13.3.1 Corticosteroids for eczema and psoriasis

Emollients are an essential component in the treatment of atopic eczema and psoriasis and can reduce the need to use topical steroids. All patients with dry skin conditions should be using an effective and cosmetically acceptable emollient regimen.

Patients should be initiated on the highest potency topical corticosteroid that is clinically required and then stepped down, by reducing the frequency of use or using a lower potency steroid

Ointments have a deeper, more prolonged emollient effect and increase the penetration of steroid. They are also less likely to cause irritation and/or sensitisation to the product, as they do not contain preservatives.

Patients may prefer creams for application to the face and can be more suitable for moist or weeping lesions.


  • First Line Drugs
  • Second Line Drugs
  • Specialist Initiated Drugs with Shared Care Guidelines
  • Specialist Only Drugs
  • Mixed Status