How to properly dose topical corticosteroids

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It is known that the main method of treating atopic dermatitis is the use of Topical Glucocorticosteroids (TCS) – hormonal drugs in the form of ointments or creams. For skin inflammation, it's essential to rely on these topical treatments. Especially during flare-ups of the disease, TCS can effectively and swiftly address the inflammation.

But they should only be used as prescribed by a licensed healthcare professional! Different topical corticosteroids vary in potency; some of them are allowed for children, and some - not. Topical steroids also come in different formulations: a thicker ointment for dry skin, and a more liquid cream for wet areas. You should not be afraid of them, but you should not use them recklessly based on your assumptions.

The doctor will prescribe exactly the remedy that is suitable here-and now, and will definitely tell you how to apply it correctly. There is an international "finger Tip Unit" (FTU) method. This is a dosage unit, the amount of cream or ointment placed on the first phalanx of the index finger of an adult. The number of fingertip units needed depends on the patient’s skin surface area, and the extent of the skin area affected by atopic dermatitis. Use less then needed – it will be ineffective, more – it can cause more harm than good. Therefore, it is very convenient to check the FTU table and apply exactly as much as necessary.

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