, others have to deal with it throughout their adult years.

According to WebMD, dealing with eczema is frustrating and requires one to work closely with a doctor. Currently, there is no known cure for this skin condition. Existing treatment focuses on controlling the itch, preventing flares, healing the skin and preventing future infections. Steroid creams are the most common treatment for eczema. Topical application of corticosteroids is very effective in managing and reducing the symptoms of skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema. Here is a brief look at how they work in treating eczema.

1.      By reducing inflammation

Topical corticosteroids form the base treatment for a myriad of dermatologic conditions. This is because they are very effective in relieving the symptoms of skin inflammation and auto-immune diseases. Virtually all steroids, including systemic steroids such as Cytomel, will reduce inflammation. By doing so, they help to manage the skin condition and are the first treatment for mild eczema.

The human body naturally produces steroids and releases them into the bloodstream whenever you experience stress, trauma or disease. When released, steroids will interact with the DNA to create a group of proteins known as lipocortin. This protein blocks the production of arachidonic acid, which is the chemical compound central to inflammatory responses in the body.

Inflammation occurs when the body produces inflammatory chemicals. This may happen when foreign compounds enter the body. Other triggers include allergic reactions, certain foods and medication as well as environmental conditions. Applying topical corticosteroids on the affected areas will help to reduce chemicals that cause inflammation. Since skin inflammation is one of the culprit symptoms of eczema, topical corticosteroids can help to manage the condition. It also relieves the itching caused by mild eczema.

2.      By changing how immune cells function

The immune system works in various ways to fight bacteria, viruses and infections. When foreign substances attack the body, it triggers immune cells to release toxins that will neutralize the foreign compounds. However, having an overactive immune system is not suitable for skin conditions such as eczema. It only increases inflammatory chemicals. High toxin levels can also cause cell damage. Topical corticosteroids change how the immune cells function. They prevent the release of chemical toxins and also avert the harm that excessive inflammation may cause.

Topical corticosteroids can also be used to treat childhood eczema, allergy-induced eczema and symptoms of atopic dermatitis. However, since they lower immune function, you should only use them for short term treatment. Steroids do not target the underlying cause of the skin condition. Instead, they treat the symptoms of the infection. There are various topical corticosteroids available for treating eczema. It is essential to note the differences in their potency, dosage and mode of application. 

3.      By alleviating eczema symptoms

Topical corticosteroids primarily lessen the symptoms of various skin conditions. Eczema can get worse if symptoms such as itching, inflammation and redness are left untreated. Constant scratching of itches can result in skin trauma, blisters and cracks. Most drugs that are available for treating eczema focus on turning down the immune response and healing the skin. Topical corticosteroid creams and ointments can soothe itches, moisturize dry skin, thin the skin and exfoliate dead skin cells.

A study indicates that doctors consider factors such as age, the sensitivity of the affected area, the severity of the skin condition and potency of the formula to determine the right topical corticosteroid. When you apply them correctly, topical corticosteroids can heal the skin and alleviate all the symptoms of eczema. They effectively reduce itching and inflammation.  You can use them until all the symptoms have gone away. 

4.      By improving blood circulation

Disease fighting is the role of your immune system. If your immune system is healthy and active, you will effortlessly fight off common infections like eczema. However, an overactive immune system can make it challenging to deal with auto-immune skin conditions. According to research, applying topical steroids will improve blood circulation in the body. This will, in turn, increase nutrient supply and antibodies that can help you fight eczema infections. Systemic steroids can also increase metabolic functions and muscle regeneration.

Steroids are very effective in promoting skin health. Topical application of popular corticosteroids can be target-specific symptoms while also supporting other aspects of your health. Better blood circulation, muscle regeneration and creation of new cells are some of the ways that corticosteroids will heal your skin.

5.      By constricting blood vessels

Eczema causes the dilation of blood vessels around the affected areas. Skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis will also dilate your blood vessels, cause redness, warmth and inflammation. When blood vessels are dilated, more toxins will travel to the affected areas causing excessive inflammation and irritation. Topical corticosteroids can help to relieve these symptoms through vasoconstriction. They also prevent localized pain and swelling. 


There are several corticosteroids on the market, and while finding one is a dauntless task, choosing the right one is overwhelming. Many of these products differ in both potency and chemical formulation. Various other factors also influence the use of topical corticosteroids. These include the vehicle/carrier (ointment, cream), duration of treatment, frequency and method of application, type, nature and extent of the skin condition, and patient factors such as age and affected site among others.

Corticosteroids form the oldest and most successful approach to using steroids for treating skin conditions. However, most steroids products available for treating skin conditions are complementary drugs that aim to manage the symptoms of the disease. If you are considering steroids for this particular purpose, it is vital to use them besides a viable medical treatment. That said, topical application of corticosteroids can reduce eczema symptoms and its severity.

Jillian Nelson